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It’s Not In Heaven, It’s In Iowa: 1985 Subaru Standard

063016 Barn Finds - 1985 Subaru DL - 1

This one is about as standard as it gets, it’s a 1985 Subaru Standard 3-door hatchback and it’s in the far southeastern corner of Iowa, in Mount Pleasant. It’s listed on eBay with a current bid price of $300, but of course the reserve isn’t met.

063016 Barn Finds - 1985 Subaru DL - 2

This is a front-wheel-drive car so you probably won’t want to jack it up like some folks do with 4WD versions. This was the seller’s first car but there is no mention if they bought it new or not. Being an Iowa/Midwest car, there is surprisingly little rust showing anywhere other than the wheels. And, with only 73,000 miles driven over the last three decades, maybe this one hasn’t seen winter duty. Here is a stock-appearing standard model with 4WD. The 4WD option would be nice to have, especially in the Midwest and if a person were going to actually drive it in the snow.

063016 Barn Finds - 1985 Subaru DL - 3

The seller’s daughter battled with a fence but supposedly the fence got the worst of it. There is still some work to do on the RF fender and right door. The original price of this standard model (below the DL and GL models) would have been right around $5,000 and, according to NADA, the current value is between $1,475 and $2,650. I’m guessing the “value” of this particular car is somewhere in the middle, due to that crunched RF fender. Any handyman/woman could most likely take that fender off and massage it back to being 90% perfect again; glue that door strip on and you’d be in business. Another project would be to redo the rusty wheels which would really make a big difference in the appearance of this otherwise clean-looking car.

063016 Barn Finds - 1985 Subaru DL - 4

The interior looks fantastic, especially that 4-speed manual transmission! I’m guessing that the seat pad on the driver’s seat is just that, a seat pad, but I’m not sure. There is no mention of any rips or tears, but from the relatively low miles and the perfect dash, I can’t imagine that the interior is in horrible shape. Unfortunately, there are no engine photos but this one should have the EA71, a 1.6L, 1,595 cc boxer-four cylinder with around 68 hp that should look like this.

This car won’t be at the top of too many wish lists, especially not being a 4WD model. But, other than the dented RF fender, this looks like a nice little car. It’d be a good one to teach your kids how to drive a clutch with, which is a skill that will be all but extinct in another generation or two; gone the way of cursive writing. Is this one worth fixing or would you hold out for a 4WD model?


  1. grant

    You could repair the fender and the rust on the wheels, or you could pick up a panel from the wrecking yard and some new stamped wheels from your local discount tire shop and just bolt them on. This is a clean little car but it’s a driver, not a collector. Would make a nice work thrasher for 1k or less.

    Like 0
    • Scotty G Staff

      You nailed it, grant!

      Like 0
    • Andrew

      I still remember like yesterday how people said that about the Citroën 2CV and the Volkswagen bus, and I too thought these would never be popular as a collector’s car. All it takes is time and more time and people having never seen one before.

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  2. Alan (Michigan)

    Seriously. Blast clean and paint the wheels.
    I’m wondering if the tires are 15 years old…. And the tailpipe seems to be dangling.

    Cheap car, and it should be. Will need some work to make it reliable as a DD.

    Like 0

    love it ……….place,time,car.perfect ……….

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  4. Scotty G Staff

    Auction update: Sold at $905, a heck of a deal!

    Like 0

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