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Guest Message by DevFuse


Enthusiast First Post... Advice Sought!

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3 replies to this topic

#1 GeoLogic


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Posted 21 November 2005 - 05:26 PM

Hi all!

I've been lurking about over the last several weeks, learning more about classic Subarus. This appears to be a great resource and it's much appreciated.

I've been a longtime skier and have generally always done well with the FWD cars I've owned, but in the back of my mind have always fancied the idea of having an on-demand 4WD car that allows me drive most of the time in fuel/money saving 2WD and then shift into 4WD when conditions are appropriate. Sadly, if you want that kind of combination you're out of luck these days, as 2WD/4WD can only be had in pickup trucks (not cars); or you have to settle for AWD. I don't have anything against these vehicles, but for my modest needs I like the idea of an on-demand 4WD *car*. And the last of those were offered in the 80's, pretty much (Subaru GLs, Toyota Tercel wagons, Nissan Stanza wagons, Nissan Sentra wagons, Dodge Colt wagon). For whatever reason, manufacturers dropped that genre of car all together, which is a real pisser, and now your only choices along those lines are cars that are becoming increasingly rare and trouble-prone (as any 20+ year old car would be).

Anyway, to test the waters of what's available I posted a couple of "Wanted" notes on Craig's List Eugene and Portland, OR (thanks to all who responded, by the way). Got one response recently from a fellow in Portland for an '88 GL hatch-- Apparently free of rust, in "great looking and running condition", 150k miles.

Given that this is the place to secure such incite, I wondered if I might get some of your guys' experience with these particular generation GLs. I always liked the look of the hatchbacks better than the wagons, but on the other hand the wagons have greater capacity in terms of passengers and cargo. But fuel economy would also be slightly better with the hatch. So, questions:

*How's the space inside a GL hatch?
*How's the stock handling/ride characteristics? I'm a modest fellow and generally prefer quieter, smoother quality.
*Anyone have ideas as to what's the most common problems for the GLs (such as the 4WD system (leaks and such), heater core, EA81 engine, brakes, etc.)?
*Typical fuel economy?

I'd be using such a car for run-of-the-mill mountain trips, on road, with really only road ice/snow, and parking lot snow to contend with. Might hit up a gravel road every so often, but really I'm just a low-key "Joe driver" interested in safety, efficiency, and low cost. One other thing I should add: I'm also a perfectionist when it comes to my cars-- I insist that everything be in top shape and operational; cosmetic and mechanical. So anything in need of repair or replacement I'd probably obsessively make it happen!

The short story is I’m interested in getting any of your opinions regarding the viability of having such a car for the uses outlined above. My main concern is going to have to be cost-- I’m quite concerned about the cost of repair to make such a car safe and reliable, insurance, etc.. This would also have to be a second car, as I’d be keeping my current 1990 Geo Prizm GSi hatch (Toyota Corolla clone) (a car I’ve worked to bring up to superb condition, and one I can rely on without worry). I’ve learned an enormous amount about working on cars through my (4A-GE fuel-injected) Prizm, and would likely do all but the largest types of jobs on any Subaru I might buy, myself (although I’ve never worked on a boxer engine).

Thanks for your input, everyone, and for letting me ramble on! I would flat out LOVE to have a GL of this generation but fear the cost of an extra car might be too much at this point. Doh. My (eminently practical) girlfriend says I shouldn't get a second car, but it sure would be fun, I bet!


#2 operose


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Posted 21 November 2005 - 07:07 PM

you should be able to pick up an 80's hatch _ON THE CHEAP_ like a few hundred smackers.....

and they are basically designed exactly for what you want to do with them. not only that, but they are SO EASY TO WORK ON.

get a subaru, you won't regret it. :brow:

#3 elcaminokurt


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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:52 PM

Plus, Subaru is THE offical car of the US Ski Team! :D

#4 soobmater


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Posted 21 November 2005 - 10:04 PM

definatley get a subie!!!!!!! if i were you, i think i would get a hatch, maybe a ea81 wagon..these cars are the best of the best in the snow! well any way, welcome to the board, and if you get a subie, you'll have plenty of stuff to learn about it here on the usmb

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