Rad Wedge: 1989 Subaru XT – Sold?

Jan 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

February 18, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

When it comes to a car that practically screams Radwood, the Subaru XT is hard to beat. This is the kind of vehicle that could only have been hatched in the late 1980s, and today has emerged as a cult favorite among car enthusiasts that can’t stomach the idea of driving yet another Miata. This 1989 example listed originally in January 2021 on Craigslist in Willingboro, New Jersey is the low octane version, equipped with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder paired to an automatic transmission, with an asking price of $1,700.   Comparing this price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool tells us the seller has priced this one fairly, especially with some rust issues disclosed, as Hagerty pegs a “Fair” example at $2,100. 

For a company known for making the equivalent of a blunt utility knife on four wheels, the XT was a shock to the world of sport compact cars in the late 80s. The slippery shape, the pop-up headlights, the jetfighter cockpit – none of it was what you’d expect from a company the likes of Subaru. The bodies weren’t the only story, however, as the range of engine choices and options list were as interesting as the car itself. Subaru made it possible to order its wind-cheating sports coupe in four-wheel drive, with niceties like a locking center differential and air suspension. A turbocharged engine was offered, along with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder and a novel flat-six. Throw in the optional digital dash cluster, “checkerboard”-style seat fabric, and an equalizer/stereo combination with more buttons than an air traffic control tower, and you have a wunderkind of the awesome 80s.

Here’s a Motorweek Review of the 1985 Subaru XT:

Now, I’m going to step outside the normal template here and share my experience owning a 1988 Subaru XT6, the six-cylinder sibling to this car. Don’t get too excited – the additional power was barely noticeable, and the five-speed did not deliver the pleasure even the most unrefined manual gearbox can provide. It was an oddball, but not the lovable kind – basically, it was strange and hard to find parts for, and that was it. With no source for replacement parts of the troublesome air suspension, cobbling together suspension bits resulted in a jarring ride with no redeemable handling characteristics. That said, everyone who saw it, loved it, and it had little problem finding a new owner when I moved it along. I always wish I took it to at least one Radwood gathering, as it would have been the show darling. Don’t take my word for it: bring this whiz-bang XT coupe home today!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Rare opportunity to own an 89 Subaru XT. Shares many parts with the GL models. Basically, this is a unicorn in the Subaru world. Runs and drives. Motor and transmission are solid. The previous owner had it parked for many years and it was not running. I invested some time and money and brought her back to life ( Subaru reliability). I changed the oil and filter. Gave it a full tuneup including wires, cap, rotor, spark plugs, PCV valve, air filter, newer tires, rear struts, new battery, rebuilt idler pulley, and new belts. It still needs some attention but mainly cosmetics such as rust repair, paint, and a few misc interior parts. Easy to work on. Has a clean title and does not need an inspection in Jersey. 102k original miles. $1700 BO. Texting is the best way to contact me.

Do you have a Subaru XT story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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