At $7,499, Is This 1979 Subaru 1600 A Small AWD Wagon With A Price To Match?

At $7,499, Is This 1979 Subaru 1600 A Small AWD Wagon With A Price To Match?

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Subaru offers the opportunity to play hide-and-seek with its spare tire as it is cheekily carried under the hood. Let’s see if its price tag makes the whole car an equally surprising find.

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Any used car ad that suggests the price demanded will rise as work is completed — as was the case with the ad for yesterday’s 1974 Chevy Camaro — is typically quickly dismissed by potential buyers. After all, the asking price is supposed to be the starting point from which negotiations inevitably go down. In the case of the Camaro, that starting point was $16,650, and with the car needing obvious attention in more than just one place, that was deemed too high by the vast majority of you. In the end, the Camaro was crushed under the weight of an 88 percent No Dice loss.

It was the double whammy of tightening emissions controls and a pair of fuel crises in the 1970s that caused cars like the Camaro to fall from favor. The gas shortages were perpetuated by interruptions in crude oil supplies due to political upheavals and outright wars in the Middle East. That set sales of big, thirsty V8s into a tailspin, opening the door to smaller, more fuel-efficient automotive options.

One such example of the smaller, more fuel-efficient cars that came from this era of spiraling prices and limited fuel availability was Subaru’s line of sub-compact AWD cars and sort-of trucks. These offered secure part-time AWD capability but in a smaller package than a traditional 4X4 truck and with typically three times better fuel efficiency.

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This 1979 Subaru 1600 Wagon is just such a car, representing Subaru’s first foray into that four-wheel drive market. Sold as the Leone in Japan and some export markets, Subaru wisely chose to simply brand the cars as Subarus here in the States, thus reinforcing its then lesser-known brand. A series of badges, such as DL and GL, denoted the trim levels.

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This one lacks any sort of such model descriptor, and while it does seem to be a fairly lowly-spec’d edition, it does have the company’s iconic AWD and appears to have both A/C and an AM radio. It also has its spare tire under the hood, sharing space with the 1.6-liter EA71 flat-four engine. In U.S. spec, that engine made a factory-rated 67 horsepower and 81 lb-ft of torque. Those ponies are routed through a four-speed transaxle and can be set to power either the front axles alone or all four via a second shift lever on the tunnel.

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Unfortunately, the dealer offering the wagon gives us absolutely no information about it whatsoever, save for the mileage ( 98,745 miles) and a series of pictures showing a clean, if age-worn presentation. No plates are shown in the pictures, but, being dealer offered, we can probably assume the title to be clean.

Looking at the pictures doesn’t set off any alarm bells. The car’s paint is OK. It suffers some surface rust here and there, but nothing too terrible. The jaunty side stripes add a bit of flair, as do the comically small wheels, which were standard on the Subaru at the time but today look more appropriate for a small garden trailer. The fender-top side views are a nice touch but will require a friend to adjust properly, so this is probably a car that loners and hermits might want to avoid.

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Image for article titled At $7,499, Is This 1979 Subaru 1600 A Small AWD Wagon With A Price To Match?

The brown vinyl interior looks solid but well-worn, exhibiting cracks in both the dash and the thin plastic rim of the steering wheel. A “Jesus Loves Skate” sticker on the glovebox door offers some perplexing messaging, and it appears that the driver and front seat passenger need to share window cranks since the one on the driver’s door is missing. The back seat area and load floor appear unremarkable, which is a good thing since there’s not much going on there to begin with. The hatch seems to stay open on its single, big strut, which is also a plus.

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What are we to make of this old Subaru? It’s too old and far too nice to throw into daily driver duty, and it’s not your traditional collector car either. At $7,499, we’ll now need to decide what’s to come of this AWD wagon. Or if it’s even worth trying to do so.

Where do you come in on this old-school Subaru and that $7,499 price? Does that seem fair, given the car’s presentation? Or is that too much to ask with so little description?

You decide!

Facebook Marketplace out of Moses Lake, Washington, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Bill Lyons for the hookup!

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