View Full Version : My new project: 1986 Subaru Vortex XT

3rd February 2018, 09:55 AM
As a teen, I always wanted to own a spacey-looking Subaru Vortex. It was on the cover of my Wheels magazine.

Now (thanks to Gumtree) I've bought one for just a few hundred dollars, in need of a bit of mechanical work. [biggrin]

This '86 front-wheel-drive manual model has been owned by an older Bribie Island couple for the last 9 years or so, and another Bribie owner before them (who seems to have put a St Christopher medal on the dash). It has high ks - just over 300,000km - but over 32 years I suppose that's not so bad.

It's now quite rare: the most recent owner had it serviced at the local Subaru dealer a couple of years ago, and they'd never seen one in the flesh. The only disappointment is that it doesn't have the digital dash..

Last December, the couple backed it out of the garage, and water poured out from under the bonnet - so they put it back in the garage, and didn't get it fixed (they had another car, and only the wife can now drive). They rang up a mechanic and described the problem, and were told it was likely to be the water pump gasket. I've filled up the cooling system and started it, and the water does indeed flow out from near the top of the (flat four) engine. I'm getting my mechanic to check it out this coming week, as I'm not familiar with this type of engine. (But after a bit of Googling, I'm pretty sure that because it's horizontally-opposed, it's a non-interference engine, so if the timing belt happens to go, it should be fine)

I've just removed the lambswool seat covers to reveal another set of covers underneath, then a very good condition passenger seat, but a worn driver's seat. I'll see if I can get it re-done in a sympathetic 80s velour.

Hopefully I can grip the joystick-style gear lever and give the Subie engine a workout soon! [bigsmile]


3rd February 2018, 08:17 PM
Coolness, I always wanted an SVX, had a few L series lifted, and now my son is obsessed with a lifted Brumby... good luck, plenty of support on the net.

7th February 2018, 03:01 PM
I love it. It is a shame it doesn't have the digital dash, then it would be a real 80s zeitgeist. It could've rolled straight off the set of Total Recall or Blade Runner. One day I'd like to get a A60 Supra for that same feeling.

Hopefully the coolant problem works out to be something simple, sounds like it is.