Re : Subaru SVX | Spotted

Re : Subaru SVX | Spotted

Wednesday 8th January

Subaru SVX | Spotted

Want a rare and quirky classic that doesn't cost megabucks? Enter the Sports Vehicle eXperimental...



Even more so than at its launch in the early 1990s, the Subaru SVX seems like a truly bonkers idea. Here was a luxury coupe, a vehicle aimed at those who golfed at a weekend and drove around at a glacial pace, from a manufacturer known best for durability and dependability. And rallying. Opulent and fancy, Subaru was not - and never will be. At this point Subaru didn't even have much of an enthusiast following, with the Impreza a very new car and only the Legacy having achieved notable rally success.

So it must have looked courageous to say the least 30 years ago (outrageous might be another word), like Mountain Warehouse branching out into haute couture or Lego making porcelain vases - it just didn't fit the brand. But what's important to remember is that, way back in the 1980s when the SVX idea was conceived, all the Japanese manufacturers were attempting to make a mark on the global car scene by outdoing each other in the tech stakes. Subaru was just attempting the same sort of thing. The SVX was launched in 1991; in the two years before then we'd seen cars like the Lexus LS400, Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 and Honda NSX to name three. All quite different cars, but all capable of taking on the world's best in their segment - and beating them, in many instances - thanks to an onslaught of cleverness.


In an attempt not to be outdone, the kitchen sink, plates and crockery were thrown at the SVX by Subaru. It had a unique engine, the 3.3-litre boxer-six built and used only in the big coupe. Boasting four overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and Subaru's IRIS variable intake system, it was a very advanced (and very expensive) way to make 230hp and the same again in torque. Like all the best Subarus, the SVX was four-wheel drive, though sadly all made it to production with a four-speed auto as well. And a Β£28,000 list price once those few cars made it to the UK, which was a heck of a lot of cash.

Despite styling penned by Giugiaro and decent handling thanks to the low centre-of-gravity, that high price - combined with the image of an expensive Subaru and an unremarkable interior - meant the SVX was never destined for success in the UK. It would forever remain a left-field curio until it was pulled from sale in the middle of the decade, with very few sold over here and substantial money lost on every single one. Which tends to happen when money is no object in development...


What about, then, as a rare-groove classic? Nearing in on its 27th birthday, this entirely standard SVX is for sale at Β£7,000. Which, in the grand scheme of classic cars, really isn't very much. Moreover, it's being sold by a PHer who's indirectly replaced it with a Citroen SM, because maybe maintaining a very specialised Subaru was too much like easy work... So it's being supplied with a good history file, nice paintwork, no rust and a carefully maintained transmission (the four-speed auto being a weak spot for SVXs). Oh yes, and the rarity value of being one of just 40 or so left in the country.

Sure, it won't be the fastest or most exciting car from the early 1990s to drive, but the allure of driving around in something that looks like the SVX, is powered by a boxer six and is rarer than all sort of exotica is considerable. Just keep plenty in the fuel fund. And the rust fund. And pray to the sweet heavens that none of the windows have to be replaced soon...


SPECIFICATION - SUBARU SVX
Engine:
3,318cc, six-cylinder boxer
Transmission: 4-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 230@5,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 228@4,400rpm
MPG: 25 or so
CO2: N/A
First registered: March 1993
Recorded mileage: 82,000
Price new: Β£27,999 (1992, or Β£57k now!)
Yours for: Β£6,995

See the original advert here.

Author
Discussion

monzaxjr

Original Poster:

312 posts

95 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
That is rather lovely.

mrtwisty

2,639 posts

114 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
There has been one of these in a village near me for many years, which seems to get some regular use. Looks the dogs danglies in silver and black. Always give it an admiring sidelong glance on my way past.

You have to admire the stones on someone who doesn't find looking after one of these enough of a challenge, so goes on to an SM. I mean come on, that is pure automotive masochism! Very very cool though....


Chestrockwell

2,159 posts

106 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
It looks like it was designed for the American market, or maybe it’s design was copied by the Americans, it looks like a 90’s Camaro/Buick type thing, can’t pin point the exact car as I don’t know much about American cars

BigChiefmuffinAgain

220 posts

47 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
Always loved these. As mentioned in passing, seem to remember the gearbox is very problematic.

But such a cool car to own.

Turbobanana

1,631 posts

150 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
PH said:
Here was a luxury coupe, a vehicle aimed at those who golfed at a weekend and drove around at a glacial pace...
What?

