1990 subaru legacy wagon
cylinders: 4 cylinders
paint color: custom
title status: clean
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I received nine emails. Four of them were fan-letters, immensely sweet responses expressing appreciation for the care and effort to sell it. Three of them were solid offers at the asking price, two of which came as a result of the coverage from Jalopnik. One of them was what can best be described as hate-mail. I think the writer takes strong offense to the idea that these can be valuable.
I mention all this as I know there is a stereotype of Craigslist being the home of low-ballers and ridiculous trade offers. I didn't get any of that, and honestly, I never really do. A little formality goes a long way to weed out the general dipshitery of Craigslist.
Here is the exciting news: I sold it to Subaru of America for their private collection in Camden, NJ! It will sit in a climate-controlled environment with its equally well-preserved Brethren, only seeing the road as a means of travel to car shows and other events. So hopefully, I will reencounter it at some future RADwood event.
Thanks for your interest in this ad, I will leave it up until expiration but all the photos and text will remain available here foreva: 1980to1999.shortcm.li/legacy
When preparing to sell a car, you develop an intimacy with its form, function, and logic that is hard to obtain through typical operation. A sign that your efforts to prepare the car are paying off is a sudden urge to keep it. But for me, this prep has just increased my existing affection; I love this car.
What makes a car loveable, not just an object of desire, but a machine you want to commit to? Form, utility, and performance.
Form: I bought this car 14 months ago. I was scrolling craigslist, had never even contemplated purchasing a Subaru, and certainly was not on the hunt for one, but even in the postage sized thumbnail, I was charmed by the proportions of this car. The short hood and extended back, the straight lines moving across the body. It was at once familiar and idiosyncratic, clearly built to be useful but with engineering parameters that allowed for a unique iteration on a standard form. On further inspection, the commitment to smoothness, a consistent fillet across the sheet metal and molded plastic was remarkable and beautiful. A near-perfect expression of enthusiasm for the new decade (the 90's), somehow subtle and radical at once. A utility vehicle in Tomorrowland.
Seeing the car in person confirmed my formal impressions, but it was the tactile engagement with the interior that sold me—just a beautiful golden tan cocoon. I understand there is some sort of negative sentiment towards beige, but it starts to feel like a space manufactured to chill you out when it moves towards a warmer hue. Also, the condition; holy shit!
The test drive was... fine. The suspension was tired, and there were some sounds, the tires were old, it wasn't bad enough to break the spell. I was already falling in love.
Utility: Subaru's are, of course, known for their functional prowess, but they have become rather disgustingly festooned folded and formed panelized nightmares in the last 20 years. The magic of this car was that something so elegant and low-key could also perform like a truck with an unbelievably compact footprint. The outside shell to interior volume ratio on this car is unmatched. As an urban everything-car, it is perfect.
Performance: This one can be tricky. For the "Furious" crowd, this is an objective trait measured by numbers that index directly to desirability. But for most, the pleasure of driving newer cars has been neutered by their increase in power, as a series of automated processes are continually attempting to trim and limit the delivery of that power to keep the driver from killing themself. The experience of manually controlling the handling, gearing, and power delivery of a mid-power 90's wagon allows one to understand and enjoy "performance" instead of just reading about it at the dealership before purchasing a car. This car is fun to drive.
In my 14 months / 2500 miles of owning this car, I have invested ~$6k in recreating the experience of buying it new-off-the-lot. I wanted to understand the designed intent of the car and enjoy it for precisely what it was intended to be: an AWD expression of practical luxury, an Accord killer. This meant new struts, control arms, bushings, brakes, clutch, timing belt, water pump, tires, shifter bushings, 4 speakers etc... the goal was to create the experience of a new car for myself but also for my wife who wasn't entirely convinced that this car was "it." And, here's the bad news: she never was.
And so, here I am selling this rather incredible car. It's ok. We have other rad-mobiles and will likely get a Vanagon or a Delica. Sometimes you need to pass on the passion and let others enjoy the benefits of your affection.
There are no other Legacy wagons like this for sale. It has been garaged for its entire life, at home and at work. The paint is perfect aside from a few very small bumper marks. I clay-bared it and polished it for the sale, it is beautiful but honestly, it was before that too; it's just been immensely well taken care of. This car is not a "platform" for a "project," and it's not priced as such. The price will only make sense if your interest is in continued preservation, maintenance, and, most importantly, use.
The mileage is a testament to the durability of craftsmanship and materials that Subaru used in the production of this car. Obviously, it looks like it has a tenth of the mileage, has lived its entire life in non-coastal northern California. It is literally, 100%, no caveats, absolutely rust free and therefore an absolute joy to work on.
Everything works, AC, windows etc. No leaks of any kind
The link provides access to 200 full-resolution photos, a PDF of all maintenance I've done as well as the specific parts used, the original sales receipt with all options listed, and a fresh Carfax. Every piece of information I have on the car. Please utilize this before asking questions, as my answer to most questions will be, "please look in the Drive folder." A new smog will be performed and provided pre-sale. 1980to1999.shortcm.li/legacy
1. Both the interior and exterior colors of this car transform tonally based on light. The Champagne exterior can read very platinum-silver or kinda sandy-gold based on cloud conditions. The interior can read as a brown eggshell tone or kind of light-goldenrod. Rather than trying to match the tone in all the photos, I have allowed for some variation, seems more honest.
2. As you can see, I removed all the protective coating from the rear wheel wells to check that the car was as rust free as it appeared to be. It is. That stuff works, but it attracts dirt and looks kinda gross. If I kept the car, I would remove all of it, but I'll leave that to you.
Comes With: A custom car cover (tan of course), a custom windshield reflector (gold of course), mud flaps (very hard to find) and Hardware, A full set of service manuals.
Payment and Shipping I have sold many cars to people in other states using various payment means. In my experience, you can get a car from San Francisco to anywhere in the US for a maximum of $1200 bucks, down to LA for as little as $300.
Trades: Eurovan, Vanagon, Previa, MPV, HiAce, TownAce, Delica. Only interested in rust-free cars of similar condition. I understand additional $ would be required for most of these.
Who I am: Aaron, I run an Instagram + Facebook page called The Rad Report. Look it up; it's the coolest, but it also means I have a public profile, handy for the less trusting types.
All the pictures + more :1980to1999.shortcm.li/legacy
Important video that you must watch if you've read all this: https://youtu.be/1nCb7MUzptg