Junkyard Find: 1984 Subaru GL Sedan
Prior to the 1980s, Subarus were known by Americans more for being tiny and cheap than anything else (though some car shoppers in snow-prone areas came to appreciate Subaru's optional four-wheel-drive system during that time), but then the bigger second-generation Leone went on sale here for the 1980 model year and Subaru became quite a bit more mainstream on our shores. Today's Junkyard Find is one of those second-gen cars, found in a Colorado self-service yard.
Subaru didn't use the Leone name in the United States, so all the (non-BRAT) Leone-based cars sold here were called "The Subaru" and badged according to trim level until the Loyale name appeared for the 1990 model year. The plastic under the faux-chrome emblems was bright yellow, so it looks bad when the coating peels off in the Colorado sun.
The GL was the top trim level in 1984, so this car is nicely equipped for its time.
You could get the four-door GL sedan with four-wheel-drive, but this one is a front-wheel-drive car with a five-speed manual transmission (the base and DL Subarus got a four-on-the-floor as standard equipment). If you wanted an automatic transmission, you paid an extra 301 bucks ($875 now).
The list price for a 1984 Subaru GL front-wheel-drive sedan with manual transmission was $7,237, or about $21,040 in 2022 dollars. The absolute cheapest Subaru that year was the base three-door hatchback, which started at $5,096 ($14,815 today).
The GL got a 73-horsepower 1.8-liter boxer four under the hood, while the DL and base Subarus had to get by with a 1.6-liter with 59 horses.
Curb weight was just 2,190 pounds for the GL sedan, meaning it was slow but not intolerably so.
A new AE82 Toyota Corolla sedan went for between $6,498 and $7,198 with five-speed manual transmission in 1984, while a Civic sedan cost $7,099. The Subaru DL and GL were right with them in specs and pricing, and you could pay a bit more and get four-wheel-drive.
This one has air conditioning and an AM/FM radio with separate cassette deck. Back in the early 1990s, I used this easy-to-extract Subaru sound-system setup in a couple of my hooptie cars at the time.
Just better than 150,000 miles on the clock.
These cars rusted enthusiastically, but they don't use much road salt along Colorado's Front Range so the rot on this one happened in slow motion.
Real-world resale value on a rusty 38-year-old Subaru with two-wheel-drive and a manual transmission must be hovering just around scrap value these days, so here it sits, awaiting the cold steel jaws of The Crusher.
The GL-10 was the top version of the Subaru GL.
Number-one-selling import in Maine and Vermont!
Poor abused Subarus.
You don't see many US-market ads for the Leone four-door. For that, we must go to Japan.
The Leone 4WD was a super sedan.
For links to more than 2,300 additional Junkyard Finds, be sure to visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.
[Images: The author]
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