V8fan

2,592 posts

217 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
I was tempted by one of these at an auction. It went for £2k in August 2017:

https://www.brightwells.com/lot-details/100008457

£7k is ambitious, although it's a nicer colour. smile


asci.white

4 posts

22 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
I got taken for a drive round silverstone by a member of the BRDC board of directors back in the 90s in one of these. Happened to be dating his niece at the time smile

He let me drive for a few laps and it drove really well, all be it a tad slow and dived alarmingly in the corners. The strange front windows were odd though...

Edited by asci.white on Wednesday 8th January 08:59

J4CKO

28,975 posts

149 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
Thats ace,

An uncle of mine worked for International Motors who were the importer for Subaru and some other brands back then, quite a high flyer and he used to turn up in all sorts, arrived at our house in one of these one day to visit and he may have well have turned up in a spacecraft. Took me and my brother for a for a quick spin round the block, seemed so posh and modern.

He came round in one of the first UK Impreza Turbos a couple of years later, that seemed so fast at the time.


Nickp82

2,109 posts

42 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
I can see the appeal with this, especially in that colour and condition.

ate one too

1,743 posts

95 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
I borrowed the demo SVX from the Subaru dealership in Derby sometime in 1996 for a couple of days.

I had an Impreza Turbo at the time, I thought it was a good, relaxing car to drive, completely different in character to the Impreza of course.

There's a slightly unloved one living half a mile from me - still looks good tho'. If the "Spotted" one is as good as it appears then it's worth £7K.

Was it Autocar that described it as " Captain Scarlet's XJ6" ?

smithyithy

4,576 posts

67 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
Lovely, very cool / rare car

BIRMA

2,685 posts

143 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
Here's an old photo of mine at an SVX owners gathering at Cosford. Great cars you could do a 400 mile trip in it and come out the other end as fresh as a daisy. Quite entertaining on twisty A roads too, but where it really came into it's own was way back in January 2010 down here in the South we had that freezing rain/snow that came down rendering the roads deadly, all traffic stopped and you couldn't move. It must have looked strange when this weird looking coupe just sailed past everything that was stranded. I could not believe how this car just carried on regardless when everything else had stopped, it was also entertaining hear the power being shifted from one wheel to the other. Just recently a brand new unused example came up for sale in Japan I was sorely tempted.


Mine is the silver one, we proudly hailed this as one of the biggest SVX owners gathering in Europe all 4 of us, but I was informed there was once a slightly bigger one.

kett

52 posts

144 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
I’ve always had a soft spot for the SVX.
However, I think if we had a game of ‘best used car buy for £7k’, this wouldn’t feature on my list. It looks like Shed+ territory to me.

ate one too

1,743 posts

95 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
kett said:
I’ve always had a soft spot for the SVX.
However, I think if we had a game of ‘best used car buy for £7k’, this wouldn’t feature on my list. It looks like Shed+ territory to me.
If this is the engine bay of a Shed .... you need to lower your standards smile



Macron

4,173 posts

115 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
Hmm, a challenge to shift at more than the 1-5k Smoker Barge thread limit where they turn up from time to time.

At which point learned types point out the number of parts made from unobtainium and you can hear the plumber-giving-you-a-quote noise.

sinbaddio

1,494 posts

125 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
I really wanted my Dad to buy one of these in the early 90's.

Instead he bought an E36 325i fully loaded. In hindsight probably a sensible choice!

rigga

6,273 posts

150 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
Remember a couple of scooby tuners fitting this engine into their impreza's, adding twin turbos and over 1000hp, Andy Forrest ran one very quickly

belleair302

6,201 posts

156 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
Is trim not impossible to find today if something breaks or snaps? A true left field car even by Japanese and Subaru standards.

pengers

25 posts

83 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
I briefly owned a green one of these, it was lovely except for 2 things..1st it was green and 2nd, take a look at the window design - it was the forerunner of the true frameless window idea but how it worked was that only the small lower section actually operated, the upper portion is fixed. So paying tolls or enjoying a breeze is impossible and I just couldn't stand it.

rastapasta

568 posts

87 months

Wednesday 8th January
quotequote all
belleair302 said:
Is trim not impossible to find today if something breaks or snaps? A true left field car even by Japanese and Subaru standards.
Eh you can get parts in switzerland as it has the biggest market for subaru in europe. There are two of those svx's in the town i live in in central switzerland and one of them was bought new in 1992 i am reliably informed by my mechanic who services it. they stand up well to the mileage and the years. Great cars from a great marque.