Author Topic: An Old GL Wagon 1800 Reminiscence  (Read 756 times)

Offline penguins014

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An Old GL Wagon 1800 Reminiscence
« on: February 06, 2016, 12:58:33 PM »
GL Wagon 1800 Reminiscence

Back in the college days (80s), my dad gave me his 1983 Subaru GL Wagon 1800 to drive.  My wife and I drove it way past 200K during our newly married years.  We loved that tough little car.  Let me tell you just a little story about it.

My dad was a land surveyor in some pretty tough country in western Nebraska.  Surveyors spend a lot of time roaming the rugged country looking for property corners, some that were set a hundred years ago.   Large ranches in the western part of the state run on for miles and miles.   Somebody has to divide all that up, and that is the job of the surveyor.  The only way that the first surveyors in the state could get to some of these points of interest, was to take a team of horses and a wagon. 

(Fast-forward from 1890 to 1980.  This horse and wagon has been replaced.  Enter, the Subaru GL Wagon 1800.) 

You might have heard of the Ogallala Aquifer, a large table of fresh water that sits beneath the Great Plains.   Well, the western part of Nebraska has beautifully formed sand-hills that stretch as far as the eye can see, and serve as an insulator and purifier to that rich water resource.   The hills can be unforgiving and treacherous.   Dad's GL wagon spent many of its 200K climbing those sand hills and foraging crater-sized cattle trails.   I used to help him survey on my summers home from school and as a kid growing up.  What?  Living off-road every day and you get paid for it?  I remember we would come upon a marshy area or blown out sand dune.   This was never a major issue for the GL.  Loaded down with 500+ lbs. of survey equipment on that bumpy terrain, the suspension was constantly tested to its limit.  With RPMs revving in the high 6 or 7K range, climbing sandy prairies was not a problem.  Once in a while you would come upon a curious heard of cattle that weren't quite sure what to make of this tough little object on wheels.   Even venturing up and down this rugged country, the handling of the old GL was excellent.  You never felt like the car was driving you; rather, you always felt in control even when the four tires were grabbing at the sand like a hungry beast in the Baja 500. 

That car is long gone now.  I really don't see too many of them around, but I do see some that are in pretty good condition.  I will always remember though, the years we put that thing through its tests.

My wife and I were at a picnic in Shawnee Mission Park in Shawnee, Kansas, back in 1995.   I was loading a few items into the back of that same old GL wagon, and a guy slowed down and stopped his car behind where we were parked.  He got out of a shiny, new 1995 white Subaru Imprezza, and he took a good look at my 1983 GL.  I could tell he wasn't just an average admirer.  We had the greatest time talking about it and sharing stories about this model.   Just before he left, he handed me a card.  He was one of the regional Subaru sales managers.   I admired his Imprezza as he drove off, but looked back at the GL and thought of all of those years it had lived in the sand-hills of western Nebraska. 

Thanks for reading,


« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 02:45:31 PM by penguins014 »
1983 GL Wagon 1800/Long gone.
2000 Outback Wagon/Current
2007 B9 Tribeca Limited/Current
2013 WRX STI Hatchback/Hopeful

Offline rallyfan555

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Re: An Old GL Wagon 1800 Reminiscence
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2016, 08:05:15 PM »
That was a good read.  Thanks for sharing your Subaru story!  That is what I love about being a Subaru owner.  Not only do we all share a common love for these automobiles, but we all have our own stories and adventures that have taken place behind the wheel of a Subaru.  Do you have any pictures of the car out in the sand dunes?  I imagine he probably surprised a few ranchers as well as cattle!
*2001 2.5rs sedan Black Diamond Pearl
*2001 Outback H6 LL Bean Edition
*1999 Legacy Outback Black Diamond Pearl- Sold
*2003 WRX sedan World Rally Blue-Sold
*1999 2.5rs coupe Rally Blue Pearl - Sold

Offline Aki

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Re: An Old GL Wagon 1800 Reminiscence
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2016, 06:59:06 PM »
My first car was a light brown '83 GL Wagon!  Served me well for many years as well :)

For how "lifted" it appeared or how much of a rake the stock suspension had, one did still feel very planted when driving that car.