Live Auctions

One owner! 1992 Subaru SVX

Once upon a time, Subarus were weird. You might think they’re weird now with their horizontally-opposed pistons and plastic cladding…but their first car in the North American market was the 360. They also brought us the masterpiece of the Brat and the quasai-crossover Legacy Outback SUS. Thanks to our reader Matt H., we’ve got one of Subaru’s weirder (and cooler) models to talk about today! You can find this SVX here on craigslist for an admittedly high $15,000. That’s a lot of bang for your buck, though. This SVX has only one owner, 34,120 original miles, and looks and functions like brand new!

Under the hood, Subaru included their EG33 3.3 liter flat-six cylinder engine, basically an EJ22-and-a-half. Driving all four wheels with 231 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque when new through an automatic gearbox, it could accelerate to 60 in 7.3 seconds. No idea if any of that is still true for this thirty year old Subaru, but who cares when it looks like that? It will keep up with modern traffic, it has automatic climate control, everything works…you don’t need to win any stoplight races when you’ve got an SVX.

The inside is appropriately clean for something that’s been used as little as this car has. Averaging about 1,137 miles per year of existence, there’s only a little wear on the driver’s seat and the steering wheel is a little polished…but that just comes with the territory. Important, underappreciated tidbit that you might not notice from a passing glance: this luxurious coupe comes with automatic seat belts! I’ve only owned one car with automatic seat belts–my 1994 Saturn SL1–and they are an incredibly underrated superfluous party trick.

As sleek and cool as the SVX is, it’s Subaru’s relatively tame replacement for the even weirder XT model from the 1980s. Personally, I’d rather have the XT. But if I were to do an SVX, it would be this one just based on the condition it’s in. I did a little digging into Subaru’s AWD systems, and they seem a lot more complicated than I had originally anticipated. I found this page, which is a deep enough rabbit hole of AWD engineering hyperlinks to keep anyone occupied for at least a few hours. So, even if you don’t end up with a brand new SVX in your garage, you can say you know everything there is to know about it by starting your journey of loving weird cars with a cursory Google search like I did.

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Quirky and somewhat odd the SVX never enjoyed brisk sales. I don’t think this engine suffered from head gasket issues like the EJ series engines. With the right exhaust they sound pretty good as well. The automatic transmissions were not up to the task of managing the torque this engine produced and a lot of them wound up in salvage yards. Some people have manual converted them since the transaxles share the same bolt pattern. This is a nice car and values have been on the rise.

    Like 6
    • SubGothius

      I’ve read the main issue with transmission/diff failures was from neglecting to maintain matching tire pressures, rotate tires religiously, and replace all 4 tires together as a matched set when any one of them needs replacement. Apparently they didn’t cope well with excessive differences in wheel traction and RPMs over extended cruising distances, leading to overheating and premature wear.

      Also, the first-year models had a debris screen in the line to the transmission cooler that would get plugged up, so later models omitted this, and the usual remedy for first-years was to simply poke a large hole in the screen.

      Like 2
  2. Joel Collins

    Until you poke your head out the side window while backing up and the auto belt strangles you.

    Like 4
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I’ve always hated the auto seat belt. I don’t get why they were ever installed in cars at the time. I have no problem with buckling up manually.

  3. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    Living in NY I saw plenty of these. Red ones stand out. And they were not cheap they were expensive. I saw a couple in my neighborhood that was stick shifts they ran really good too. And the black ones we just call them the batmobile. They were so weird and quirky. Good luck to the next owner 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 1
    • SubGothius

      If you saw any stick-shift SVXs, someone converted them. They only ever came stock with automatics, as Subaru didn’t have a manual that could handle the power at the time. Later WRXs had manuals up to the task, so some people have swapped those into SVXs.

      Like 2
      • Car Nut Tacoma

        I agree. I’ve never seen an SVX with stick shift gearbox.

