Thirty and forty years: experience of owning a Subaru Leone

The car, which can be inherited. The car of the discharge “of not doing more.” A thick iron heaviest components and assemblies with a margin of safety for the ages, a minimum of electronics – car dream for car enthusiasts, bruised bodies of foil under the thin layer of paint, an abundance of unnecessary “chips” and reliability, ending on the day of completion of the warranty period … So, get acquainted – Drive through three decades and still sprightly Subaru Leone, real tank, and the dream of a materialist!


Subaru Leone III generation, in the wagon body, 1986 release. Exact mileage is unknown, presumably for half a million. Four-wheel drive, reduction gear, a five-speed manual gearbox, four-cylinder boxer engine carburetor EA82 -1,8 liters, 85 liters. from. to 5200 vol. / min, 137 Nm to 3200 vol. / min.

The owner «lion» ( «Leone» – lion in Italian) – Andrej Nikolenko, 40 years old, from Kostroma. Machine has 12 years. Mechanical Engineer, Head of the motor section of a large enterprise engaged in the operation, maintenance of vehicles, the organization of transport. “Thirty and forty years” – so he jokes about himself and his Subaru.



The car, like any other visitor from the 80’s, sharp and angular shape. Chisel profile dominates, giving the contours of a harmonious swiftness.

Doors – frameless traditionally for Subaru, but nothing creaks and does not flow even after so many years.

Headlamps is stuck on thick polyethylene film – the car arrived at the Sub-Fest in Moscow from Kostroma, and in order not to split the gravel road in a long rare and hard glass, the owner closed their temporary protection.

By stamped discs host picked up the plastic orange caps that are perfectly combined with the native inscriptions on the door moldings the same color, and 4WD orange inscription on the handle of a full drive in the cabin. These delicate refinements insulting word “farm”, perhaps, is not glued.

Individual elements of shape – mirrors, handles, exterior plastic trim transitions body profiles – modest and unobtrusive, always visible utility and manufacturability. Boring and strict design except that the partly dilute grille with frivolous chess alternating ribs. Buyers with extravagant tastes was comforted by the fact that their wallets are not shifted fees expensive design studio …


Velour upholstery, colors with several shades of brown, and a minimum of black, soft plastic dash, texture reminiscent of our 41st Muscovites and the early front-VAZ (by the way, “devyatoshnoy” terminology in the car – “low bar”) … But in spite of everything here damn comfortable.

By the standards of the 80 car is very good, “stuffed”: there are a sunroof, power windows four windows, electric mirrors and the steering wheel with height adjustment and quick lifting handle to facilitate the release and landing. Horizontal “bagel” is not becoming, but under the influence of the spring rises up as much as possible, letting the driver. Sitting can be a movement to return the wheel to its original position.

Air conditioning in the car is not what the owner, in fact, only too happy – he does not like these “generators cold” … But there is a recirculation function, and it is controlled by a button, including the drive inside the dashboard. Another button enables rear wiper – two positions speed and washer.

From the “SKD” comfort elements in our present power steering Leone, avtopodsos carburetor based on a bimetallic spiral automatically as air filter switch “summer / winter” and Protivootkatnaja help system on the rise.

The latter, perhaps, deserves a separate explanation. It is integrated in the brake master cylinder, which is equipped with a locking valve and ball tow. The sensor is designed to activate the system only on a slope with the scoring of the nose and the valve rope is connected to the clutch pedal. When the car climbs up the hill, after soaking the two brake pedals are locked. And while squeezing and releasing the clutch pedal (the signal to continue the upward movement) – pads are automatically unlocked.

Between the handle and gearshift handbrake is S-shaped “poker” – the drive control handle. The label tells a number in which modes capable of operating transmission:
1 – Front-wheel drive for economical everyday driving.
2 – wheel drive with up-close for a ride in a moderately complex everyday conditions.
3 – All-wheel drive with a reduction and a number of simultaneous differential lock of the front axle off-road.

The third provision allows Leone to be very “lazuchey” machine – on YouTube, you can find a lot of videos with the participation of the elderly car. Especially surprising success on the roads adjusted for road racing tires 13-inch diameter – shudder to think what would be able to get up this machine, if the wear on the chain wheel!

