A Decade Too Late: 1984 Subaru GL-10 Coupe

052816 Barn Finds - 1984 SUBARU GL-10 - 1

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This isn’t an original car, it’s been restored. That being said, it’s probably the nicest 1984 Subaru GL-10 Coupe that can be found on the planet earth; if a person were for some reason looking for a 1984 Subaru GL-10 Coupe. It’s listed on eBay with a current price of just over $2,500; a mere fraction of what the seller spent on the restoration, but the reserve isn’t met. It’s located in Johnson City, Tennessee.

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This car is amazing in its detailed restoration and presentation. Normally, being a huge Subaru fan, I would be all over this car like (insert un-pc phrase here), but this one has a couple of strikes against it for me. Actually, it has a full three strikes against it; and we all know what that means. Maybe four strikes in that I would prefer a hatchback, but it’s not always about me! (just ask my wife)

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I love any car that has been lovingly restored, I don’t care what it is; this one included. This car was sold new in Johnson City, Tennessee and has remained there, 100% rust free, ever since. It just had a 3-year rotisserie restoration, all disassembled, restored, painted, and put back together again; it’s probably better than when it left the factory in Ōta, Gunma, Japan. This car meant something to the owner and that’s as cool as it gets in my book, whether it’s a ’49 Packard, a ’72 Kawasaki, or an ’84 Subaru. It shouldn’t matter if you personally like this car or not, you have to appreciate the fact that the owner cared enough about it to go through that work and spend that amount of money on preserving this car.

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You may not have noticed strike one: AWD/4WD wasn’t available on the 1984 Subaru GL-10 Coupe, just on the wagon, Brat, and hatchback, so this is a front-wheel-drive car. And, you can now see strike two: this one has an automatic transmission. I know that we’ve gone through this before but, in general, manual transmissions are preferred over automatics, especially when there’s so little horsepower on tap. The interior is spectacular on this car, though, and the seller says that it’s all-original!

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This car was known as the Subaru Leone (Italian for Lion) in Japan, but in North America, and a few other markets, they were known by their model designation, such as this one being a GL. This car has the 1.8L, EA-81 boxer four-cylinder with about 73 hp. The spare tire must have been taken out for the photo to show off the operating-room-like, sterile, perfectly-restored engine compartment, but it goes in that recess behind the air cleaner housing. The Subaru boxer engine is lower than most other 4-cylinder engines so that gave the engineers room to fit the spare tire under the hood, giving more room in back and more weight over the drive wheels.

Strike three for me is that this car is about a decade too new for me. I love 1980s cars and especially Subarus, but to put this kind of money into a 1984 car when the 1974 design is much more appealing, quirky, and Subaru-like doesn’t make sense to me; but it’s not my car and this car meant something to the current owner. I don’t understand the restomod craze either, yet I can appreciate the amount of work, money, and love that goes into creating someone’s dream restomod. I’m glad that they owner went all out on restoring this car, and even though I don’t personally have any interest in buying it, I’m glad that it’ll be preserved for another decade or two. What are your thoughts?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rob

    If it were closer I’d be on it like a fat kid on a cupcake.

    Like 0
  2. Glen

    Seems odd to spend all that time and money on this. The fact that he’s selling it ,suggests he didn’t do it for himself. I can’t see him making much/any profit.

    Like 0
    • Don Dimble

      “It shouldn’t matter if you personally like this car or not, you have to appreciate the fact that the owner cared enough about it to go through that work and spend that amount of money on preserving this car.”

      Like 0

    He must of had a great parts car.

    Like 0
  4. Fred

    I’d be afraid to drive a car that nice down to the local grocery. People respect a nicely restored 50’s or 60’s car sitting in the parking lot, but an ’84 Subaru is destined to have door dings.

    Like 0
  5. Ralph Terhune

    Why anyone would restore a car such as this is beyond me. IMHO, these cars were meant to be driven, used up, thrown away, and then replaced with another econobox.

    Like 0
    • Don Dimble

      “It shouldn’t matter if you personally like this car or not, you have to appreciate the fact that the owner cared enough about it to go through that work and spend that amount of money on preserving this car.”

      Like 2
  6. Mr. TKD

    I had an 82 GL sedan. It was a good car that protected me when I got hit by a drunk driver. I may have to watch this one.

    No telling why someone would put the attention and time into such a car, but I appreciate the effort. It is all about someone working on what they like. Kudos to them.

    $3150 and the reserve hasn’t been met. I don’t believe one will sell.

    Like 0
  7. grant

    I was all set to make a snarky comment about how it made no sense to restore this financially and in any other sense. Then I thought about my current project and what I’ve sunk into it. I still have no interest in this car. But the seller (or whoever did the work) should be proud of what he’s done. This looks great.

    Like 0
  8. Coventry Cat

    Great looking car, no matter what. And the lack of a manual transmission? Wait till our generation starts cramping up with arthritis, bum knees and hip replacements. You’ll want to just drop it in drive and not have to worry about how many miles are on your left leg and right arm.

    Like 0
  9. Mr. TKD

    It went unsold at $3800. I wonder what the reserve was?

    Like 0
  10. Jubjub

    I believe, in these years, a two door hardtop with 4WD was available. And I also think a Turbo was optional. Clean car, but a lot of chrome didn’t get rechromed during the resto.

    Like 0
  11. jaymes

    no sale at 3800 ( the only car that left me stranded on the beltway, hated these cars. I think the restoration was a waste to try and sell it,no one wants these yet

    Like 0
  12. Kelly Hall

    Hey ya’ll, for all who wonder why I have to say, have you ever loved a car? The seller of this car certainly does and it is obvious by looking at the pictures. I have seen the car in person, before and after and he started with a near perfect car and
    I have to say that it is restored beyond how it was when new. The seller is a Subaru
    Guru and has so many NOS parts that he could open a Subaru dealership. I would
    love to have that jewel and any true Subaru lover would kill for it as well. As far as
    auto trans, that was an option and this car has about all you could get in the option boxes when it was born. Just had to ad my two cents worth because the car really is incredibly restored and would get compliments every were you went.

