1985 Subaru GL 1.8 from North America


Car is great and reliable


When I got the car it had 110,000 miles on it. I paid $200.00 for it and it had bad spark plugs and wires. I replaced them and it ran great ever since. When it had 129,000 miles on it I rolled it over three times on a dirt road, we flipped it back on its wheels and started it back up. At 130,000 miles the water pump went up on it, so I replaced it for cheap. At the same time the water pump went up the muffler fell off. Recently it has been eating gas and running bad. Also the altenator is about to go up in it. It has lots of dents in it from rolling it, and the wheel bearings make a little bit of noise, but not too bad.

General Comments:

The car is very slow on take off because the muffler fell off, before it fell off it took off fast. It goes good once it is up to speed. I like it a lot because it is so light I can pick it up myself. It also handles good in the snow, I will walk right past all these new cars they got out. Also I think it is funny when I see a four wheel drive vehicle going so slow and I'm flying in my little subaru. It is very comfortable and the heater works good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th November, 2005

1985 Subaru GL Touring Wagon 1.8 from Australia and New Zealand


Reliable, but a sink-hole for money on repairs to keep it running


Radiataor died of old age and frailty.

Water pump bearings collapsed.

Electrical short circuit due to poor repair by previous owner.

Clutch and operating fork wore out and required replacement.

Driver's seat has worn badly on the seat belt side.

General Comments:

I bought the car cheaply for $2500 at a time when I had little time to find a replacement. It needed another $1000 to make it roadworthy, and I've spent about another $3000 on the repairs listed above.

Around town the car used about 12lt/100km, on the highway, around 9lt/100km. It never blew smoke or used much oil.

On purchase, one of the valve lifters was noisy, but with regular servicing (I had this done religiously) this has rectified itself.

On one occasion, I nearly had a fire when the wiring short-circuited, and an auto electrician traced the problem to a poorly conducted previous modification. Otherwise the car has been very reliable, and always started well with choke from cold, but required warming up to perform reasonably.

I used the car as family transport, and found it roomy and versatile. It's a bit of a snail on highway hills, but plods along OK. I am also a hang glider pilot, and used it to transport my glider up and down 4WD tracks to launch. The hi/lo 4WD works well, and it did this job admirably!

When it came time to sell it, however, I discovered that it has terminal structural rust in the front members, and a potential buyer commented that he had seen other Subarus with similar problems. This problem has sadly made its resale value virtually worthless.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th July, 2005

1985 Subaru GL 1.6 from North America


Reliable, easy-to-maintain putt-putt-I highly recommend it!


The hydraulics that hold the hatch open have slowly died since I got it. They are now pretty much useless.

Alternator died and was replaced at 75,000.

Theft and hot-wiring of the vehicle at around 100,000 resulted in some minor electrical problems (brake light always on, no hazard lights).

At 105,000 the water pump needed to be replaced.

In that same week, a "mystery" fuel filter was clogged and had to be replaced... after we'd already replaced the other obvious fuel filter and the fuel pump.

General Comments:

Most of these issues are due to the fact she's an old, well-loved car. All of these problems were easily fixed between my step-dad and father-in-law. I've never taken it to the shop. This car is EASY to work on, and parts aren't too expensive.

My little GL won't win any races, but she's got enough get-up-and-go to get me where I need to be. She's got more oomph than one would imagine looking at her.

I think Subaru's had building quality products figured out for a while (20 years at least!). As a matter of fact, hubby is looking to replace his car and the Subaru lot is the first place we'll look!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th January, 2005

26th Dec 2005, 08:20

I recently purchased a 85 gl.

Body fair-no rust, slightly oxidized paint.

165k miles.

My brake light is on constant and ecs light come on after 20 minutes of driving.

16th Feb 2006, 13:23

Picture this: a 1985 Subaru GL with less than 30 000 miles. Yes, I purchased an '85 in June of 2005. It runs great, although it had been parked for a year before I found it. The original tires were still on the car when I initially went to view it. I paid $1800 CAD for it on the road with 4-new tires. Minor body work was required.

Both head lights burned out on a 4-hour road trip one night. It was a month after I bought the; made quite a dark trip @ 10:30pm.

I've already had to replace the alternator, the rear struts, the coil and wires... but it runs great. Most parts are in need of replacement from being parked instead of normal wear & tear. For the most part, it's a great car.