Junkyard Gem: 1992 Subaru SVX

See Full Image Gallery >>

The first new Subarus sold in the United States were microscopic kei cars brought over by Malcolm Bricklin in 1968, and they were followed by slightly larger (but still comically tiny) Leones a few years later. Bigger and better-equipped Leones followed during the 1980s, along with the sleek XT sports car. When the XT's successor appeared here for the 1992 model year, it was named the SVX and it looked wild! Today's Junkyard Gem is one of those first-year SVXs, found in a Colorado car graveyard.

In Japan, the XT and SVX were known as the Alcyone XT and Alcyone SVX, named after the brightest star in the constellation Subaru uses in its logo.

The 1988 XT6 was the first Subaru sold here to get a six-cylinder engine, and its SVX successor also had boxer-six power. Some junkyard shopper bought this car's engine before I arrived, but it was a 3.3-liter DOHC unit rated at 230 horsepower and 228 pound-feet.

At the time the SVX was designed, Subaru didn't have a manual transmission that could handle the 3.3's output, so every one of these cars came from the factory with a four-speed automatic transmission.

These transmissions proved troublesome in the real world, though Subaru eventually made automatics survive reasonably well behind its H6 engines.

For 1992 and 1993, all U.S.-market SVXs were equipped with all-wheel-drive; front-wheel-drive versions were available for the 1994 and 1995 model years (after which all Subarus sold here had AWD as standard equipment).

The SVX was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, and it turned heads (sometimes in admiration, sometimes in confusion) with this window-within-a-window side glass treatment.

The SVX was by far the most expensive new Subaru Americans could buy during its 1992-1997 sales run. This car is a top-trim-level LS-L model, so its MSRP would have been $29,250 (about $65,728 in 2024 dollars). Meanwhile, the 1992 Subaru Justy started at just $6,445 ($14,483 after inflation).

After SVX sales ceased, Subaru gave up on selling weird cars here and got busy printing money by offering Americans sensible all-wheel-drive machines suitable for commuting and/or camping.

This one nearly reached 200,000 miles during its career, which is respectable though nowhere near the mileage of the best-traveled Subaru I've documented in a junkyard.

Tell me how it'll do in Chicago!

It can reach speeds in excess of 140 miles per hour … but how important is that with extended urban gridlock and gas at $1.38 a gallon?

You'd have thought the Alcyone SVX's home-market TV commercials would have featured screaming tires and roaring engines, but that wasn't the case.

You Might Also Like