Ho-hum Halo: 1994 Subaru SVX LSi – SOLD!

by | Dec 2023 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

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December 14, 2023 Update – We confirmed the seller saved five dollars by replacing the ad for their SVX with a newer 2015 Subaru Forester.  With no mention of the SVX in their updated listing, we assume this car is now “SOLD!” unless the seller posts a replacement listing.  While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Automobile manufacturers often develop Halo Cars to generate traffic in their dealer showrooms.  The theory is that potential customers will come into the dealership to view the exciting new Halo car but then drive away with one of the brand’s more affordable, bread-and-butter offerings.  Halo Cars often feature high-performance and avant-garde styling showcasing the brand’s engineering prowess.  Subaru tried several unsuccessful Halo Car attempts before the rally-inspired WRX came along.

Following the sales flop of the space-ship-like XT Coupe produced from 1985 to 1991, Subaru launched the Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed SVX as a 1992 model.  Known as the Alcyone (pronounced “al-SIGH-uh-nee) in its home market, the jet-fighter-inspired side glass and curvy body was a stylish (if somewhat polarizing) design that has aged well. However, the biggest downfall of the car was its price at the time.  Originally offered around $30,000 (approximately $66,546 in 2023 dollars), the SVX cost nearly ten thousand dollars more than any other Subaru at the time. Marketed as a luxurious all-wheel-drive Grand Tourer, many potential buyers were lost due to the lack of a manual transmission variant.  At the time, Subaru did not have a manual gearbox capable of handling the 3.3-liter flat-six engine’s 230 horsepower and 228 pounds of torque.

That’s a shame, as the SVX proved to be a luxurious and capable Grand Tourer.  Despite rumors that Subaru lost nearly three thousand dollars on every SVX sold, the company hoped to sell ten thousand units annually in the U.S. Unfortunately, the company wound up selling a total of only 14,000 units in the U.S. between 1992 and 1997. In the longer term, the lack of parts interchangeability with lesser Subaru models conspired with lousy resale values to motivate owners to cut bait rather than spend the money needed to keep their SVXs road-worthy.  Consequently, finding a well-maintained SVX nearly thirty years on can be challenging.

This Green 1994 Subaru SVX LSi for sale, last spotted on Craigslist in Clarendon, Virginia (Arlington) in November 2023, appears to be a regularly maintained driver quality, two-owner example. The seller notes that their SVX has not been modified, including the stereo system, and goes to great lengths detailing the car’s maintenance history before their purchase just one year ago. This SVX features the desirable LSi trim, which adds a luxurious leather and suede interior. This car’s interior appears to have been preserved very well overall.

Last offered for a firm $8,690, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask aligns with this guide’s six-month results for the lone generation of Subaru SVX cars produced between 1992 and 1997.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the downloadable 2023 Old Cars Price Guide Big Book confirms the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #3 “Very Good” estimate of $6,660 and its #2 “Fine” appraisal of $10,360 for a completely stock example.

The 1994 Subaru SVX, a remarkable grand touring coupe, showcased Subaru’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of automotive design and technology. Debuting in 1991 at the Tokyo Auto Show as a futuristic concept car, the SVX transitioned into production with minimal design alterations, maintaining its distinctive and avant-garde appearance.

Under the sleek hood of the 1994 Subaru SVX lies a robust powerplant. The SVX was equipped with a horizontally opposed, or “boxer,” engine, a signature of Subaru’s engineering philosophy. The 3.3-liter EG33 flat-six engine was a powerhouse, delivering 230 horsepower and 224 lb-ft of torque. The engine featured an aluminum alloy block and heads, contributing to a balanced weight distribution for enhanced handling.

This engine was mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, a somewhat unconventional choice in an era when many performance-oriented cars were transitioning to manual transmissions. However, the SVX’s transmission was refined to offer smooth shifts, and its all-wheel-drive (AWD) system provided optimal traction and stability in various driving conditions.

The 1994 Subaru SVX was a testament to aerodynamic innovation. Its exterior design, characterized by sleek lines and a distinctive window-within-a-window feature, wasn’t just eye-catching and contributed to improved aerodynamics. The window-within-a-window, often called an “aircraft-inspired glass-to-glass canopy,” was a unique design element providing an expansive view for the driver and passengers.

