You Need This: A rad-era, factory turbo Subaru wagon

By Colin Wood
May 16, 2024 | Subaru, Cars For Sale, Subaru GL

Photography Courtesy Cars & Bids

A turbocharged, all-wheel-drive wagon from the ‘80s: This Subaru GL checks a lot of boxes.

Billed as stock, aside from the custom roof basket and yellow inboard headlight lenses, the GL wagon is powered by a factory turbocharged flat-four rated at (you might want to sit down for this) 95 horsepower and 123 lb.-ft. of torque.

Per the seller, known flaws include the a/c not blowing cold air and the rear window washer nozzle not functioning.

Find this 1983 Subaru GL Turbo up for auction from Cars & Bids.

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jimbob_racing SuperDork
5/16/24 3:58 p.m.

Oh. That is truly awesome.  I remember when these were new and all over the place.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/16/24 4:08 p.m.

Brings back memories. My first decent car was a 1982 GL 4WD Wagon.  Not a turbo version, but did have a 4 spd manual.    If that car had a 5 spd (highway driving was buzzy without overdrive) and air conditioning, I've joked I'd still be driving it. I loved that little car.   But it was already rusting away when I bought it in 1988 when it was barely 6 years old. 

$2700 bid with a day left... no reserve... part of me wonders how much the automatic is keeping bidders away.

CyberEric SuperDork
5/17/24 8:19 a.m.

My best friends mom had one of these in the 80s. Not a turbo though. But spare tire was on the engine, still think that's hilarious.

I like how quite a few 80s turbo cars had it written on the side. Even if they only made 95hp! 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/17/24 9:12 a.m.
CyberEric said:

I like how quite a few 80s turbo cars had it written on the side. Even if they only made 95hp! 

I know, right? One of my favorite things about '80s turbo cars.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/17/24 10:04 a.m.

Blue on blue as it should be. 

SEADave Dork
5/17/24 11:33 a.m.

Good friend's dad had one of those and we drove it all over.   Neat little car.  I'm actually surprised how few you see still around, especially here in the PNW where Subaru's are huge and rust isn't as bad as other places.   

Driving4fun New Reader
5/17/24 1:09 p.m.

Man I haven't seen one of these beaters for years!  These used to be the econo box of choice when I was growing up in Tahoe.  Literally every hippie had one and from what I remember they were never particularly reliable runners either (could've been the owner) and I'm sure are impossible to find parts for these days.  

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
5/17/24 1:59 p.m.

One of the rich kids at my high school had one almost identical back in the day.  But, his had the Subaru passing lamp too.  


Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/17/24 2:15 p.m.

In reply to Driving4fun :

Browsing Rockauto, it seems most common wear parts are still available - cheap too - like $48 for a CV axle.  But I would imagine anything like body or trim, inside or out, will be tough to find. Although I'm sure there is a Facebook group for these and folks parting out cars too rusty to keep going. 

Bid is now up to $3333 with a bit over an hour to go as I post this.  

My '82 had the center lamp, although I never got it to work during the 2-ish years I owned the car. 

I remember mine being one of the easiest cars I've ever owned to work on. It had no engine driven options, so there was only an alternator/fan belt to work around.  The oil filter was easily accessed from the top of the engine. I remember replacing the water pump which was right there, so really easy. The starter was under the spare tire (mounted above the engine bay).  I did have to get a new catalytic converter for it which I remember being pretty expensive for 1988 - around $400. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/17/24 3:43 p.m.

Sold for $4578 after a flurry of last minute bidding. 

Quite a few interesting cars for sale on the site right now.

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