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Unmodified 2002 Subaru WRX Turbo Wagon

“A casual glance will not reveal the soul of the WRX. It was not designed by some stylist to elicit a response that says look at me, I’m a supercar. It was designed by engineers to win in the most brutal arena of motorsports, the World Rally Championship. The rally version succeeded, winning three years in a row.” So says a brochure featuring the 2002 Subaru WRX. This wagon version is listed here on eBay in Culver City, California and the current bid price is $5,900.

“A 2002 Subaru?! Who let this meatball in the door and why is he writing about new Subarus? I don’t care if it’s a small, incredibly fun-to-drive wagon and a future collectible?! COME ON!” In the immortal words of Sargeant Hulka: “Lighten up, Francis.” We have an incredibly diverse audience here at Barn Finds, thankfully. You already know that not every vehicle here was found in a barn, and not every vehicle is an American-made muscle car.

For those of us who like unusual small cars like this Subaru Impreza-based WRX (World Rally eXperimental) wagon, this one is for you. Actually, this car is for everyone who refers to him or herself as a car guy or car gal, and an unmodified one is fairly rare to see. Subaru offered the WRX beginning in 1992 and they still make them today. Sadly, the wagon version went away around a decade ago. The second-gen cars, famous for their “bug-eye” headlights, came out in 2000. Remember 2000? That’s when the world was supposed to end. Not the time that Nostradamus predicted the world would end, that’s a different one. The WRX was part of the Impreza family until 2014 at which point they became their make in the Subaru family. They’re all AWD, they’re all turbocharged, and they’re all fun to drive.

I think if this car had been yellow, the bid price would be a lot higher than it currently is, probably double at least. I’ve wanted a yellow WRX wagon for years or actually decades. I cross-shopped AWD turbo cars when I got my 2002 Audi TT ALMS and the WRX would have been more practical, not to mention easier and cheaper to maintain. There are some paint issues with this WRX as you can see in the photos, but having lived in Southern California its whole life, there doesn’t appear to be any rust. The seats look good both front and rear as does the rear cargo area – although I’m wondering what that dark spot is. The seller calls this WRX the best car they’ve ever owned and they’ve had it for almost two decades. They have a very long description of this car in the listing – nice work, seller!

This is a screenshot of the video that they provided since for some reason they didn’t include any engine photos. It’s Subaru’s EJ20, sometimes seen as EJ20T, a 2.2-liter boxer-four with around 215 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but a 5.8-second 0-60 times proves differently, and that was pretty fast for 2002. Have any of you owned a WRX?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    I bought a 2002 WRX from a college kid who did the money shift and spun a rod bearing. I replaced the short block with a new factory unit back when they were still available. Drove it for a couple months and let my friend use it for a month while he was visiting.
    Subaru cars never interested me but after driving that car I would actually enjoy owning one. Never cared for the bugeye appearance of that model but the blue is the color to have. They also came in a pale yellow that was not attractive in my opinion. I have worked on a number over the years and rebuilt several of the engines. Really easy car to work on. Very intuitive design.

    Like 10
  2. Avatar photo Frank Drackman

    Guys that drive them seem to be pretty sharp, Cops, Military, Airline Pilots, and “Car Guys”‘
    I don’t drive one

    Frank

    Like 4
  3. Avatar photo SquareLeft

    I’ve owned my 2002 WRX for 9 years. It’s one of the most-fun cars to drive that I’ve owned. Unlike alphasud, I’m not a fan of either the wagon or the blue color (only because, when they were new, it seemed like every one you saw was blue…), but I do like the bugeye look. I searched for 18 months before I found my ‘low mileage’ stock black sedan back in 2015. I’ve used mine for ‘light’ rally duty and autocross – and have made a few modifications, but they’re ones that aren’t visible to the casual observer. From my perspective, buying my WRX was one of the best fun-per-dollar auto purchases I’ve ever made.

    Like 8
  4. Avatar photo Stan

    These were cool, and sounded great. Best 4cyl rumble ive ever heard. For some reason the new ones dont sound the same, way more quiet and lacking the rumble. Anybody know why ? Did Subaru change the firing order or something 🤔

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo alphasud Member

      No they still have the same firing order. Tighter noise restrictions are the cause of that.

      Like 3
    • Avatar photo Derrick S

      I believe the newer cars have more equal length header manifolds. The older cars had shorty’s on one side, and long ones on the other, giving them that odd grumble that everyone likes. (Me included).

      Like 6
  5. Avatar photo angliagt Member

    And the ugliest body on one.Another cool car that will
    always be overpriced in the used car market.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo charlie Member

    Son bought one used, a 2002, in 2009, blue, drove it until 2020, standard transmission, wonderful fun car in LA, other than shifting every 30 seconds, sold it to guy who had been repairing it for last decade, he can not find a buyer, kids, who whould be market, can’t drive a standard transmission. Times have changed and the demand for these as well – if an automatic, SOLD. The beginning of the end of the stick shift was the ’60 Corvair where the 2 speed Powerglide out did the stick shift, 0-60.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Troy

    168,000 miles current bid is about its value, I would put a roll cage in it and take it up in the hills and have fun.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Nelson C

    Unmolested. This is the sbc-powerglide Malibu you might find on this on a different day. Cool car. Great find.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Lovin' Old Cars!

    Calling this a wagon is like calling a Toyota Yaris a muscle car.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Matthew Dyer

    Thanks Scotty.
    I like cars, and trucks, and motorcycles, and airplanes, and even trains. Speaking of trains, I’d enjoy the drivetrain.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Fahrvergnugen Member

    I’ve been driving this car’s grownup cousin, a black ’05 Legacy GT Wagon automatic, for a decade. See above left.

    With the bigger 2.5 turbo, and some easy exhaust mods to replace rusted out stuff, 265HP and AWD is just about right. Fun, and the ability to haul lots of stuff!

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo PRA4SNW Member

    In ’02, I shopped one of these against an Audi A4 Avant – the Avant won. I made it affordable by getting the lowest model with the “leatherette” (vinyl) interior. I “chipped” the 1.8T and that little wagon would run!

    Great car for weekend ski trips and weekday commuting / kids taxi.

    Like 3
  13. Avatar photo piston poney

    guy I work with/a friend of mine has an 02 just like this but red, he let me drive it on lunch one day, we went down a side road and he said look, its a WRX don’t redline it but red line it, shift right at 7 grand, I said ok, I ran it up to 7 grand in first gear then in 2nd, its a struggle to keep your head off the headrest, if I had the money I’d go get this one.

    Like 3
  14. Avatar photo Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this one sold for $6,500!

    Like 4
  15. Avatar photo Jay E. Member

    The next iteration of this is my daily driver, a 2004 Subaru Forester with the WRX motor. AWD, turbo and short gears make a VERY quick car. At 30, passing is a hoot, just explosive acceleration. Its been reliable and reasonably comfortable, but noisy with sub 20 mpg make long hwy drives tiring. I use it like a truck, fill it with stuff and load up the roof rack. I really like its and off the chart fun compared to the modern SUV’s. For the price, someone got a really good car, just be sure to change the oil every 3000 miles or you will cook the turbo!

    Like 1

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