Does it ever happen to you that you’ll see a car that would have been boring in the context of its contemporaries, but taken out of context, it’s nice to see it still on the road? Naturally-aspirated 1980s Subarus are such a car – not really that exciting to drive, or to look at, but seeing one of these relatively odd Japanese cars on the road, particularly in good condition, is enjoyable – it recalls the days when Subaru was still weird, and not cranking out flat-four powered versions of the same oversized, overweight crossovers and SUVs that everyone makes these days (well, and some fun rally-inspired cars). Check out this 1988 Subaru GL 3-Door Coupe for sale for $2500 in Torrance, CA.
Ugh, beigey-silver metallic is such a bland color, so to see it on a low-spec car really minimizes any visual interest. On the plus side, it’s a manually-shifted, 4wd version of the coupe, so you’ll have great traction in adverse conditions, and the stick will allow you to beat as much power as possible out of the little 90hp 1.8. What was this car up against back then? Mitsubishi Tredia, Isuzu Impulse, VW Scirocco, and perhaps the 4-cylinder Mustang? It has to have been one of the cheapest 4wd cars of its time.
The hatch is definitely the most interesting part of this design – wrap-around glass, and with the folding rear seats this must have approached the utility of the wagon. This car is really in remarkable shape for its age and mileage, and the only noticeable issue is the knock-off Mazda Protege hubcaps from Pep Boys. The high stance might be well-complimented by a taller wheel and tire package, or the somewhat popular upgrade to Peugeot 505 turbo alloys.
The interior seems immaculate too. The only questionable upgrade is the dual-DIN Pioneer stereo – really a bit much for this humble little car, though if it has speakers to match, it’ll help cover up the rattles in all the 30-year-old plastic and the vibrations of the little flat four. And who doesn’t love the oh-so-80s control-pod setup of the switches around the instrument cluster and on the steering wheel?
Since there’s no engine shot – it’s largely obscured by the spare anyways – we’ll finish off with some poorly-translated instructions. Did nobody at the US office of Subaru proofread this? Anyhow, if you’re looking for a slightly off-beat commuter, this might be an interesting solution. Keep it in good shape and you’d probably be welcomed at most Japanese classic car shows too.