All Wheel Drive Barn Find: 1992 Subaru Loyale Wagon

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While we sometimes stare in relative disbelief at the price sellers ask for, there are cases in which you can make a logical defense for the attempt at a top-of-market sale. In the case of this incredibly clean 1992 Subaru Loyale wagon, the asking price of $15,000 isn’t totally nuts when you consider how few of these cars remain in the sort of condition this one is in. Any car designed to be driven in the snow stands a high likelihood of being completely rotten underneath, especially when it wears sensitive early 90s Japanese sheetmetal. Find this almost-extinct all-wheel-drive wagon here on eBay and located in Missouri.

The original Subaru wagons were loyal companions for a wide range of users, from ski bums in Colorado to high school teachers in Massachusetts. They also found favor with folks in the Pacific Northwest who used them to travel deep into the wilderness and back out again for dental appointments. The Loyale wagon’s name was strangely appropriate for a vehicle that was celebrated for its unflinching reliability and dirt-cheap running costs, not to mention being particularly proficient in the snow. The unfortunate thing is about vehicles like that is they are often beaten like a stubborn mule and left for dead.

Not this example, however. The seller claims it is a one-owner specimen that has been hidden in a garage for years, and he doubts it was ever even out in the rain. The seat upholstery is in incredible condition, with nary a smudge or cigarette burn present. The interior plastics were always fairly durable but they certainly didn’t still look like new as they do in this Loyale. Mileage is claimed to be just 29,000 and the seller mentions the previous owner was a 92-year-old man who clearly chose the Loyale as his final vehicle before presumably retiring from daily driving duties.

I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these wagons in the junkyard with the rear cargo cover intact and a cargo floor covering that wasn’t stained with oil and coolant residue. The seller’s ask is certainly an all-the-money number but it’s not that high if you’ve been looking for a Loyale in survivor-grade condition. The only real detail holding this one back is the automatic transmission, as most of my colleagues who are Subaru nuts would be dreaming of one of these with three pedals. Still, beggars can’t be choosers, and I doubt the seller will have much trouble re-homing this impressive specimen of a Subaru.

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Comments

  1. HoA Howard A ( since 2014)Member

    Okay then, after that multi million dollar Cuda rant, settling down to this car. I’ve said before, this car pretty much got the ball rolling for Subaru. Had a little trouble with the feeble 360 still in peoples minds, these changed everything. The authors description of buyers was actually 4 groups Subaru wanted to appeal to. Teachers, tech professionals, healthcare, outdoors types, but someone in the boardroom, named Tim Bennett, the director of advertising, suggested they were missing a huge market, the LGBT movement, just gaining steam then. Well, to make a long story short( er) it turned out to be a HUGE marketing success, and remains popular with that group today. And it all started right here.
    This car is as rare as proper manners on the innernet[sic], you won’t find too many low mileage Subies, most withered away in the very environment they were created for. Just ask our own Scotty G. put a SLEW of miles on an OOOtback. Great find here, again, I wouldn’t waste any time with this one either.
    No bids, only 2 people “watching” ( me and the owner) what does that tell you, folks?

    Like 9
  2. Frank Sumatra

    As new members of the Subaru cult (Tech professional, healthcare worker per Howard’s demographic standards) I think it would make a great second or third car if priced below $10,000.

    Like 7
  3. Bakyrdhero BakyrdheroMember

    It’s in nice shape. With that said, having just bought an old Japanese Economy car for a new driver (my daughter), I really feel this is a $5-7.5k car. Admittedly I think nearly every car for sale these days is overpriced, but it’s not going in a museum, it’s likely to be driven, and broken, and eventually rotted.
    My friend had a Legacy sedan in high school in the 90’s. It was less than ten years old with a fist sized rot hole in the rear quarter you could pass through into the trunk.

    Like 1
  4. Ryan

    I sold one last fall. 240K miles, I had the engine rebuilt, new axles etc etc. I had 8K in maintenance in a couple years but sold it for $4500 to a Subaru mechanic…was ready to move on. Great car! Made it across the country in the Loyale twice.

    Like 1
    • bone

      I just gave my son my 200 S70 GLT with 220,000n miles on it. The engines never been apart ; even the axles are original, and no rust, even for spending its whole like in New England. . Subaru owners seem to think its ok to have head gaskets done at 60k and valve jobs at 100k while the rest of the automotive world soldiers on without major issues – and these rust like crazy when wet, just like they did 40 years ago

      Like 2
  5. SirRaoulDuke

    Put this thing in a museum.

    Like 1
  6. Robert Levins

    $7,000.00 out the door. Nice but not $15,000 nice.

    Like 6
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. I’d pay between $5k and $10k.

      Like 4
  7. Derrick S

    I had one of these with the 5-speed. An excellent driving car, with a go anywhere drivetrain (which I did) and a turning radius you couldn’t believe.

    15k? That’s a steep price I think, but I would buy one again if the opportunity came around at a more reasonable price.

