World’s Nicest 1983 Subaru GL?

This may be the nicest 1983 Subaru GL Sedan in existence. I know, most folks would say, who cares, just because something has been so well preserved doesn’t make it valuable or desirable. But, in this case I argue that it is both valuable and desirable, at least to a decent-sized portion of the population. This gem is listed on eBay with an ambitious Buy It Now price of $5,500 or you can make an offer.

This car fits into the category of, like it or not, you’re just sort of glad that well-preserved vehicles like this still exist out there in the world. Most of these Subarus have rusted into oblivion over the last 34 years, this car is amazing top to bottom. NADA lists a “high retail” value of $3,100 for this car, but I think they’re low on that number. I’m not sure if it’s worth $5,500 but maybe somewhere in-between those two figures. I haven’t seen a nicer example than this one right here and as any collector knows, always buy thee nicest example that you can find.

I don’t see even a q-tip-sized chip or ding anywhere on the body of this car. It must have led a charmed life in Lancaster, California. It has less than 59,000 miles on it and it shows. The Subaru GL was known as the Leone in most markets and the GL was a high trim level. This car would not have been available with 4WD, at least for the North American market, whereas the wagon and Brat versions would have had that option.

Other than some fading on the passenger side window crank, I don’t see a flaw in this entire interior. There are only three interior photos and none of the backseat or the trunk, but I would have to assume that both of those areas are as almost-factory-fresh as the front seating area appears to be. Yes, dang it, this car has an automatic transmission, I always hope to see a manual in these small cars in order to be able to wring out the small available horsepower. But, seeing that the GL was a “fancier” trim level, an automatic made its way into a high percentage of these cars. The front seats literally look like new, they were either covered while in use or were just taken care of meticulously.

In looking at the underside photos, was this engine removed? Maybe rebuilt or resealed at some point? It looks as clean as new from the underside, and almost as clean up top. This is Subaru’s EA81, 1.8L boxer-four with a touch over 70 hp. A 95 hp turbo EA81T was available in 1983 but it only came in the 4WD wagon and 4WD Brat. If this car had a turbo with a 5-speed and 4WD it would be something, for sure. I still think it’s something. I almost literally don’t care what the vehicle is: muscle car, full classic, brass era, 19xx sedan, pickup, motorcycle – it’s always a dream come true to find one in this sort of condition. If I were in the market for a perfect 1983 Subaru GL Sedan I would have hit the buy it now button already. Have you seen a nicer example in the last two decades? Have any of you owned a car similar to this one?


  1. Ralph Terhune

    I was just thinking the same thing, Scotty. Well preserved, but who cares? It will never be worth anything, so you might as well drive the wheels off of it IMHO.


      Here we go! The first in many (I am going to predict) nasty, biased,undeserved reviews of an imported car that has no value because it’s not a 1969 Camaro with a big block in a 4-speed in it. It is so funny to watch all the comments on this forum Because unless it’s a 1969 Camaro or it’s a 1965 Ford Mustang or something American you can’t appreciate it unless it’s American-made. Bull hockey !! Nobody can appreciate any car that is very well-preserved anymore??? I don’t care if it’s a 1983 Yugo or it’s a 1987 Dodge Omni or if it’s a 1963 Fiat, if somebody went through the trouble of taking very good care of it over many many years and you don’t see examples anymore at all, how can you not appreciate It no matter what they’re asking for it?? Geez, I have noticed there are quite a few narrow-minded people on this forum and it just amazes me what sort of box you must live in in life….Open your minds and your opinions before you die and regret it.!

      Like 4
      • Mr. TKD

        You forgot the complaining about it NOT being a “barn find.”

      • Puhnto

        Yeah, and having too many doors!

      • Mike

        gotta see my 1988 Yugo GV, 1964 Chevy Corvair conv, 82 diesel Rabbit pickup, 1984 dodge Rampage, 1985 LeBaron turbo cone, 1985 celica GTS conv, and my 1979 Lincoln Versailles!!!!! now there is a collection!

        Like 1
    • Ralph Terhune

      The 1957 DeSoto Firesweep shown elsewhere in BF….Now that’s a car worthy of this website!

  2. 8banger Dave Member

    Their 1.8 and especially the 2.2 were some of the better engines ever created.

    • Thomas

      The 2.2 motor is bullet proof. I’m not sure anything could kill it.

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Thomas, my ex-wife could.

    • Roger

      I had an 83 and drove it from new Brunswick to Victoria bc thourgh the statesame and had no problems burned 1 litre of oil. Have owned Subaru ever since currently have a 97 wagon and two 2009 impress. Great reliable and fast road cars.

      Like 1
  3. Fred W.

