Junkyard Find: 1997 Subaru Legacy AWD Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Living in Denver, I see tremendous quantities of old Subarus in local wrecking yards. Subarus after about 1985 don’t make it into this series ( unless they’re XTs or SVXs or 4WD Justys), but the Legacy 4WD sedan is quite rare even by Denver standards so I made an exception for this car.

This one has a key, which means it probably came from an insurance company auction rather than a city tow yard.

Just barely over 100,000 miles on the clock.

By 1997, all Legacies sold in the United States had all-wheel-drive, but this was still special enough to warrant these “AWD” badges.

By this point, the Outback wagon (still bearing Legacy badging) was so much more popular than the Legacy sedan in the United States that most of us forgot that you could even get this thing in a three-box car shape.

These engines remain legendary (get it?) for blowing head gaskets.

Sold in Denver, crushed in Denver.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Drvanwyk Drvanwyk on Aug 28, 2014

    I'm a bit surprised no one has contested this yet, but in my experience AWD Legacy sedans are far from rare, on the streets or in the junkyards. The Outback SUS may have been noteworthy, but in any case its nice to see this article. On Legacys and Outbacks: In the US, you could buy a Legacy either in sedan or wagon styles up through 2008 IIRC. The Outback really only refers to the slightly lifted suspension and "off-road" style like the two tone paint and different bumper/foglights.

    • Power6 Power6 on Aug 28, 2014

      By the sales numbers the Outback far outsells the Legacy Sedan. Legacy wagon only sold in tiny numbers it was only offered through 2006 then dropped in the US. Canada got the Legacy wagon through 2009. Check this out, great well known Subaru info site I just realized he has historical sales figures if only there was easy access to this info for all the makes. http: //www.cars101.com/subaru_archives.html You can see in 2010 Outback really took off in sales (to the dismay of those of us who think it was step down from 05-09) and you can also see the Outback has traditionally outsold the Legacy 2 to 1 and more recently closer to 3 to 1 over the Legacy. The Outback is a bit more than lifted and bumpers but not much more, it is amazing what those minor changes do to sales though if you look at Legacy wagon vs Outback, one kills the sedan and the other is discontinued.

  • Destruxxx Destruxxx on Mar 13, 2018

    I had no idea these were uncommon in some places. In PA these things were as common as the wagon was, and still are. Most are now driven by teenagers who can't afford insurance on a WRX and/or were given dad's old work car.

  • Wjtinfwb I'd like to see a Ford/Mazda relationship restarted. Both companies have some car guys keeping the flame alive and could develop a sports car slightly bigger than a Miata and pick and choose from each other's parts bin to put together some attractive powertrain combo's. Even a Mazda 3 AWD with the 300HP EcoBoost 2.3L, manual and AWD from the Focus RS would be welcome. Even better, a factory Miata V8 with the 480 HP Coyote (i know it wont fit...) and a manual gearbox. And how about a CX-5 with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with AWD and an chassis tuned for sport. Lots of possibilities.
  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.