Tuesday, February 5, 2008

READERS CHOICE TOPIC 3b: The Subaru Story


Subaru Station Wagons are a part of me. The first car I can remember ever riding in was my parents Perrywinkle Blue 1983 GL. (Like the one above but cooler) Back then it was the eighties and cars were square. This wagon wasn't as big as they are now. The back was slightly raised so the whole thing had a forward tilt to it. It was shiny baby blueish and basic. Thats the best thing about Subarus, they're basic and sturdy. No Frills. No gimmicks. Just Reliability. I can't remember how many miles that car ended up acquiring but is was over 200,000. I can't remember when we gave it away either but I'm pretty sure we traded it in for our next Subaru.

The next family Subi was a 1992 Legacy L. It was the next incarnation of the Subaru Station wagon. This one was dark metallic blue with silver pin stripes and a stick. Unlike the previous GL the Legacy (the next step above the Loyal) had automatic All Wheel Drive (AWD). The famous line is that it "Transfers power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip." Its true. That car could go anywhere. It took our family everywhere, camping, fishing, skiing and to the ocean. The back hatch was just perfect for a cooler, supplies and all the adventure equipment you'd ever need. It also could fit a butt load of groceries in the back as well. After years of dedicated service as a commuter car for my parents, I finally inherited it in high school. It was then that my respect and love for Subarus grew into a lifetime bond. Shortly after acquiring the spacious wagon it became apparent that I would be called on time and time again to traffic friends around, to and from school functions, trips, camping outings, and road trips. Although it had already massed 200,000 plus miles it was safe, reliable and spacious. It quickly gained the reputation as the "Sube Dogg." It would always be referred to as such from thence forth and to eternity. The Sube Dogg was also a girl so would say things like "Load her up."

The Sube Dogg was an incredible magical automotive vehicle. It rarely broke down. I had so much faith in it that my best friend Sean Alexander, another friend Michael Duggan and I took our senior summer road trip in it. With 226,000 miles on her, we drove through the heart of the desert to Moab, Utah from Washington. After hiking the Arches Park we drove strait across the desert to Las Vegas (we stayed 4 hours we were only 18) and went straight on through to Huntington Beach California. Then returned home. It was a 2,235 mile trip and she didn't drip a drop of oil or overheat once. That car was legendary. Many best friends, girl friends, team mates, friends, and others have sat shotgun in the SubeDogg on one of her illustrious adventures. The only real accident I ever got in was with her too. My parents blame a number of things such as loud music, not paying attention, cell phone use, or eating and driving for the crash, (on a black ice morning going up to skiing on a corner where 3 people died that day) but I think she saved my life. She took a punched in front fender and a scratched tail ($2000 to fix ouch). But she continued on. She finally died in 2006 in a parking lot. Her engine still intact, but her transmission died ($1400 dollar repair, worth more than the car). So we donated her. I shed a tear and said good bye. RIP Sube Dogg, you are missed.

After an entire lifetime of Subaru enjoyment and ownership, there was no decision to make as to which car I would buy next. With my power company job and good credit I was in a position to buy my first car. Since the Subaru Outback came out in 1996 I was looking for a Dark Blue one, a 1997 (first year with the bad ace hood scoop). I eventually found one at Carter Subaru in Aurora North of Seattle. I got eventually for $8000. It was my first loan, my first real car and it was exactly what I wanted. It picked up exactly where the old SubeDogg left off. But with the beefed up engine, higher ground clearance and tougher exterior it was apparent right away that it was a boy car. After contemplating names for a while my friend Randall and I decided we would call it Sargent Subaru or "The Sarge" for short. Right now the Sarge is sitting waiting for me to come home and take it out on adventures this summer, and if I bump up the payments, could be mine out right by the summers end.

When I'm driving my Subaru I feel most at home. The stereo isn't awesome but it works. I wish I could take everyone on a Subaru adventure with me, driving down the road, summer time, windows down, no AC its too nice, Flowmotion funking along in the back ground, big smiles, lots of laughs, on our way to a festival or a camping trip or up to a hike in the mountains, thats what I'm talking about baby! The Sarge and The Sube Dogg are magical cars. People just feel good when they ride in it. I like to drive when I go places with friends because I know if I'm driving my car we will get their safe and sound and in a good mood. Subarus are the best car in the snow. They are balanced well, they have even distribution of power from the Porsche Boxter styled engine, they are well made and now that the company has merged with SAAB they have even become pretty stylish. Unfortunately they haven't come out with a hybrid yet. As soon as they do, I'm buying one.

Subarus love adventure. They get hurt if you don't take them on one or two a year. They are even popular in parts. Many Subaru engines are being converted to Volkswagen Bus engines because they are so reliable. My dad taught me a lot about how to take care of Subaru engines. I learned mostly though, through experience, that if you keep the oil changed, the engine washed and cleaned, and the spark plugs and filters up to date, a Subaru will go forever.

If you have any Subaru stories that you shared with me please let other people know about them (keep it clean you!!) If you have a Subaru tell people about some great memories you've had in them. If you want to come rock it in the Sarge this summer just let me know, I'm gonna be making up for all that sitting he's doing right now, but he needs a check up and an oil change.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I have Subaru stories! The first Subaru you remember was the one that took me to the hospital through over a foot of snow, unplowed, on a Sunday in December, 1982, the 12th to be exact. I am convinced that is actually where your love and dedication to the Subaru began. It is an undeniable connection. Remember how we used to pack that car full, including the dog, and head on over to Grandma and Grandpa's to drop you off for a week then Dad and I would head off for our own adventure while you stayed and had the time of your life? Those were good times. The Subaru always brings out the best. Thanks for reminding me!

positivelystephie said...

i can not wait to have another time in the sarg this summer.. of to yet another music festival (the place where our adventures began! and actually where they ended since at a festival was the last time i saw you!)
Summer is almost here! i can't wait to see you!!

Anonymous said...

yess! you wrote about subaru's! as you know, my family drives subaru's as well. My subaru and I have a major connection, I know her (mines a girl...but her name is Baron Von Awesome, buts she's got a lot of nicknames) and she knows me. My best memories would have to be my first road trip with her and Hal down to Mammoth for spring break 2 years ago. Most of the way to Reno was driven on snowy roads through eastern oregon (we took this crazy route that was more direct but definitely not faster then the freeways. we slept in the back behind a safeway in some weird town in on the boarder of OR and CA. Also, driving up HWY 1 from SLO to San Fran was amazing, I love how well she handles curves. My last road trip I took by myself down to Arcata to visit some study abroad friends. by the 8th hour I was getting tired of talking to myself so the 3 hitchhikers jumping out of the redwoods in southern oregon looked pretty appealing. I picked them up and they came all the way to arcata with me, nice folk, students from portland...I can't wait to take my subaru on some adventures this summer, maybe we can car train ours together down to High Sierra or something.
-les

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