Subaru Leone (1971 – 1981) Review

Subaru Leone (1971 – 1981) At A Glance


+Interesting styling, flat-four engines and frameless side windows, cheap way to get four-wheel drive ability

-Most are beyond economic repair these days

Unusually, the Subaru Leone, or L-Series in the UK, was launched in coupe form first. Although we didn't get these cars in the UK until 1977, the Leone had been around since 1971, although we didn't get the coupe at all - receiving primarily the estate and four-door saloon, launched in September and April 1972 respectively. The Leone was a fascinating technical package - it was powered by a flat-four engine, and was front wheel drive - unusual in this market sector in the early 1970s.

The four-wheel drive Subaru Leone joined the range in with the saloon in 1972, and was a ground-breaking vehicle, as 4WD transmissions were almost exclusively reserved for off-roaders at the time. When they came to the UK, imported by International Motors, the L-Series was marketed at the farming community. And it soon picked up a ready market, thanks to go-anywhere ability and a relatively low purchase price. Rust was a killer, but there are still a number around - notably the pick-up Brat version - but most are now off-road (how fitting) performing farming duties.