The SVX also featured flush door handles and a low drag coefficient, emphasizing its commitment to cutting-edge aerodynamics. This enhanced the car’s visual appeal and played a crucial role in achieving better fuel efficiency and on-road stability.

Built on the Subaru Alcyone platform, the SVX incorporated a sophisticated four-wheel independent suspension system. MacPherson struts were employed in the front, while the rear utilized a multi-link suspension setup. This combination ensured a balanced and responsive handling experience, allowing the SVX to navigate corners and maintain stability at higher speeds precisely.

The variable-assist power steering system added to the driving dynamics, providing a comfortable and controlled feel behind the wheel. The all-wheel-drive system, a staple in Subaru’s lineup, further contributed to the SVX’s exceptional traction and stability on diverse road surfaces.

Inside the 1994 Subaru SVX, occupants were treated to a luxurious and well-appointed cabin. The futuristic design theme continued, with ergonomic controls and a driver-centric layout. High-quality materials, including leather upholstery and faux wood trim, elevated the sense of refinement.

Technologically advanced features for the time included a premium sound system, automatic climate control, and power-adjustable seats.

While the 1994 Subaru SVX had a relatively short production span, ceasing production in 1996, its impact on automotive design and engineering persisted. The SVX served as a bold statement from Subaru, demonstrating their ability to create a unique, high-performance grand touring coupe. The innovative design elements, advanced technology, and commitment to all-wheel-drive excellence paved the way for future Subaru models, influencing the brand’s direction in the years to come.

The 1994 Subaru SVX remains a noteworthy chapter in automotive history. Its distinctive design, powerful performance, and technological innovation made it a standout model in the early 1990s automotive landscape. The SVX’s legacy endures as a symbol of Subaru’s willingness to push boundaries and challenge conventions in pursuit of automotive excellence.

The MotorWeek Retro Review Channel features this 1991 launch review of the then-new Subaru SVX:

Given the choice between a ten-thousand-mile car with no maintenance performed and a one-hundred-thousand-mile ride with detailed maintenance, I would choose the latter. Based on the seller’s detailed description, much of the maintenance on their 1994 Subaru SVX for sale has been tackled. Oddly, the seller notes that while they bought the car barely one year ago, they justify their pricing based on a 10K-mile service costing over ten large and completed in 2017. That’s a bit of a stretch, but based on our pricing research, their firm ask is in line with the car’s condition without the need to stretch like that.

Additionally, the seller notes they plan to “take the car to Firestone” in mid-December, which is cause for pause as we would be surprised if a mechanic working there would know the intricacies of this rare Subaru.  Unfortunately, the seller hasn’t addressed an unplugged air conditioning compressor during their year of ownership. With all that glass in this car, that would be the first project on our to-do list before moving on to the noisy rear wheel bearing.  Additionally, the four-speed automatic transmission in these cars is a known trouble spot, so the seller’s lack of any detail around it would have us asking them more questions about the preventative maintenance performed on that component.

If you are serious about buying this SVX LSI, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Subaru Halo car featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Price firm. No low ballers. No dealers. No trades. No scams.

 

Iconic Italian-designed, rare 2-door, green, AWD Subaru SVX LSi. Excellent condition with beige leather and suede interior, excellent running condition, radio, cassette player, and original Subaru equipment. I always wanted to own a sports car from the 1990s but couldn’t afford it when I was in high school. I remember a friend had a Mitsubishi 3000GT Turbo, which was way ahead of its time and relatively fast. The SVX was one of those interesting cars of its era, and I got it after selling a 1990 Subaru Legacy. I bought it from the original owner in northern Virginia, who had it under a carport, in November 2022. I decided I don’t drive it much and have 22 motorcycles. I’m not in a rush to sell; no lowball offers. It is a blast to drive—very quiet and smooth accelerations. Everything has been maintained, and I have receipts. The title is in my name paid off.

