CC Outtake: Subaru Legacy and Lexus ES250 – Faux Hardtop Rock Climbers

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Skinner Butte is just north of downtown Eugene and overlooks the city. It’s one of our most popular walk destinations, and at its base are exposed basalt columns from an old quarrying operation. It’s become a popular rock-climbing spot, and a good spot to find interesting older cars. Must be something about rock climbers. In this case, it was a couple of Japanese faux four door hardtops, both of the same vintage (circa 1990 or so). 

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These first generation Legacy sedans are becoming a bit scarce, unlike their wagon brethren, which are more in demand, especially among the outdoorsy set. I’m not even too sure this is a an AWD version, legacies were still available in FWD at the time (in the US, Subaru eventually went all-AWD).

These Lexus ES250s are similarly becoming a bit thin on the ground too. Often derided as a badge engineered Camry, it was based on the Toyota Prominent/Vista, a “hardtop” version of the Camry. It was not a success, despite having redeeming qualities, such as an extremely smooth 2.5 L V6, a solidly built body, and an interior with high quality materials. But it was lost in the shadow of the brilliant LS400. The next generation ES solved those issues, and became a strong seller.

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Here they are from higher up on the cliffs; hardtops for hard-headed climbers.