For $5,000, Could This 1983 Subaru 1800GL Convertible Have You Flexing Your Wallet?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Subaru is just like Anne Boylen, an old girl who’s had her head chopped off. Lucky for us, this aftermarket beheading hasn’t meant the Subie’s demise. We’ll have to see if its price kills it for you, however.

Overcoming fear of the unknown is a laudable achievement for the biddable, however it’s conquering the dread of the known that’s really cause for applause.


That’s why I salute the 72-percent of you that awarded yesterday’s 1990 Jaguar XJ-S V12 a Nice Price win. Knowing what consternations lie ahead with that car, and still advocating its purchase at a price greater than free shows some serious sack. The rest of you are just as ballsy, but are likely just wary by having already experienced Jaaag ownership. Or, maybe hearing about it

Hey, are you limber? Maybe even double jointed? How about owning a car that just might be? Here we have a 1983 Subaru 1800GL—Leone to you and me—that’s been de-coupé-ified and turned into a rakish four-seater convertible. The work was done by American Custom Coachworks Ltd. of Beverly Hills, California, and features a seemingly well thought out soft top system and four windows that drop electrically.

The top is supposed to be electrically actuated too on these and the conversion included a narrowing of the rear seat to accommodate the mechanism. I can’t tell if the conversion completely eliminated the shoulder belts for the front seats, but that does seem to be the case based on the pictures.


Of course safety is not the primary focus of this car. It’s a fairly tiny early ‘80s econo-box that’s had a major structural component removed for open air motoring. Sure, the conversion most likely had additional structure added to replace the missing roof, but should you run into something it’s going to fold faster than Superman on laundry day.


The pics do show the car with both doors open, so at least your fear that it might collapse under its own weight is allayed. The top itself looks serviceable when up and appreciably non-obstructing when down, although admittedly not all that great in either position.

The 1800 Coupé had two side windows aft of the door, a’la the Ford Sierra XR4, the larger of which was movable. That, and the frameless door glass, must have made the conversion to convertible seem like a no-brainer back in the day. Today? Well, we’ll see.


Powering this Ccustom convertible is Subaru’s 67-horsepower EA-71 flat four. That sends those ponies to the front-wheels through a four-speed stick. According to the ad the drivetrain has made it all the way to 125,000 miles and still seems eager for more. When not racking up the miles it was apparently garage kept.


Paint and trim is kind of “meh,” and there is a good sized ding on the driver’s side fender that will annoy you every time you see it. The interior looks a little more decent and comes with not one but two radios! The major issue here is the well-aged grime on the vinyl top of the back seat. That’s all kinds of nasty, and may be in it for the long haul.


The car over all isn’t nasty, however. What it is, if you’re into such things, is a rare (a claimed 3,000 built) slow cruiser for car meets and hitting the Dairy Queen come Sunday afternoon. Those of you envisioning switching in an STi drivetrain and building a sleeper will just have to stop.

There’s no stopping us on the vote however and so now we’ll have to contemplate the car’s $5,000 price. The seller claims that it’s insured for twice that amount, but he surely realizes that’s not a true barometer of value. Handily enough, we are.


What’s your take on this custom Subie convertible and that $5,000 price? Does that seem like a fair trade to go topless? Or, does that put this convertible on the chopping block?


You decide!


New Hampshire Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to mtnbikaah for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a fixed-price tip, and remember to include your Kinja handle.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.