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Rare Ragtop: 1983 Subaru GL Convertible

080916 Barn Finds - 1983 Subaru GL Convertible- 1

This is a 1983 Subaru GL Convertible and it’s in New Milford, Connecticut. This rare ragtop is listed on eBay with an unmet opening bid of $3,000 and three days left on the auction.

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I know the philosophy of a lot of folks, “just because something is rare doesn’t make it valuable, or even desirable”. But, that just means that it isn’t valuable or desirable to them. These cars weren’t made by Subaru, they were made by a company called American Custom Coachworks at a time when the auto industry was just getting back on its feet again, convertible-wise. So, custom fabrication companies like ACC sunk their teeth into making convertibles. There are a few underside photos that show a little beefier setup than stock. The seller says that from what they can determine, “they made 187 of these” conversions. Here is where the rare doesn’t = desirable argument starts. I mean, the discussion..

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This isn’t the most svelte or sexy shape, it looks like a Dodge Shadow convertible to me. But, being a huge Subaru fan and fan of oddball vehicles in general, of course I like this one; as if anyone had any doubt. The current owner says that this GL has “original paint, interior, drivetrain, top. the top is a power top that works great and is in excellent condition.” These cars are known as the Subaru Leone in most markets.

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The interior looks great from what photos they show, mainly of the seats. The rear seat looks great, like they often do, but so do the front seats. There are no photos of the dash or any detail photos to know, but the seller says that the “interior is clean with no rips or tears or stains. Dashboard is unbroken or cracked.” This car is their daily driver and they “would have no problem driving it any distance.” There are no photos of this car that show it with the top down, but these aren’t bad looking conversions, in my opinion. At least with the top down.

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But, there are issues. They say that the original owner “thought about repainting the car and lightly sanded the front passenger fender and door and the rear driver side fender. Not sure why. There is a small amount of rust on the leading edge of the drivers side rear wheel arch.” They also mention that you’ll need a gas tank, they found it to be bad and had an “aftermarket fuel cell and mounted it in the stock position and hooked it to the original fill pipe.” This is Subaru’s 1.8L EA-81 boxer engine with about 75 hp. This car thankfully has a manual transmission which will help put every one of those 75 ponies to the front wheels much more efficiently than an automatic transmission would. I know that Subaru fans are few and far between here, but what do you think about this GL convertible? Have you ever seen one of these before?


  1. Rando

    Let the rusting begin. When I was in college in the mide to late 80s, there were tons of Subarus that were rusted out hulks that still managed to move their patchouli laden drivers around from hacky sack game to hacky sack game. Water bongs, crocheted hats, tie dye. that’s all this gen of subaru brings to mind for me. The turbo K wagons hold slightly more interst to me. And that’s not a lot. Just have no deisre for these cars, even if they are found in barns or whatever. I hope something better (re: more interesting to ME lol) is coming after this, the K wagons and the zuki smoker.

    Like 1
  2. hhaleblian

    bow wow

    Like 0
  3. Stefano SPQR

    Love the rarity! Keep the quirky Subaru’s coming.

    Like 0
  4. 68 custom

    kinda ugly but if you had a wrecked WRX maybe you could make a sleeper out of the pair?

    Like 0
  5. Paul Hudson

    Looks top heavy and bloated. Not the most graceful convertible. I’m guessing it has a great personality.

    Like 0
  6. Hoos Member

    My first wife bought a coupe version of this car when we were dating. a decent little car. it serviced us well for quite a while. This one, however, looks odd. It looks like the top came off the shelf, belonging to another car entirely.

    Like 0
  7. Chebby

    This pig needs some lipstick. At least put a set of sharp looking wheels on it, or even Subaru white spokes, those generic Autozone wheel covers don’t say anything good about its stewardship.

    Like 0
  8. No

    Too many italics, Scott.

    Like 0
    • Scotty Staff

      Ha, I haven’t hear that one before. The italics are for the seller’s quotes.

      Like 0
  9. Jumping g

    Love the license plate ” Buy Me “.

    Like 0
  10. Joe Muzy

    It’s getting difficult to find parts for cars from the 80s.

    Like 0
  11. Mark Evans

    4wd. would have made it interesting. Too Bad.

    Like 0

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