    Like 0
    • Mr. TKD

      Do you know what He actually wants for it? Does he have anything else Subaru for sale?

      Like 0
      • Kelly Hall

        Hey there, I think he is in the $7- $8000.00 dollar range. I know that there is
        NO WAY to build such a car for what he is asking. I would love to have it and wish that my hatchback was in half the condition this car is. I would change two things only and that would be a set of Enkei wheels I have and stereo because I love my music. He was hardcore with the XT/XT6’s and may still have some of them, I haven’t talked to him in a while. As far as having anything else Subaru for sale, I would about have to think that he does from the amount of stuff he showed me and said that what I was looking at was only a fraction of what he had. He bought out several Subaru dealers NOS parts that were discontinued. Call him and talk to him, he is a super nice guy and really knows the cars front to back. His name is Danny and you can tell him that Kelly Hall from Virginia is who was doing the bragging, but hey, like they say, ” It ain’t bragging if you can back it up”.

        Like 2
  13. Shannon

    You think the 84 coupe wasn’t available in 4wd? You need to tell that to my 1984 Turbo coupe. They were sold in very few numbers, about 1500 for 83 and 84 combined. I have one of the few surviving turbo coupes on the planet.

    Like 0
    • Marc

      I also have an 84 hardtop turbo with 64,000 miles

      I love owning cars that few others do regardless of the condition

      Do you know how many of these where sold in 84?

      Text 951-514-0940

      Like 0
  14. Colby Inman

    The person who wrote this article is wrong on several things…. 1-this is not a GL-10, it’s s regular GL. 2-the GL-10 only came as a turbo with 4wd. 3-the 84 GL was equipped with 76hp and was carbureted. The GL-10 had 111hp and was fuel injected. I know these things because I have one in my driveway.

    Like 2
    • Shannon Honaker

      Actually, you’re quite wrong. The 80-84 models had a gl-10 version sans turbo. The carbureted ea81 made 73hp and the ea81t that we both own made 95 hp.

      The 110hp ea engine was the ea82t found in the 85+ cars. Those are the ones that the gl-10 was only available in turbo form.

      Here’s a good research site for the older models.

      I also suggest joining http://www.ultimatesubaru.org, you’ll find much more useful information about your car there.

      Like 1
      • Henry

        The 110hp fuel injected turbocharged EA82T was available in 1984. I owned a 1984 GL10 Hardtop with that engine.

        Like 0
    • Kelly Hall

      Killer Subby, I have an 1983 2wd, 5spd, GL, 2door, that has 38,000 original miles. It is black w/gray interior, original paint/rust free and pristine interior. It was a California car all its life but now in Virginia. You have a killer car, I wish mine was factory four wheel drive but I love it all the same. To own one will make anybody love them.

      Like 0
    • R DiLeo

      This was my very first car at 18. GL 10 black! Lived in Los Angeles and had lots of good times in it! Miss my Subaru 84!

      Like 1
  15. Jo Lifrieri

    My first new car was a 1984 Subaru GL Coupe in “Cream Yellow.” I loved that car! I even had that cute trunk rack. The power wasn’t great but it was a beast in the snow and very reliable. Sadly, it was totaled in an accident in ’88 with under 50000 miles. But I walked away from a serious accident because of, I believe, that sturdy little car. I’m currently driving my third Subaru, a 2011 Outback, and it’s the best yet.

    Like 0
  16. Guardian Angel

    When my older sister was giving this up, having just learned how to drive I thought I would not be caught dead in it until I started driving it, I preferred it to a monte carlo another sister was giving up . I loved the 84 GL , sitting in it you felt like you were in a cockpit. My father had horrible experiences with US made cars in the 70s and 80s , despite having been in WW2 and swearing never to get into a Jap car — when he started driving the GL he swore he would never again buy a US made car. Not being a car buff I can understand the problems mentioned but for me front wheel drive, automatic etc none of that bothered me (Brooklyn NY streets) furthermore it bucked the trend of weak Jap car bodies it had metal front and rear bumpers which people often equated to battering rams, I actually got hit more than once with great force , the bumpers held up well

    Like 0
  17. Derek Edmonds

    I had this car. It was the first one I bought with my own money in 1989, a year out of high school. I LOVED it and always wished I could have restored mine by the time ’95 rolled around.
    If I wasn’t currently spending $2500 to rebuild my transmission on my 2008 Legacy GT, I’d be all over this.
    This one looks like mine did in its prime, except mine was a deep burgundy red with a hint of hot pink influencing the hue; and I had about an 8″ wide strip of chrome running along its length at the bottom of the doors under the door guards. Perfection. I always thought the front of the car was especially sharp. Sigh…

    Like 0
  18. BB

    I am wish it was a manual transmission too. Believe or not I do own a 1984 GL-10 coupe Subaru that is manual transmission and it still runs. Wish I could find someone to restore for me. Love, love my Subaru.

    Like 0
  19. Dennis B

    When I graduated from College back in 83 my first job out of school was selling Subarus.
    I remember this really beautiful woman came in with really nice, few year old Black GL10 she wanted to trade in on a newer one.
    I remember the Owner/General Manager wanted to rip her off and gave her a really low ball trade in offer.
    She asked me if I thought his offer was fair.
    I told her she should go somewhere else.
    Needless to say I didn’t have what it took to be a Varsity Car salesmen!

    Like 0

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