Home » I May Get To Leave The Hospital Today So Let’s Think About Old Subarus A Bit: Cold Start

I May Get To Leave The Hospital Today So Let’s Think About Old Subarus A Bit: Cold Start

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Doctors woke me up this morning to tell me that, hopefully, I may be able to go home today. I mean, I think they said other things, but that’s what stuck. Because holy shit do I want to get out of the hospital. I’ve been rigged with a more long-term IV line thing called a PICC line so I can get antibiotics shot right into my plumbing, there’s a plan for someone to show up at my house tomorrow evening to explain how it all works and I guess tell me not to connect it to the garden hose or maybe not to bother trying to rig up an HDMI adapter for it. They also said they may have grown a culture of whatever attacked my arterial graft so we can assassinate that in a focused way instead of just carpet-bombing all the bacteria inside me. I’m hopeful. So let’s talk about some late ’70s and early ’80s Subarus for luck.

I always liked this period of Subaru, which feels sort of like the brand’s awkward adolescence after its adorable childhood of the 360. With the introduction of the Subaru FF and its surprisingly Lloyd-inspired flat-four engine, Subaru I think began its journey to what we know it as today, and during the ’70s and ’80s, with their increasing focus on 4WD, they pushed even further.

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Like today, they sold a mix of FWD and 4WD cars, and I think it’s interesting to see how different the badging was for these variants:

Cs Subaru Badges

Front-wheel drive is all elegant script, like a wedding invitation or a menu at an old country club that has ignored design trends since 1982; the 4 Wheel Drive badge is far more bold and sporty, all italicized by speed and determination.

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Cs Subaru Wagon

I do love these early 4WD wagons, especially with the older face there, with the round headlamps and indicators. These somehow remind me of pack animals, like a well-groomed mule. Maybe it’s the way that rear haunch rises up?

I’m also a sucker for how much ’70s Subaru seemed to like two-door body styles. Look at these three subtle variations you could get on two-door Subarus, changes mostly limited to the roof design:

Cs Subaru Sedan

There’s the rational two-door sedan, with the more modern face, complete with rational rectangular indicators and a less exuberant hood. The door pillar is unashamedly body-colored, standing tall and sturdy;

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Cs Subaru Coupe

… then there’s this lower-roofed, rakish coupé, with a more raked windshield and that B-pillar painted black, encouraging it to hide and not disturb the lines. And then we have the ultimate:

Cs Subaru Hardtop

A pillarless hardtop! I love these. No B-pillar at all! And look at that strange detail at the rear, presumably over the fresh-air exhaust vent, but oddly horizontal, suggesting the top is removable? Which it isn’t? Anyway, I like this one, and it has the old-school face, too.

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I also always liked these slightly later 2-door hatchback Subarus, too. This is a pretty much extinct body style today, but I always found them appealing. I especially liked how they tried to upsell the limitations of a two-door car:

Cs Subaru Passwalk

I love how they call the standard folding seat that every two-door car has a “passenger walk-in device” which is some dazzling hyperbole.

Finally, let’s look at one last fun thing:

Cs Subaru Colors

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They devoted a whole page of color choices, a nice spectrum of nine colors, and then they decided to showcase all these colors by placing the color list over a big collage of Subarus in precisely…one color. Red. Way to show that full spectrum, Subaru, from glorious crimson to dazzling ruby to vivid scarlet!

I’m so ready to get out of here.

 

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Thx1138
Thx1138
1 month ago

I had one of the Subaru 2 door hatchbacks in white. It was optioned with a roof rack and A/C. It had a 4 speed and to go up the mountains in Western Maryland, you had to drop to 2nd gear, wind it out and watch out for trucks running you down in the far right lane. It had solid lifters that had to be adjusted every 12,000 miles and the spare tire was over the transmission. No 4wd on it. It outlasted me, my Mom and 1 brother before they got tired of it and traded it in on something else. Not at all fancy but it was tough as nails.

One time someone broke into it in the college parking lot and stole my battery. I couldn’t figure out why, since it was the only one of its type at school. I literally had to pop the hood and scratch my head how they got in.

J Terran
J Terran
1 month ago

With a friend from college I drove one of the very early Subaru 4wd station wagons across the country, East to West, Christmas 1983. I think it was a 1977 model that my friend owned. Everything was fine from Massachusetts until about 20 miles outside Minneapolis when the car stated losing power. We broke down in Minneapolis right on the doorstep of the person with whom we’d intended to stay the night. The Subie refused to start. That night there was a massive snow storm–shut down Minneapolis for days, close to 2 feet of snow. No repair shops open. After a day or two, our host realized that he knew someone he could reach out to and call in a favor–an advertiser in a local gay magazine he published. They towed the Subaru and took a look at it at their shop. Fixed it within about 30 minutes. I don’t recall what was wrong but they said it wasn’t much different than their Harleys. Don’t know what that meant. The repair shop was owned by a big biker guy and his skinny girlfriend/boyfriend–I’m guessing trans but I didn’t know these things back then. We made it to Vancouver, Canada under clear skies and severe cold. The little Subie’s heater worked fine the whole way, fortunately.
AND GET WELL TORCH!!

Last edited 1 month ago by J Terran
Radiant13
Radiant13
1 month ago

Red, the blood of angry Torch,
Black, the culture of the graft
Red, the color of VW.
Black, the hospital stay the ends at last.

Robert Stanley McLaughlin
Robert Stanley McLaughlin
1 month ago

I see Subaru already had the great contrast orange/black indicators. I respect German red indicators like submarines (good reason, nightness eyesight, but I have always had a thing for Subaru dashboard lighting. I still own one.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

“They also said they may have grown a culture of whatever attacked my arterial graft so we can assassinate that in a focused way instead of just carpet-bombing all the bacteria inside me.”

What, you’re not going with bleach?

Dissapointed!

James Carson
James Carson
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Or bright light?

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  James Carson

Only if its UV.

Seth Albaum
Seth Albaum
1 month ago

My father had the beige hatchback with square lights. Front wheel drive. He drove it almost literally into the ground. The support for the back of the driver’s seat went out, and he had to wedge a pole to keep the seat up, or he’d be completely reclined. Eventually, he replaced it and parked left it in the driveway a few months until someone came along and bought it for $90 because they needed to replace a door on theirs. It started right up.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
1 month ago

The first-gen Subies definitely look like wildebeests.

Rapgomi
Rapgomi
1 month ago

My relatives in Alaska had several of those early Subarus. Despite their small tires they were beasts in the snow!

That and their low power and weight make me think of current 4×4 K-trucks.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
1 month ago
Reply to  Rapgomi

I would venture to say because of the small tires. At least that was the case with my 61 Volkswagen back in the day. Those 15-in skinny tires would get down and bite in the snow and never leave you stuck

AKBrian
AKBrian
1 month ago
Reply to  Rapgomi

We do love our Subarus up here. I’ve had the opportunity to drive a few early models (’83 DL 4WD and ~’90 Justy 4WD) in some mighty awful weather, but they pawed through it all with unerring aplomb and curiously anthropomorphic enthusiasm.

Small, light vehicles on pointy tires have an almost inelegant grace. They shift and squirm in the deep stuff, but always seem to figure it out and keep moving. Sort of a Captain Jack Sparrow approach to traction.

ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
1 month ago
Hamish48
Hamish48
1 month ago

My daughter had a Subaru with that big 4WD badge on the grille. She was constantly harassed in parking lots by macho men in pickups who thought a little woman in a little car had stuck on a fake badge. She was tempted to take it off.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
1 month ago
Reply to  Hamish48

Macho men who pick on little woman are the biggest bitches of them all.

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