Near the parking brake handle in the cabin has a plastic flap – through him, as well as on many machines, it is carried out tightening ropes parking brake. Andrew opens the hatch to demonstrate – but what it could surprise? However, there is nothing – cables from the ratchet handle not go back, and … go! One wire goes to the right front caliper, the second – on the left: the handbrake brakes the front axle.

At the checkup once policeman said on drums – pull the handbrake! And I told him – he front! It was a shock – laughing master.

By the way, it should be noted that the decision is not so exclusive, although not the most common in the auto world: handbrake brakes the front axle on the classic Saab 900, Citroen Xantia, Citroen C5, etc. Although, if Citroen with their complex hydraulic assembly hand.. brakes on the front axle is justified technically, for greater reliability in the event of leaks or stalled motor, then Leone reasons for this phenomenon are not well understood. The representation Subaru hypothesized that it is due to the existence in the United States in those years the regulatory requirements mandating automakers to equip the parking brake, drive axle, and Leone, despite the all-wheel drive, had to follow the laws of almost the main in terms of exports.

Repair and maintenance

During his tenure on the machine was to shake suspension – ball joints, bushings, thrust jet – all this was done proactively, in order to avoid surprises in the future. Of a sudden – payalas leak in the radiator, since he is copper, and had to change the generator – thrown out of the armature winding of the centrifugal force.

A year Leone ran on 40-ampere “Moskvitch gene”, which obviously could not cope, until he found a native beushnyiy 65 amperes. But in general, I must say, large and expensive repairs reliable “Japanese” host is not worried.

That’s only because of the gravity of the machine is already twice changed the set of tires, despite the fact that runs generally small and quiet style of driving, – complains Andrew. – Wheels of diameter 13 – standard and staff for Leone, oddly enough, but those tires that are sold now, apparently, “not the same as before.”

30 thousand kilometers – and rubber emission, bald! At first thought, that something is wrong – to drive to the computer stand, check the camber / toe – everything is perfect, look at the blurred wheel – completely erased smoothly!

Weight machines can be clearly seen when pumped wheels – blown 2 atmosphere, and still feel that it is sagging … And in the “Zhiguli” with the same 13-E 1.7 wheels give the atmosphere – the wheels seem to have siphoned as VAZ-classic 13 -x has wheels total weight 1435 kg and Leone – 1675 kg.

Leone We all “like in Texas” – heaviest wheels, and a half times heavier than the same diameter “zhigulyachih” (and even a rare razboltovkoy 4h139,7), rear gearbox – very heavy, you can rip back. In general, almost tank.

But at the same time in the car, there are examples of “small forms”. For example, all of the engine cooling system – 5.5 liters of anti-freeze! Of these, together with the lower radiator pipe includes only 0.7 liters! This is very little, I must say, by the standards of most machines, but speaks well thought-out temperature “lion” motor mode.

PPC then combined with razdatkoy, and butter in a box filled to the entire life of the machine, – says Andrey. – I have not changed ever, the previous owner, as far as I know – too. Once decided to see the level – it is normal, clear oil, clean, without any traces of metal dust; probably more native, Japanese. Raster drop between his fingers, then hands like laundered, but a week those fingers could work on a piece of paper to retain – slips, and that’s it! I’m such an effect had never encountered!

The engine, by the way, too, from the replacement to the replacement of oil does not eat, but the full run Andrei difficult to name precisely. Now on the odometer of the car 396,000 kilometers, of which the current owner naezdil about 70-80 thousand. From the words of Andrew sold the same car when Leone-fit in Russia from Europe, 150 km thousands twisted with her …

Mini Test Drive

With the direct acquaintance driving a car first thing demonstrated amazing vertkost – eversion very large wheels, literally unfolding on the ground, which is very convenient in the city! Suspension is fully independent front and rear – each wheel on the lever and a rack, the moment they passed through the CV joints, so the feeling – as if you swim on a boat, there are no impacts in the wheel and suspension on potholes and tramways. And this, let us recall, on pumped (by the standards of machines with 13-inch wheels) Tyre! After about inflation especially on the story wheel holder Leone, I was expecting a tough enough return on the road terrain, but the suspension is swallowed by the stiffness, without bringing it to the riders.

