Thursday, June 5, 2014

5k: Apocalypse Proof: 1987 Subaru GL 4WD Wagon

The second generation Subaru Leone was built from 1979 to 1989 as a sedan, coupe, hatchback and wagon on a shared platform with the Subaru Brat.  In stock form the Leone is a surprisingly capable off-roader, able to traverse slippery stuff with ease, but if you want to tackle rough/rocky terrain you will need something with more ground clearance and more off-road capability.  Find this 1987 Subaru GL 4WD Wagon currently bidding for $2,425 reserve-not-met with $6,050 buy-it-now on ebay with 3 days to go, located in Springfield, MO.  Tip from Vector Einstein. 

The Leone was badged as the GL Wagon for the US market, a pretty bland name for the little wagon that could.  Folks who have owned these things can attest to their basic usability and good durability, but don't expect a refined ride or sumptuous leather seats [ed. CFlo: I had a basic FWD GL-10 wagon for my college car and it was the best free transportation I could have ever not complained about].

This one has been partially gutted on the inside and should be extremely rattly and noisy -- but it is no longer set up for your weekend Costco runs. WRX seats look a bit out of place but they are comfy, supportive, and cheap.

The original engine has been removed and it is now powered by an EJ25 2.5 liter flat-4 from a 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS -- expect 165 horsepower and 166 ft-lbs of torque. The front crossmember, lower suspension, and drivetrain have all been moved downwards in the body to lift the wagon up, so there's plenty of room to wrench in the engine bay.

It's wearing BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM2 tires on stock Toyota Hilux 6-lug wheels; the hubs were re-drilled to make it all work.

The builder, Jackson Rally, posted an extensive build thread here on the Expedition Portal forums.

See another Zombie Apocalypse ready car that will still return decent fuel economy?


  1. This thing is awesome. It will be slow and not super efficient, but what a bunch of fun!

  2. Don't expect a refined ride or leather seats... or even the most basic of rust protection. Whatever you do, don't drop a salt-laden french fry on the floor of this thing. If you do, expect a french fry shaped rust hole wherever it landed in a few weeks.

  3. As the tipper, I feel compelled to say that my wife will not let me near any Subaru of any vintage ever since I made the terrible mistake of buying a GL wagon on a dark and rainy night. It ran well enough about half the way home from the seller's house, when the engine seized. Didn't help that it looked like swiss cheese in the light of day, either.

    It's nice the seller has ripped out the rear seats. It would make a good sleeping area for the man whose wife won't forgive him for dragging it home.

  4. Wow, ton of great suspension work, nice welds, excellent fabrication. This is well worth the BIN, although it's definitely pretty far into the off-road-only category. With the EJ25 it will not feel that slow. This is a lot lighter than my 02 Impreza which has the same engine and feels quick.

    The question of rust however.... better keep this one in the desert.

  5. Had an '85 in High School. If the investment in a lift and snorkel the day it became mine had been made, the money saved on a new engine (seized, off-road "puddle" crossing, way too fast) and multiple exhaust systems (off-road, going too fast) would have been substantial. Sorry Dad.

  6. I have one... I like it and its cheap!


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