    Like 2
  8. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking Subaru. I’ve always loved this generation Subaru car. My favourite has always been the station wagon like this.

    Like 1
  9. Mike P.

    It’s nice to see an old wagon like this in this condition. I must point out though, that this one is not all wheel drive, but on demand 4WD. I feel that to have any chance of a sale over $10,000 it would need to be a slightly older 85-89 model (same car just badged as a GL/DL), be a 5 speed and have the dual range 4WD. I’m not saying it would sell even then, but to have a chance. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but not at that price

    Like 2
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. I’ve always preferred part-time on demand 4wd over the more modern “AWD”. If only more pics of this car were posted. Given its condition and relative rarity, I’d pay close to $10k for the car. I’d still have enough money left over for inspection and insurance, etc.

      Like 1
  10. TheOldRanger

    I have a 2020 Subie Outback… our first car not a Honda since 1979 …so far, we really like our Subie and in our environment, the AWD really is a nice feature…. this is a nice looking 1992, but I already still have my 1996 Honda Hatchback and that’s enough cars for this old geezer

    Like 3
  11. Randy

    I had an ’87 GL manual w/4WD wagon, probably the best money I ever spent on a car, dollar-for-dollar. Last of the carbed engines, though and the carb went in for service more than once. It was simple, nearly powerless (85 hp) but it did exactly all that I needed out of a small car. Rust over 6 years was almost non existent. Did you ever have the vision that, if I could start over, I would spend today’s money for the same vehicle in showroom condition?

    Like 1
  12. Chuck Simons

    I’m a Subie convert. And with 29k on it

    Like 2
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I’d buy an old-school Subie 4wd if I could find one in decent (preferably) original condition. I like anything between 1980 and 1990. I’ve never owned a Subaru, but my parents had a 2006 Outback. I loved driving it.

      Like 0
  13. James Martin

    Wtf! What are the people smoking these days holy crap! This car was and will never be worth 15000 dollars! Can’t believe what people think their stuff us worth.

    Like 4
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I’d pay anywhere between $5k and $10k as long as it runs and drives safely under its own power. Anything that runs and drives under its own power is worth some money.

      Like 0
  14. Car Nut Tacoma

    I agree. I wouldn’t pay anywhere near $15k for a car like this, however pristine its condition may be. I’d pay between $5k and $10k.

    Like 1
  15. Walt

    Way to much money for this car. I have owned 7 of these cars in my lifetime ( I am 70 years old ). I live in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, where these cars are considered cult classics, due to being a true on demand four wheel drive, and front wheel drive otherwise. They are incredibly sure footed in the snow, which is our area’s claim to fame. They are a workhorse. The main drawback to this particular car is the automatic transmission. Nothing wrong with the transmission itself, but the problem is with the gear ratio. Unlike the standard, which at 55 mph tacs at about 3200 rpm in fifth gear, the auto tacs at 4000 rpm plus at the same speed. There is no overdrive.The difference in fuel consumption is incredible – 32 mpg for the standard and 24 for the automatic. Thus, this car is worth about a third of the listed price. If a standard, about half.

    Like 1
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      That’s not bad fuel economy for a 4wd car. I’m from Tacoma Washington, where we don’t get much snow, but there’s always a need for station wagons. Depending on where in Washington state you happen to live, you might get lots of snow.

      Like 0
  16. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    I agree with all comments. Price too high. I had family members with older wagon 4wd 5 speed in North country of New Hampshire. Great Subie but the rust on the wagon. I told my cousin if you go over 55mph body parts would fly off.😂 The drivetrain is the best it’s like a pack mule. Over the mountains and through the snow this will take you anywhere. Good luck to the seller. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 2
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      Abso-bloody-lutely! I don’t get why the high price. However nice a car may be, it’s nowhere near worth that much. As long as it runs and drives, and everything on it works like they should, I’d pay between $5k and $10k, no higher than that. Some cars might be worth more than this, and depending on the condition and driveability, I might be willing to pay for the car.

      Like 0
  17. Brad460Member

    I think going forward every BF reader should be required to post his/her demographic information at the beggining of each post or comment….. er just kidding. Not this cat.

    In any case I collect oddball stuff from the late 70s to early 90s, typically in original, unmolested condition, so this one definitely spurs some interest. As I’m already scrambling with room to store all these other gotta have it oldies as I already have, I’m going to have topass. That being said for another collector with similar interest to mine it would be hard to go wrong with this one. I hope it’s preserved and protected, despite its pedestrian original intentions.

    Like 0
  18. Aussie Dave David HardyMember

    Here in Aus, they were simply called “L” wagons, I assume Leone???.
    I got kinda twisted with the write up, snow skiing???
    I’ve had 2 L wagons, a 84 and a 94, as a recreational fishermen, they are the best cars I’ve ever had for the beach.
    Better then FJ40, CJ5, series 2 landrover. And sadly pajero’s

    Like 1

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