Probably replacing totaled Prius and old Subaru with...

Discussion in 'Other Cars' started by Lightning Racer, May 2, 2019.

  1. Lightning Racer

    Lightning Racer Active Member

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    ...another old Subaru like the one I already have, a 1996 (Gen 2) Legacy wagon with a 5 speed manual.

    After window shopping on the internet for cars since February when my Prius was totaled, I've looked then stopped looking for 2015+ Prius (too expensive for what it is, over it), 2015+ Honda Fits (too small/econoboxy), 2005-2007 Subaru Legacy wagons (XT turbos risk needing a very expensive new engine, normally aspirated have head gasket problems, smaller trunk than Gen 2), even looked at Rav4s briefly. My craigslist search terms are now just Subaru, manual transmission, clean title and less than $10K, though I'm looking more at $3K or lower range, and focused on the Gen 2s 1995-1999. Definitely Legacies, not Outbacks due to the cleaner bodywork and non-raised suspension.

    The late '90s seem to be a high point for cars, going into maybe the early 2000s. That's an era of being modern enough, but without being over computerized and gadgetized. Quality was higher then than now for many makes (Toyota, Honda, Subaru, even Euro makes) because of that simplicity, as well as higher emphasis on quality, and less usage of plastic in the engine compartment. I've seen that theme a lot in auto media recently, both from mechanics (Scotty Kilmer...) and enthusiasts (Demuro, Hoover, Farah).

    Driving my Subaru around, I don't wish for an infotainment system at all. Forget Android Auto/Apple Carplay no infotainment is really just better. Just drive. OK, maybe a simple Bluetooth adapter to work with the OE cassette player head unit for those long drives. I don't want self driving features except cruise control.

    The Gen 2 Subaru Legacy wagons with the EJ22E don't have head gasket issues, and I don't need anything faster (having owned a Prius...). Mine has 213K miles, and been neglected as my second car for the 3 years that I had the Prius (and neglected before that too). But I picked up a Haynes manual from the library and been doing some deferred maintenance (old spark plugs were probably at 3 mm gap LOL, never changed since I got the car in 2000), and it's running great. The interior fabric seat materials on my 1996 base model Brighten has held up better than the leather on my 2010 Prius. The thicker seat materials in the L model Gen 2 Legacies look like new in some of the craigslist ads.

    I'm only looking to replace mine now because mine is fairly beat up... there's rust in the rear quarters, including a hole, the dash was chewed by my GF's dog, as well as the tops of the door cards, there's dents in the tailgate, and right front fender. Also, it's the base model, without power windows, tach, cruise control, etc. I could get the body work fixed properly (subiesaver sheet metal panels) and painted, but it'd probably be cheaper to buy a $2K-3K Calfornia car as a baseline to make the car that I want.

    This looks just like mine (same color), but two years newer. I don't mind that it's priced $1K over book value, because it might still be in the lot when I visit CA later in the summer, then I can negotiate down.

    1998 Subaru Legacy L Wagon -- 5 Speed -- SUPER Practical & Durable! - cars & trucks - by dealer - vehicle automotive sale

    This is kind of what I'd want the car to look like eventually, though not quite as fancy. Nice wheels, suspension upgrades, headlights retrofitted with projectors, no engine mods, just a 20-25 year old car that looks like a new car:

    https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/original-owner-1995-legacy-l-wagon-254045.html
     
  2. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Gotta be careful with projector retrofits on those. The only ones I've seen are JDM, which means they are reversed left-to-right. You generally have to compensate by adjusting the left side one extra low, and it leaves you with a somewhat weird beam and some extra glare potential. You can get some appliques for the front lenses to trim the glare.

    It'll probably still be an upgrade though.

    Good luck with the search- those EJ22 Subarus generally last until the subframe attachment points rust out; could have a ways to go yet.
     
  3. Lightning Racer

    Lightning Racer Active Member

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    Yes, I know that the JDM headlights would have a reversed pattern. This is what I was thinking of doing, skipping the JDMs and doing a retrofit with aftermarket projectors on the 2-piece OEM USDM headlights (I have the older one-piece on my '96, the '98 in the craigslist ad has the 2-piece). These have an excellent cutoff pattern:

    https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/diy-morimoto-mini-h1-bi-xenon-projector-retrofit-211026.html?p=4506990#post4506990
    RlvBwIn.jpg

    My current Subaru actually is rust free underneath, just the quarter panels, so a CA car could be entirely rust free.

    Here is another Gen 2 Legacy that is actually from my town. The kid turned it into a full award-winning show car, doing the work himself. I wouldn't go nearly as far as he did, some of it is not to my taste, but it's an inspiration anyway:

    Granny's 1997 Legacy L Wagon - NASIOC

    Decent shape before:
    IMG_2998.jpg
    He did the painting himself. I wouldn't have painted the tailgate lights, but that's my opinion:

    IMG_6159_zpsc9d329aa.jpg
    Intermediate phase. I could do without the gigantic hood scoop:
    IMG_6464_zps67a30852.jpg

    After:
    IMG_6961_zps64936ade.jpg
    image_zpsacde912d.jpg
    10686623_791187780937310_4148249497042162875_n_zpsa1ae3f26.jpg
     
    RMB likes this.
  4. Lightning Racer

    Lightning Racer Active Member

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    This guy's Legacy is basically what I want to end up with, not too fancy. Same spruce pearl as my current car, a good color.

    https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/98-leggy-build-268918.html

    The 16" bugeye WRX wheels look good on this without being extreme. Rear wing, color matched mirrors, slightly lowered on WRX springs, JDM side markers, JDM grill, fog lights.
    82854e4e6892dbc1115422d686bb3176.jpg

    JDM rear lights
    d36a343cfc5106c407157e5d9c589dcd.jpg
    I like this size comparison with an early 2000s Outback. The '98 looks much trimmer and sportier, but actually has a much larger cargo area. ac36c7303beafa9789dfe3a558f6ef30.jpg


    Another build thread, a guy turns his (ugly) two-tone, $1400 Outback into this Legacy. What remains of the Outback is only the stepped (taller) roof. That's more than I want to spend with all the paintwork, but nice result. No engine mods on either of these cars.

    https://legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/my-1998-grand-wagon-build-275892.html

    untitled.png

    LOL at the $6500 asking price in this Autotrader ad of this nice example that is just about identical to mine, except in much better condition. I think book price is around $2000.

    Autotrader
     
    #4 Lightning Racer, May 5, 2019
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
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