I’d been paining over buying a car for a while. Working where I do means public transport wasn’t an option and it’s too far/dangerous to ride. Since dad had retired I’d basically just been using his X-Trail, since it was free the majority of the time. But when it came to purchasing my own car, I really had no idea how to approach it. I could have bought a $500 car, or a $20,000 car. There were pros and cons all over the place as well as conflicting advice. I spent some time at second hand car lots, half gauging the car, half gauging the sharks. I didn’t really much enjoy the experience.

Just by chance an old co-worker of mine happened to be upsizing to a larger family sized vehicle and needed to get rid of his old Subaru. This solved the two problems that I’d been grappling with while searching – needing to be able to trust the seller as well as trust the car. Fortunately the car was treasured and looked after well, since he knew more than a thing or two about auto mechanics. So even with over 280,000 on the odo, I felt safe. Plus the asking price of $1,800 and easy pickup was too good to refuse.

So, I ended up with a white 1994 Subaru Leoni 1.8L 4WD wagon. It has had stuff done to it, and needed stuff doing:

  • New rear King springs
  • New KYB struts
  • Replaced dead boot struts with new Monroe struts
  • Replaced busted factory speakers and radio with 2 X 6.5′ Polk DB651s and an Alpine CDE-121E head deck, payed too much for a plastic spacer but at least it looks decent..
  • Cut out old red carpet for mats, to match the mid 90’s blue of the interior trim. Awesome.

It came with a well used copy of the maintenance manual and with it I’ve decided to give changing the oil a go myself. To that end I’ve learned that the engine is an EA82 which takes an ROF97 (or Z493) oil filter. I bought some Nulon 10W-40 oil on recommendation from another mechanic who had owned two of these wagons previously.

I’d purchased a can of paint with the idea to do some touchups on some of the stone chips and roof rack damage but really I’m not going to be able to do too much in that regard. That said, I have applied some anti-rust to some of the larger chips and that seems to have helped.

The other outstanding item is the dash clock, which has been missing for some time and has been temporarily replaced with a magnetic stop watch.

I’ve actually spent time in this exact model before – my grandmother used to own one and while I haven’t taken mine offroad yet, I know it can deal with steep unpaved tracks and creeks. Which really is going to bring peace of mind to my daily commute to work. Overall it appears to have been a great buy…sometimes you just get lucky!