EA82, a middle-aged 1.8-liter vosmiklapannik timing belt and hydrojacks perfectly drawn – no wonder EA line of motors is considered “one million people” and thanks to the reliability is often put on the moto hang-gliders and small planes. In our sample contains the TCP output 90 horsepower, whereas, according to official information, the manufacturer, the engine and the carburettor in bezturbinnom variant produces 85 horsepower.

The engine is very flexible machine with three passengers in the cabin quiet rides in fifth gear at a speed of 60 km / h, the engine does not beep on the desirability of switching to the fourth. At higher speeds, there is a feeling that the car is, literally, “to form relief”, as an icebreaker … Heavy Leone is very stable, at a cruising speed of 120-130 km / h at the wheel just relax sitting in the grip of velvet armchairs.

purchase history

In 2003, my child went to kindergarten, and it was necessary to carry it regularly, – says Andrey story of 13-year-old. – It happened at that time that we had a quick buy old classic VAZ “six” and “podshamanit” him. I otbuksoval it winter and want all-wheel drive wagon. In April 2004, he saw an advertisement for the sale, and a few days later met in a neighboring yard, and the machine itself. Of course, Subaru’s new to me was – I liked the Volvo and BMW, and it was pretty worn with an open spot putty on the back wing … But in the end, all the 2 000 dollars, I bought it.

At first, Andrew thought that this machine will be a temporary option, the departure of ten thousand, not even changing the oil, but after a while, “tasted” the car and kill him as a “makeshift” felt sorry for – wanted to bring to mind.

With these plans, our hero met with the owner of the “Japanese” Autodismantling at which there was also a small service. The owner, people are friendly and helpful and promised to help with spare parts at the old woman, but not a joke, is not seriously said – “you see me on this machine does not even come – to see it I can not! Leone in good condition for a long time there, some dead bodies … “But when he saw cars in person, his opinion changed dramatically.

Peretryahnul suspension, brakes, touched CV joints, the engine washed, – continues Andrew. – But most importantly, as a result, even money is not taken from me – so that car started to respect me! Well, after the technical part I had to take up cosmetic. ANTIKOR on it had never been done, and the body went natural for his age, small pockets of rust in the rapids there were small holes.

Opened the door, pulled down interior, began were welded thresholds – welders mother, and plus-minus was changed, and the wire was changed – still not cooked and spits, not adhere metal … It turned out that the thresholds are made of multi-layer galvanizing – in holes holes-and not it was, as it turned out! Having examined the interior, between the seat cross saw the mighty power of a millimeter thick metal four, with huge rivets on the ship – in general, the body is very strong, jack lift, and it is not skewed. Since then, all digested, no rust spots. And so for 12 years.

model history

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Subaru Leone, which translates from Italian as “lion”, produced Fuji Heavy Industries for 23 years from 1971 to 1994, and has experienced during this time three generations. It is believed that Leone did the concept of all-wheel drive car on the norm in the automotive world, and that all-wheel drive in combination with motors with a very long service life ( “one million people”) has led to the popularity of the model.

The car was offered to customers in the classic sedan, hatchback, coupe and wagon, although there was also a version with a funny name Brat, is a sports and entertainment pikapchik. At the same time all the generations Leone bore branded and recognizable “subarovskie” solutions – boxer engine, front doors with frameless windows, and all the “lions” was placed under the hood spare wheel, and walked to the front axle parking brake.

Large model underwent restyling in 1979 and 1984. Actually, the hero of the story belongs to the third generation, has become the latest to Leone. The second generation in 1979 is marked by the appearance of a four (instead of the three-stage) of the automatic transmission and an electric turning wheel drive. A third generation in 1984, of the fundamental differences zaimela new first more modern EA82 1.8-liter engine with two camshafts, which was available in a version with a carburetor, single injection, multiple injection, as well as with a turbine.

The car sold well in Japan, USA, Europe and Australia. On different markets Leone also lit under the names Subaru Loyale, Subaru Omega, Subaru L-series, Isuzu Geminett. The model left the assembly line in 1994, giving way to the Legacy, which appeared in the 89-th, and the Impreza, manufactured from 92-th.

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