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Outback Ancestor: 1990 Subaru Loyale

031016 Barn Finds - 1990 Subaru Loyale 1

This ancestor to the modern Subaru Outback and Impreza is in incredible shape; as in almost car-show-shape. This 1990 Subaru Loyale wagon was found here at Central MN Sales in Milaca, Minnesota. The dealership is asking $4,950 for this gem and if you’re looking for funky-yet-reliable winter transportation, this one fits the bill.

031016 Barn Finds - 1990 Subaru Loyale 3

By 1990 the Subaru family of Leone models was given a name change for the US market and the Loyale was born. Eventually, the Loyale would be discontinued due to the popularity of the larger Legacy line and would be replaced by the Impreza in 1994. These were rugged cars that were known for both their reliability and their traction in the winter.

031016 Barn Finds - 1990 Subaru Loyale 5

The Loyale was available in front-wheel-drive or either on-demand 4WD or full-time 4WD (AWD). This was the age where AWD was coming into popularity and Subaru was a pioneer in that area. This particular car has a selectable 4WD system–we know this from the red button on the side of the automatic shift lever. Eventually this option would give way to every Subaru having AWD. Of course, I have to mention that the recent Subaru BRZ (a joint Subaru-Toyota sports car) comes only in rear-wheel-drive. But, other than that model, it’s been quite a while since you could buy a Subaru that wasn’t AWD all the time.

031016 Barn Finds - 1990 Subaru Loyale 4

This car appears to have almost every option and it looks like it’s in like-new condition. This was when Subaru had the added-on look for its power window switches, but this car has them and they work. The seats look like new and in fact the whole interior and whole car, in general, looks like it’s been in a time capsule for the last 25 years. Being a wagon, of course, you’ll have enough room to haul your snowshoes and/or bikes or to move out of your dorm room or almost any other moving need this side of renting a pickup from a big-box home store.

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This car has the EA-82 boxer (opposed piston travel) 4-cylinder with about 90 hp and it also looks like it’s about as clean as it could be. The boxer engine has a low enough center of gravity that it left enough room under the hood to mount the spare tire there. An unusual arrangement, but another one of those quirky things about older Subarus that endear them to their fans. This model has traveled just 90,000 miles in over 25 years–no wonder it’s in such great shape! This car is going to make someone very happy. Do you have any experience with old Subarus?





  1. Avatar photo bluzemn1

    somebody help unsubscribe. website does not help !!!

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  2. Avatar photo bluzemn1

    please remove me from barnfinds please !

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  3. Avatar photo AMC STEVE

    Go cry somewhere else

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    • Avatar photo bluzemn1

      !@ ?>”: %^()?<

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  4. Avatar photo Rich

    On the initial email, before clicking the link there is an unsubscribe page.

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  5. Avatar photo Al

    Always liked the on demand 4wheel drive on these and the Legacys. Was able to get better mileage with the option, Another nice thing is with the engine design if the timing belt broke you didn’t lose the engine like on my 69 Firebird when the chain snapped.

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  6. Avatar photo grant

    This is turning into a bastardized auto trader.

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    • Avatar photo bluzemn1

      I love that !!

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  7. Avatar photo grenade

    It’s not a bastardized auto trader. This is just a site with interesting cars and people talk about them.
    “Barn Finds” itself is a term that is way over used these days but so what?

    Recognize that it is, what it is. Not everything can be an unrestored Porsche or mid year Corvette. Get this newsflash: 1990 was 26 years ago! A 26 year old Subaru with only 90 odd thou on the clock? That’s something to talk about, trust me.

    I owned that exact same car except mine was a dark burgundy color. I owned it in about 1995 or so. It had 150K on it when I bought it. Being originally from Detroit and knowing about snow and how deep it gets up here- I INSTANTLY put as big as would fit in the wheel arches, MUD TIRES. BF Goodrich all terrain TA’s.

    We had a big blizzard in that era and I watched every single 2 wheel drive, smooth tire “regular car guy” and “normal person” get stuck at every uphill intersection and some couldn’t get out of their own driveways! My little ragged out used Subaru with little truck tires BLEW THROUGH over 3 feet of snow on the roadways. It was billowing so high over the hood that I had to use the wipers on high, it looked like a mini plow truck. I honked my horn as I flew past, at the people that thought they were too cool to own one of these things.

    That price? It’s worth it. Somebody should snap that deal up.

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    • Avatar photo grant

      1990 may have been 26 years ago, but so what? That makes this a 26 year old, mass produced, dime a dozen (they’re ubiquitous in Oregon) not-rare-or-special-at-all used car. I’ve got a 91 Taurus, 214k miles and runs strong. It’s an all original survivor! And nobody cares about it either.

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      • Avatar photo MikeG

        I do, I owned one and loved it. For a car that made tracks in snow or mud when only 4wd trucks of the era were able. I think it’s cool that there is the opportunity to acquire a blast from the past in primo condition. Like was mentioned before, it doesn’t always have to be a rare Dusenberg to be interesting.