  4. That 80's Guy That 80's Guy

    Whenever I see an SVX, I always think of RoboCop…

    Like 2
  5. bone

    And good luck finding parts for them , maybe there’s an overseas market , but you cant get anything from Subaru anymore, and you’d be lucky to find one in a junkyard now

    Like 1
  6. Gary

    If it wasn’t for the absolutely stupid side glass they would have most likely doubled the sales.

    Like 3
  7. Ike Onick

    I heard the driver’s side glass called the “toll booth” window. I guess E-Z Pass made that redundant.

    Like 1
    • Paul in MA

      You need external mounted E-Z passes as they windshields have titanium coating that keeps the internal transponders from being read. Subaru lost $6K on every one they sold. They were luxury grand tourers

      Like 1
  8. Phil

    These are hardly weird. Subaru made the Brat and the Baja – now those are weird.

    Like 2
    • karl

      The Baja is just a smaller version of what’s out now , like the Chevy Avalanche

    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I’ve always thought the Baja was weird. I’ve always loved the Brat.

      Like 1
  9. Paul in MA

    I still remember the first time I saw one. I bought a 97 for my son as his first car back in 2010. It was great. it could go through any weather and had very good and safe handling. 15 inches of snow, no problem, it pulled right through that much in the driveway. I drove it 7 hours non stop once and felt great after which is rare as I am 6’3″. We put some gold BBS rims on it (it was red) and it looked fantastic. Showed up to some Subaru events and none of the WRX crew even knew what it was. Parts are an issue, particularly windshields.

    Like 3
  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    I’ve always loved Subarus. Their “weirdness” is what I’ve always loved about these old school Subarus. Nevertheless, I loved the SVX. I thought it was the best looking car Subaru offered, and was more than disappointed when it was discontinued.

    Like 3
  11. Malcolm Boyes

    I believe the car was originally designed for Alfa Romeo who then turned it down to be snapped up by Subaru. It certainly looks more like a quirky Italian design but, either way, I love them and have always wanted one..those looks, glass in glass windows and 4 wheel drive..mmmm

    Like 3
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      I agree. I loved its quirky looks. It may not have sold as well as other Subaru models, but so what? It’s a car I would’ve bought had I had the money to buy it at the time.

      Like 2
    • SubGothius

      It is indeed an Italian design, by Giorgetto Giugiaro. I don’t think he offered it to Alfa or anyone else prior to Subaru, though many of the design elements appeared in some of his other designs.

      Like 1
  12. Steve Clinton

    Those Japanese were almost as wacky as the French.

    Like 1
  13. douglas hunt

    yea, I would love to have a 5speed version…..

    Like 1
  14. tom

    I had a 96 that I bought with 26k on the odo. This car was the nicest cruiser I ever owned. It felt just as smooth and solid at 110mph as it did at 35mph. The side window gave it the cool factor. Transmissions were a problem as were thin front rotors (had to have mine turned twice) as well as the universal joints. I think I still have some parts n the garage.

    Like 2
  15. Bill

    The seller says they were the first ones in America, I bought my first new car in 1973. It was a Subaru GL coupe. Paid 3k brand new and I beat the hell out of that car, but it wouldn’t quit!!! That was a great little car.

    Like 1
  16. GitterDunn

    The SVX was, and really still is, a very advanced and futuristic-looking car. I badly wanted to buy one in ’92, but the dealer wouldn’t budge off of MSRP (approx. $30k). So I “settled” for a new BMW, which I still own. It has about 70k miles on it.

    Like 1
  17. Bruce

    I’ve enjoyed two of these for the past 25 years. Neither has ever let me down. Every other car I’ve owned or sat in has felt claustrophobic. You really get used to all that glass, and appreciate it. Values are finally climbing, good ones are getting harder to find. There is a strong following on FB, and an excellent web site/network of enthusiastic owners.

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

WANT ADS

WANTED 53-56 International FX/FJ Holden Original paint Contact

WANTED 1973 – 74 Pontiac Ventura Parts or entire car Contact

WANTED 1970-71 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Looking for a good condition cyclone spoiler. Driver with 4spd or auto. Contact

Submit Your Want Ad