I drove to Florida in April, and I drove it back 700 miles on Nov 30, 2023. There were no issues, but it sounded like one of the rear wheel bearings was making noise during the trip. My pricing reflects this.

As for pricing, I am firm for now. If you disagree with my price, there is no need to contact me. The reason for the price is the 100K mile service was done for over $10000, and that has value, as it means you won’t have to do many expensive maintenance items for another 100K miles (this included valve gasket, timing belt, and water pump). The only issue with the interior is the area behind the armrest was cut somehow, but it should be easily fixed with glue. These sold for $35K in the mid-1990s, which is like $60K now, and Subaru lost money on them. I am in the forums, and people joke about how these are the best deals. This can be a daily driver as I felt comfortable after driving it 700 miles from Florida with only two gas stops.

Almost all maintenance was done at Fitzgerald Auto Malls in Kensington, Maryland. I left some things on the receipts, like coolant flush if it was done later—$ 20000+ in maintenance receipts.

SERVICE:
New AC belt – June 2000 – 50500
Coolant flush, transmission flush, power steering flush, engine cleaner, driver side CV boot replaced – Jul 2010 – 81000 miles
Four wheel alignment, replace drive belts, new rear diff fluid, air filter, balance four wheels – Jan 2009 – 78300
Rear quarter panel repainted by Fairfax Auto Body– Sep 2010 – 82000
Four brakes and rotors replaced – Oct 2010 – 83500
Four new tires, new front drive axle – Sep 2012 – 86809
New rim, fuel system induction kit, power steering flush, brake system flush, cooling system service, transmission flush – March 2014 – 89700
Brake fluid exchange, coolant exchange, new battery – Nov 2015 – 92200
———————————–
BIG SERVICE – May 2017 – 94800 miles – Cost $10,199.97
Replaced rear main seal, front diff service, rear diff service, replaced left outer CV boot,
VALVE COVER GASKET
SPARK PLUGS
HOSES for oil cooler
TIMING BELT
WATER PUMP
THERMOSTAT
A lot of MISC parts associated with the above repair on receipt
REPLACE KNOCK SENSOR and associated parts and PCV valve
———————————–
-Alternator – May 2018 – 96000
-Replaced right rear wheel bearing assembly – Mar 2019 – 97100
-New Battery – Mar 2019 – 97000
-New front bumper and painted – Jul 2021 – 99700
-Replaced front right axle – Dec 2021 – 100100
-Synthetic oil change – Dec 2021 – 100100
-AC recharged, brake fluid exchange, coolant exchanged – Dec 2021 – 100100
-New EGR Solenoid Valve – May 2022 – 100400
-Clay washed and clay barred, detailed on the outside and inside – Oct 2022 – 100600
-Tektron Fuel Cleaner – Nov 2023 – 101400

ISSUES – my price reflects all issues and will fix some if it doesn’t sell, and increase the price accordingly:
-There was a noise from the rear during my drive from FL. I think it may be a bad bearing
-The last receipt from the previous owner says the AC compressor needs to be replaced and is unplugged. I never thought it was necessary to get it fixed.
The steering wheel points a few degrees to the left, so it may need to be aligned when the tires are installed.
-The tires are dry-rotted but worked fine on my 700-mile drives. I bought four new tires, and they will come with the car. When new tires are installed, have all wheels facing the correct way
-Headlights have some discoloration like most older cars
-The hood needs something to keep it open. I bought two new struts and will provide them to the new owner.
-The oil should be changed at some point. I have the filter
-I have a cabin filter for it.
-Needs to have state inspection since it was in FL when it expired

I have an appointment with Firestone in mid-December, and if I repair some of these issues, I will raise the price.

It comes with a manual, three keys, and 1 FOB.

-I mounted a new Rexing Car Camera and hid the wire – It cost me $140 with tax, an SD card that cost $20, and labor for hiding the wire $25. I can include it with the car for a fee, or I will keep it.

Price firm. Please put “rare SVX” in the subject line, so I know it is not spam. I will do test drives with full cash. Please, no tire kickers or those who want to see what one feels like.

Daily Driver or Weekend Warrior: What would you do with this driver-quality 1994 Subaru SVX for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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