Junkyard Find: 1991 Subaru Loyale, Colorado Stereotypes Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

I moved from California to Colorado in 2010, and the stereotype of the stony Subaru driver who snowboards/hikes/camps/rock-climbs, has some sort of retriever dog, and drinks super-hoppy craft beers turns out to be based on reality.

Everyone here drives Subarus — hell, even I have an Outback in the fleet — but we’re talking about the beat-to-hell, 15-to-30-year-old cars here, and not shiny new Crosstreks in the REI parking lot. Last week, I saw the perfect example of that type of Subaru in a Denver self-service yard: this rusty, crusty, 200,000-mile, Pleiades-badged Colorado veteran, which spent its long life driving to trailheads and brewpubs, is now set to donate its metals to the global commodities markets.

Colorado has 53 mountain peaks 14,000 feet or higher, while California comes in a weak second place with 12. If you’re serious about climbing mountains here, you need to hit all 53 (yes, including Pikes Peak, which has a paved road all the way to the top). I’m guessing that the last owner of this Loyale may have accomplished that feat.

There’s body filler over rust over more body filler.

According to the High Country Healing website, “Not everyone wants to smoke a gram. It’s a little intense, they see these Mini Js and they think, ‘That’s just right for me.'”

Vegetation-printed shelf liner works pretty well for covering sun-cracked dashboards.

Where it’s always 5 o’clock on the ski hill.

In 1988, Subaru claimed that 92% of 1978 or later Subarus were still on the road.

They should have used the Dead Kennedys version of ‘Rawhide’ for this ad.

It could be worse, though. It could be Leo Sayer. Now with Activu Torque-oo Split-o!

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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  • Wantahertzdonut Wantahertzdonut on Mar 03, 2016

    Did Subaru ever fix their weak wheel bearings and automatic transmissions? Those two problems plagued so many of their cars throughout the 90s in addition to the head gaskets. I hope their rustproofing got better too. My parents bought a new 95 Legacy and the rear passenger door was rotted in 2 years. In 5 years the roof had rust around the luggage rack mounts. All this on a car that was directly marketed to ski patrollers (my dad got a hefty discount thanks to that program). The rust indirectly killed it when water came in and shorted the electrical system. Dead at 115k. A shame because the car would go through anything! I only see new ones in SoCal but due to my experience I look at them the same way as I do with British cars; never own one outside of warranty.

  • April S April S on Mar 05, 2016

    In 2001 I picked up a 1993 (last year imported) Loyale sedan from a elderly ladies estate. Mint condition with about 45,000 miles. Tasteful silver exterior and equipped with the 5-speed manual transmission (had the neat hill-holder clutch option). Other than the weird motorized front seat belts it was pleasant little car. Unfortunately it didn't make it six months due to a locked up engine. One of my co-workers decided to run a screwdriver though the oil filter.

  • ToolGuy "Nothing is greater than the original. Same goes for original Ford Parts. They’re the parts we built to build your Ford. Anything else is imitation."
  • Slavuta I don't know how they calc this. My newest cars are 2017 and 2019, 40 and 45K. Both needed tires at 30K+, OEM tires are now don't last too long. This is $1000 in average (may be less). Brakes DYI, filters, oil, wipers. I would say, under $1500 under 45K miles. But with the new tires that will last 60K, new brakes, this sum could be less in the next 40K miles.
  • BeauCharles I had a 2010 Sportback GTS for 10 years. Most reliable car I ever own. Never once needed to use that super long warranty - nothing ever went wrong. Regular maintenance and tires was all I did. It's styling was great too. Even after all those years it looked better than many current models. Biggest gripe I had was the interior. Cheap (but durable) materials and no sound insulation to speak of. If Mitsubishi had addressed those items I'm sure it would have sold better.
  • Marty S I learned to drive on a Crosley. Also, I had a brand new 75 Buick Riviera and the doors were huge. Bent the inside edge of the hood when opening it while the passenger door was open. Pretty poor assembly quality.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Alan, I was an Apache pilot and after my second back surgery I was medically boarded off of flying status due to vibrations, climbing on and off aircraft, so I was given the choice of getting out or re-branching so I switched to Military Intel. Yes your right if you can’t perform your out doesn’t matter if your at 17 years. Dad always said your just a number, he was a retired command master chief 25 years.