Rare Rides: A Subaru XT Turbo 4WD From 1985

Subaru started its first full decade in North America in the Seventies, where it sold the microscopic rear-engined 360. By the Eighties the company had found its niche among crunchy granola types and professors with four-wheel drive wagons like the GL. But Subaru wanted more; specifically customers with more money. Enter the XT.

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QOTD: Most Overpriced Non-luxury Vehicle of the 1990s?

For the past couple of weeks, Wednesday’s QOTD posts have asked a simple question: What was the most overpriced non-luxury vehicle of a given period of time? The first inquiry dealt only with 2019 vehicles, and last week we covered the 2000s — where I picked on the overpriced, retro Ford Thunderbird. Many of you thought I was wrong (I wasn’t). Today, we’ll head back to the decade we all like to discuss — the one that’s popular right now with youths.

It is, of course, the 1990s. I’m already wearing my blazer and shoulder pads.

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Rare Rides: A 1970 Subaru 360, America's First Subaru Experience

Subaru is presently in the midst of a sales boom. As Tim Cain pointed out last week in his Subaru Question of the Day, the company has found fairly recent success selling what are essentially three different variations of the exact same all-wheel drive crossover formula. Customers just go into the dealer and say whether they’d like the extra small, small, or medium-sized version. But long before today’s crossovers, and even the quirky Leone and XT which preceded them, there was Subaru’s genesis.

And the little white Kei car you see before you is the very genesis of which we speak.

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Subaru XT GL

The Subaru XT is a car you won’t see often in most parts of the country, but Denver junkyards have tremendous quantities of old Subarus and so I see them on a regular basis here. So far, this series has had this ’85 XT Turbo, this ’91 XT, this ’91 XT6, and now today’s ’87 XT.

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Don't Try This At Home: How Could Anyone Resist a Subaru XT Turbo Digital Dash?

After I photographed today’s Junkyard Find in a Colorado self-service wrecking yard, I agonized over that digital instrument cluster. I have this crazy idea that I can hack old digital instrument clusters and operate them with an Arduino microcontroller, so that I can have a display on my office wall to go with my collection of weird diecast toy cars. It started out innocently enough, with this 1983 Mitsubishi Cordia cluster, and then I got the digital cluster out of a 50th Anniversary Nissan 300ZX. Once you have two 1980s Japanese digital dashes, you have a [s]problem[/s] collection, right? That was my logic when I bought the digital dash out of this 1984 Toyota Cressida. Even though I’m getting too ambitious with this Arduino-ized-digital-dash project, I felt I had no choice but to go back the next day and grab the XT Turbo’s cluster. So I did.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Subaru XT 4WD Turbo

The junkyards of Colorado don’t have quite the selection of the ones I grew up crawling around in California, but they do have more Subarus than I ever imagined possible. I’ve been a fan of the Subaru XT since it was new— in fact, I’m half-assedly shopping for one now— and so it’s reassuring to find them during my junkyard visits and know that I’ll be able to get parts. Today’s find is a rare turbocharged four-wheel-drive version from the XT’s first model year.

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Subaru XT6

As I’ve mentioned before, Colorado junkyards are full of Subarus of the late 1970s through the early 1990s. Mostly I’m sort of indifferent to Subarus of this era, with two important exceptions: the BRAT and the XT. Both are fairly rare (the last time I saw a junked XT was last year, when I found this Juggalo-abused ’91), so I came to a screeching halt when I found this XT6.

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Junkyard Find: 1991 Subaru XT, Juggalo Inside

When I lived in California, I never saw a car covered with Insane Clown Posse paraphernalia in a junkyard. Colorado is a different story. When a Juggalo slaps some ICP stickers on his or her car here, it’s next stop, junkyard! Usually such cars are pay-it-no-mind Contours or Accords, and so I don’t really notice, but I’ve been not-so-secretly lusting after a Subaru XT as a winter driver and it pains me to see one end up like this.

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  • Jeffro As I sit here this morning with my 2 day old TRD OFF ROAD 4RUNNER tucked safely away in the garage, my head spins with this weird desire to locate a 85 LTD equipped with the epic 😵‍💫2.3 and the FOUR ON THE FLOOR. THE HOLY GRAIL. Ying and yang baby!The search begins.
  • ToolGuy 404 error on the product link. Which probably isn't terrific marketing on TTAC's part. https://thinkwarestore.com/product/f200-pro-ca
  • ToolGuy Second picture: Do you like pegboard storage? (I don't.)
  • ToolGuy "WHAT???"(old 'I was in the artillery' joke)
  • ToolGuy Oh and this.