My First Subaru – What’s your story?

November 23, 2009
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Many of us can remember our first car. Mine wasn’t a Subaru. As a matter of fact, when I bought my first car in highschool in 1981 I didn’t even know what a Subaru was.(1967 Mustang coupe with 35k original miles).  I still had no clue what a Subaru was until I was hired as an apprentice BMW technician by what was then Bellevue BMW Subaru back in 1986. I eventually made some transitions at that dealer until I was eventually working on Subarus more than BMWs and eventually even became the Subaru shop foreman of that particular dealer until 1993. Even during that time I still hadn’t owned a Subaru. My run of cars I owned before buying a Subaru was all over the board. From my first ’67 Mustang that was totaled (by me) in 6 months from the time I bought it, a second 67 mustang GT that met the same demise, then a 65 Mustang GT….became a torn down project restoration for 10 years until I sold it in basket case, a Fiat 128 box on wheels, another 67 Mustang coup that turned into another project, a 68 Plymouth Sattelite wagon… the one with the woodgrain sides… an AMC Eagle… now we’re talking the pre-Outback, an 86 Nissan 4×4 pickup then comes THE FIRST SUBARU. It was a 1987 Subaru GL-10 Turbo wagon. It was at the dealer, broken down and the customer didn’t want to fix it. I bought it from the customer and proceeded to rebuild the motor and reassemble the car. It was the top of the line for Subaru in ’87. Turbocharged, power sunroof, digital dash, trip computer.. as a matter of fact it had EVERYTHING. It was white with all the sport black trim and aluminum mag wheels to boot. The big bonus was I still had less money into the car than I could sell it for. I was very pleased with my end result. The car ran great, it had lots of power with the turbo, got o.k.  mileage, and once I took it in the snow I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT!  I had owned my illustrious AMC Eagle which was a 4wd and my Nissan pickup which I thought was a great 4wd but neither could touch the grip of the Subaru when I put it to the test. When it snowed,I always used to have fun taking my cars to  wide open parking lots and doing brodies way late into the evening when no one else was around. My fun was over…. (well sort of). I would get up to speed, crank the wheel and punch the throttle and the darn Subaru just went where I pointed it.  I was disappointed that it wasn’t going to provide myself and anyone I had with me the same thrills of the past but at the same time I was very intrigued by how it stuck so well in the snow. Being a mechanic I still had to see what this car could really do so I took it to the steepest hill I knew of. It’s called Firdale Hill and is where 3rd Ave N.W. meets 205th St. in Shoreline. They shut it down any time there’s a bit of snow on the ground. I had yet to drive a vehicle or see one make it up that hill when there was more than a couple of inches of snow on the ground. That evening there was probably a good 6 inches and the road crews hadn’t made it out to shut down the hill yet. So I started up the hill and the car gripped well with a little slip here and there and I knew part way up it would make it without much effort. The next part is truley amazing. I slowed to a complete stop halfway up the hill then put it into 2nd gear  and accelerated slowly. The tires were a standard all season tire, nothing like these Blizzak’s and high tech winter tires of today. It slipped a bit, creeped a bit, slipped, creeped until it was back on track and moving up the hill like it didn’t miss a beat. WOW, I was beside myself. Ever since then I’ve been sold on Subaru and it’s ability to keep traction in lots of extreme weather conditions. I never thought the combination of their symmetrical all wheel drive combined with the low center of gravity of the boxer engine could be such a sure footed combination until I experienced it first hand. From then on out I knew I would always have at least one Subaru in the family. Since then I’ve heard the same story from many of you when you had your first eye opening experience. Your Subaru took you smoothly up the pass while the Humvee’s and Volvo’s were having trouble, took your neighbor to work when his SUV was stuck in his driveway, and so on. I think it’s that moment of amazement  that hooks us Subaru owners for life.   Feel free to share what hooked you on your Subaru!

 Happy Thanksgiving,

Mike

One Response to “My First Subaru – What’s your story?”

  1. my first car i bought was a suby. its a 1976 Dl 1600 coupe front wheel drive 3 speed auto tran. it has a carb and all. she might be old and a little rusty but she can play in the snow and the dunes but you got to trailer her to the beach. she screams at you at 55 to 60 mph. im planing to by a wrx sti some day.

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