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    • Avatar photo MountainMan

      Agree ! Love the site and it’s features are always interesting. Of course not everyone will like every vehicle but so what? Read about the ones you like and skip the ones you don’t. As easy and simple as that may be some crybaby, pansy pants readers just LIKE to complain appearantly and bash the writers, the vehicle or the site. Personally I love this site! Great features, great writers (even if some drive an appliance… Err, I mean a Prius!) Just kidding… I appreciate all the time and hard work that goes into making this site possible.

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  8. Avatar photo Al

    The area I’m from this Subaru with the on demand 4WD is a rarity, especially in this condition. It is a car fits what I needed for camping, canoeing, biking, thats also reliable and economical. There have been a number of vehicles show up here that I would have no interest in but also plenty that I am. So I realize that not every vehicle that shows up here is one for me.

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  9. Avatar photo Fred

    I’m into ’30-’60s cars mainly- but I remember well owning the 80’s Japanese cars (like a Dodge Colt, Plymouth Champ, Toyota Mark II, Nissan 200SX, etc.) and find them interesting to look at, especially when well preserved and low mileage. Not much into the European stuff, but I know plenty of people are, so I won’t complain about the variety.

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  10. Avatar photo jim s

    has 4WD, shoulder belts in back so it can handle 2 car seats, cruise, not sure about a/c. if no rust this looks like a good deal. great find

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  11. Avatar photo erikj

    ok, remember this site is about everything I p.refer 50-70- American muscle , but some how in love with this model of Subaru. I, know am looking for a nother one . I,ve had at least 50-80 0f them. I don’t like the auto trans, they don’t hold up.Nice car over my buget,nice though.you got to a good one to like them.

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    • Avatar photo MikeG

      Hmmm….50-80 of them?

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  12. Avatar photo Patrick McC.

    Although my grandma would never say a bad thing about any of the cars she has ever owned, exception given to the Pinto (she said it got great mileage from all the pushing), she did particularly like her Subaru wagon and has commented on multiple occasions about its keen abilities in the snow.

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  13. Avatar photo MikeG

    When I had my beater in the 90’s, I loved flying past the snow bogged traffic in Seattle or at the ski area. Just a push of the button and you were riding with the big boys!

    Now everyone has all wheel drive so it’s less thrilling.

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  14. Avatar photo MountainMan

    Great car! I’ve had several Subies and would love to find one a clean a this with a manual transmission. Even with the automatic this will be a very easy car to own. Wonderful in winter weather and usually trouble free enough to comfortably let the wife or daughter drive it if she doesn’t say is too ugly/old/uncool

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  15. Avatar photo Alan (Michigan)

    Ya, at $5K I think it is a stretch.
    If it had REALLY low miles, like 30 thousand, then people might get excited.
    What many fail to recall is that the Subarus of this era were not yet super-reliable. And compared to today’s cars, they are lightweight and not very safe for passengers in any significant accident scenario. Cars from a decade later are significantly different in that regard.
    For that $5 thousand, I’d much rather have a 10 or 12 year old Outback or Forester. Daily Driver duties would be much more pleasant.

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  16. Avatar photo Al

    Was looking at a 2010 wanted $20,000 with 110,000 miles 2009 with 104,000 $13,000 all a bit high for me right now thanks to the VA but the new model outbacks to me look like the old Foresters and I think the Foresters now look like most SUVs with the back ends pinched and less room.

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  17. Avatar photo Joe Nose

    Bought a then-new ’90 Loyale Wagon in black, all clapped out with full-time 4WD and turbo. A good, dependable car without sporting pretensions for my first Subie.

    Current DD is an ’05 LGT Wagon, in black of course. SIGNIFICANTLY better car but you could plot the progression between them.

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  18. Avatar photo PaulieB

    I bought a ’91 Legacy wagon back in 2004. It had 60,000 miles on it and had been hit in the grille by the corner of a box truck’s bumper. I took the radiator out it was only bent.. placed it on the garage floor.placed a 2 x 6 over it and walked on it. It pretty much straightened it out..put it back in the car and it held up for another 120,000 miles. I replaced the hood and a grille straightened out the valance and it was good to go. My latest Subie is an ’03 Forester ..my wife owns a ’99 Impreza wagon.. Tough cars..

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  19. Avatar photo Dave W

    I had one just like this, even the same color, except mine was a turbo. In about 2002, I bought it from a charity auction for about $150. I think it had 132k miles on it. The auctioneer couldn’t get it to start so it was sold as a non-runner. I tinkered with it after the auction, threw a battery in it and drove it home. It was a great little car to hoon around in, but it had serious rust problems around the windshield and roof. I patched it up a few times, but finally water began to run down into the dashboard in torrents when it rained. A broken timing belt spelled the end of it, but it was $150 well spent! I still have the wheel covers from it in my garage.

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  20. Avatar photo Al

    Dave W , a friend of mine mad money because of belts going bad. He would get the cars cheap slap a belt on it and off it went. Belt goes engine was fine. But I have to agree with the rust. On my 85 the car was running well at 324K but the body was becoming a see thru! LOL

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