I spend countless hours online looking for neat cars. I love cars with awesome stories, but ads are usually short on details and shorter on punctuation. So it blew me away when a reader sent us the best Craigslist ad I’ve ever seen. The 1990 Subaru Legacy Wagon they have for sale has a staggering number of miles for how good it looks.
It’s frustrating to see a cool car on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, only to see it accompanied with few words in the description. The only classifieds sites offering any substantial descriptions appear to be Bring A Trailer or Cars & Bids. So it’s awesome to see this seller — The Rad Report — not only doing the bare minimum but going the extra mile. But don’t just take my word for it, check out the ad:
I bought this car 14 months ago. I was scrolling craigslist, had never even contemplated purchasing a Subaru, and certainly was not on the hunt for one, but even in the postage sized thumbnail, I was charmed by the proportions of this car. The short hood and extended back, the straight lines moving across the body. It was at once familiar and idiosyncratic, clearly built to be useful but with engineering parameters that allowed for a unique iteration on a standard form. On further inspection, the commitment to smoothness, a consistent fillet across the sheet metal and molded plastic was remarkable and beautiful. A near-perfect expression of enthusiasm for the new decade (the 90's), somehow subtle and radical at once. A utility vehicle in Tomorrowland.
But while I am deeply in love with the writing, one thing struck me as insanely impressive. This all-wheel-drive manual wagon has 216,000 miles! Surely, that’s a typo, right? No 31-year-old Subaru looks this good after that many miles, but the odometer picture confirms the absurd mileage number.
I reached out to Aaron at The Rad Report for more information on this amazing car. The original owner of this wagon took great care of it for over 28 years before donating it to a community college.
This Subaru looks so good it’s almost as if the car traveled through time straight from the showroom floor. Aaron bought it from the college and it’s believed the original owner went to the dealership for everything and the car enjoyed covered parking. That explanation makes sense. The original owner of my high-mileage Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI had a similar philosophy.
Aaron also put some of his own money into keeping the car showroom fresh:
In my 14 months / 2500 miles of owning this car, I have invested ~$6k in recreating the experience of buying it new-off-the-lot. I wanted to understand the designed intent of the car and enjoy it for precisely what it was intended to be: an AWD expression of practical luxury, an Accord killer. This meant new struts, control arms, bushings, brakes, clutch, timing belt, water pump, tires, shifter bushings, 4 speakers etc... the goal was to create the experience of a new car for myself but also for my wife who wasn’t entirely convinced that this car was “it.” And, here’s the bad news: she never was.
Subaru offered up the Legacy as competition for the Honda Accord, Mazda 626 and Toyota Camry. This immaculate first-generation 1990 Subaru Legacy Wagon comes equipped with the naturally aspirated 2.2-liter EJ22 making 130 horsepower. That engine is paired to a five-speed manual transmission, which is noted to have a new clutch.
The included Monroney sheet shows the wagon has optional paint, air conditioner, cruise control and an audio system upgrade. The only wear my eyes see are those buttons forward the gear stick.
I’m not much of a Subaru person, but I’d daily this car so hard. In another rarity for Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace ads, The Rad Report provides many photos of the car in the ad. I’ve had a hard time choosing favorites for this blog. Even the engine bay looks showroom fresh.
Be sure to read the ad on this one, it’s worth the read!
All things considered, the $6,800 asking price is more than reasonable. I’ve used the term “time capsule” to describe minty old cars before, but this car is in a league of its own.
Update: A kind reader reminded me that Craigslist ads aren’t forever. That’s true. I have archived a copy of the ad that you can read here!