Weird White Wedge: 1988 Subaru XT6 4WD

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This one is pushing it, newness-wise; but weirdness knows no age limit, just ask my wife. This is a 1988 Subaru XT6 4WD and it’s in stellar, original condition. It’s listed on eBay with the current bid at $1,800 and a Buy It Now price of $4,500! This is a lot of car and a lot of wacky wedginess for $4,500!

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Barn Finds writer, Jeff, showed us a couple of these cars not too long ago, so apparently there are more of them in nice condition than I thought there were. This weird white wedge is in Edmonds, Washington, a half-hour north of Seattle. You just knew that it would be located in the Pacific Northwest! Those folks know their Subarus.

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The Subaru XT was made from 1985 through 1991 and it was the most aerodynamic car on the market when it first came out. Subaru’s flat boxer engine made that low hoodline possible, adding to the car’s low center of gravity. It also gave the car incredible balance and handling, like almost every Subaru has had since the boxer engine hit the streets around 45 years ago. The XT6, such as this example, was made from 1988 to 1991 and it offered more horsepower and also some other techno-wizardry that wasn’t available in the four-cylinder XT. Such as a Cybrid adaptive electrohydraulic steering system, sort of a variable-assist steering system that varied the steering assist level based on the speed of the car.

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Arrrrggg.. and then there are those blasted automatic seatbelts, the Achilles heel of anyone who likes vehicles from this era. This car also has the non-preferred automatic transmission. Not that it’s a bad one, but the manual is usually preferred in these cars. At least this car has no rust and no interior fading, according to the present owner. I admit it, I really want one of these cars someday; but you probably knew that already. Here’s a YouTube video showing a review of what looks like almost this exact same car, as seen on Motor Week from 1988.

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This is the boxer six-cylinder with 145 hp, about a 25% increase in power over the XT with the four-cylinder boxer engine. This car has Subaru’s “Full-Time 4WD”, a predecessor to today’s AWD. This isn’t an off-road vehicle by any means, but it offers a heck of a lot of traction for anyone who may want to drive this rust-free car in the snow.  The seller says that there’s a crack in the windshield and they’ll throw in a replacement if someone pops for the Buy It Now price. This car is very, very tempting. Are there any other weird wedge lovers out there?

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Comments

  1. Luke Fitzgerald

    God almighty – do those seat belts play up? – when did that start/finish?

    • The Walrus

      Assume you are asking if they move… many cars from 87-92-ish had motorized belts. It was to accommodate federal ‘passive restraint’ requirements. There were many methods tried, with knee padding or stationary seat belt mounts attached to the doors. Ultimately, by the early 90’s, steering wheel airbag technology had become an affordable alternative and these types of things went away.

  2. rusty

    think these were called a Vortex in my country???

    edit: though not sure if they were 4wd here?

  3. MeepMeep

    “The Subaru XT was made from 1985 through 1991 and it was the most aerodynamic car on the market when it first came out.”

    Still doesn’t change the fact that it is uglier than a “mud fence”…IMO.

  4. Rick Schwerdtfeger

    I had an ’88 XT6 with manual transmission. I lived in Colorado and the traction was great. It handled like a go-cart, and had lots of power. I would probably still have the car if it didn’t have the hi-tech auto-adjusting ride height air bladder shocks. In the dry air in CO, the air bladders dry-rotted and leaked, putting the shocks on the stops. I replaced them once with junk-yard shocks because new ones were $1000 EACH, even back in 1994. But when those failed a couple years later, no-one could find them at the junk yards any more. So I sold the car. I still claim it was the most fun car to drive I have ever owned!

    Like 2
    • Kincer Dave Member

      I always wondered why the one I used to see driving around in the 90’s always looked like it was bouncing around awkwardly, it just didn’t look right.

  5. jim s

    i knew this had to be an automatic. if it was a manual it would be sold already. great that it does not have subaru’s digital dash. great find

  6. Bob S

    My God those are Ugly. Neat car though.

  7. Don Dimble

    Love the wedge. Love the asymmetrical steering wheel. I hate subarus across the board (don’t ask) but I could make an exception for this one. It looks fantastic, and those who don’t like wedges have stunted tastebuds. The wedge saved the car from the cul de sac of curved designs that were getting pretty stale by the end of the first round. More for me.

    Like 1
  8. jtnc

    When the XT6 was new I thought it was hideous but now I find it strangely appealing. Very individualistic compared to today’s models in which about 50 different sedans have almost the same tail design (everything from Corolla to Impala to the new Maserati Ghibli). Love the Citroen-esque steering wheel.

    Like 1
  9. Dave W

    Quite remarkable that the Cybrid power steering fluid for these is still available from Subaru at about $20/quart. There is NO generic substitute– the Cybrid fluid must be used.

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    There is no longer a Buy It Now and also no reserve, so it looks like someone is going to get a decent deal on a unique piece of automotive history.

  11. Scotty G Staff

    In a very, very painful auction update: this fantastic car sold for a measly $2,625! There is no good excuse for missing this one!

    Like 1

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