    The difference between this and the Omni, Volare, Escort, etc. that we see here on occasion is that back in the day, this was actually a good car. Making it a better buy today than any of them.

  4. MikeG

    Amazing cars and this one is sweet!! I bought a beater wagon for a commuter car in the 90’s, it never let me down. Just leaked so much oil that I gave it to a charity and bought a bit newer turbo 4wd wagon. Now I have the 2.5l Subie engine driving my VW Vanagon synchro, great powerplant.

  5. jaygryph

    Did you know they made a convertible version of this car? A coach builder in CA built them in the 80’s on the coupe chassis. I know where one is, or was, and has been sitting in the weeds for years. Interesting car, kinda cute in an ugly boxy 80’s sort of way.

    • Scotty Staff

      We found one for sale a while ago, jaygryph, it sure has a “unique” look to it!

      • jaygryph

        Yup, that’s the one I was thinking of. There’s a tan one sitting in the weeds in Oregon by my folks place. Has been there for at least a decade. Sorta a sad deal, when I first saw it the thing wasn’t bad looking at all. Who knows what it’s like now after being moved around their yard and rained on constantly. There’s a tan blob on street view where it is so it was there still as of whenever the google van buzzed by.

  6. djkenny

    I would totally consider it for $3000… with a Stick. With the Slush Box is is not worth even viewing IMHO. Maybe a mint Turbo model with all the options including a Sunroof.. XT Coupe.. then $5500.

  7. Mr. TKD

    The Subaru GL was significant to me because it was the first nice car I primarily drove. It was reliable and durable–a great choice for a teenager.

    It’s also significant to me for the way it protected me when I got hit by a drunk driver. The impact caused my car to roll into a ditch. I crawled out thru the opening where the windshield glass had been just moments before. The car was totaled, but I wasn’t. Aside from a scratch or two, I was unscathed.

    Great car. I wouldn’t mind having another one.

  8. misterlou Member

    What I love about this site is how there is no snobbery. I’m so sick of BaT for trolling BF and for the Porsche/BMW obsession. BF has no qualms about featuring a Ford Fairmont or a Chevy Citation.

    Like 1
  9. John

    It may not be worth anything in the US, but in other markets this car will only appreciate in value.
    Just about all Japanese cars from the 60’s-90’s are going up in value around the world, and mint ones are especially sort after.

    That’s because people who grew up with these cars now have more disposable income and returning to things they liked when younger.

    Sure the Leone rally spec with turbo and manual would be the most desirable one, but this car is what any discerning collector would be looking for.

    Like all cars they have a life cycle, and we see with the older pre WW2 cars, the prices are now on the downward slide, as most people can no longer relate to them.
    The same will happen to 50’s – 60’s muscle, another 10 years, most of those that liked them when younger will not be on this earth, and following generations have little or no interest in them.

  10. David Miraglia

    good daily driver

  11. Mitch

    I always can appreciate & like ANY well preserved car. Haven’t we seen enough Camaros, Corvettes & Mustangs? It could be a Yugo even. (& for the record, a friend of mine’s ex had one, & if could take the punishment he gave it & still keep going, that’s saying something, because it did) I owned a ’70 Dodge Coronet 2 door for years, & would take it to our local car shows. But as soon as someone would park a Corvette, Camaro or Mustang next to it, everyone would race over & drool over that one. To me, ANYTHING well preserved catches my eye, especially if it’s unusual.

    Like 2
  12. Rustytech Member

    Excellent daily driver! It would fit right in up here in the mountains. Back when I was buying and selling cars, these were everywhere, you don’t see many today because they were prone to rust. I’d take this in a heart beat if it were closer, and listed under $3500.

  13. Jay

    A Subaru without AWD…naaaaah, I’m gonna have to pass. It is nicely preserved, I’ll give it that, but for me, a Subaru is only a Subaru if it includes both these things: a boxer engine and AWD. Only the vehicles that came before they started selling AWD equipped cars, like the 360 and the vans based on it, get a pass for not having these things.

  14. milotus

    I noticed that it’s in Lancaster,CA.Those pictures
    weren’t taken there,& with the out of state plates,I’m thinking
    that this is a flipper,out to make some quick bucks.

  15. Leon

    My late dad had a 84 wagon we paid $500 for in 2001. Auto trans went out locked up would not roll in neutral. Local mechanic did not know how to work on it. Wish it had been a 5spd. Blue metallic paint was faded but it was a straight and rust free one owner New Orleans car. Old man lived along Lake Pontchartrain. Was amazed how it went 17 yrs with no rust The car is suspected to have drowned in Katrina after my dad got rid of it

  16. Mike

    To me the 80s Japanese sedans like the Honda Accord Toyota Camry or this Subaru had a Mercedes Benz look to them.

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