Cars Behind Bars: 1976 Subaru DL Wagon – Getting A Little Thin On Top

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Old Subarus like this one aren’t exactly a common sight, even here in one of Subaru’s traditional U.S. strongholds, the Pacific Northwest.

The setting isn’t exactly a showroom, but the way this car is parked at an angle reminds me of a brand-new car posed behind glass at a dealership.  But no dealer showroom would have such a surreal backdrop; to the left of the car are  the remnants of windows that were bricked-up and painted over, and to the right, there are painted-on fake windows!  Note the Montana license plate; they’re not very common here in Seattle.

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My opening photo was a hail-Mary shot with the camera held over my head; this picture taken from eye level tells a very sad story. The poor Subaru is incarcerated, and it might be a life sentence.

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It’s not the most dignified fate for an old car; on public display behind wire mesh, at an urban storage-for-rent facility.   The automotive equivalent of the pillory!  Look at that flat tire.  You know a car has been sitting a while if the whitewalls have started to run.

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There’s no “4WD” emblem on the tailgate; this is (or was) a two-wheel drive Subaru.  Of course Subaru sold a 4-wheel drive version of the wagon back then, but it used an old- fashioned part-time 4-wheel drive system, nothing like their current Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.

I’m intrigued by the chrome trim on the D pillar.  It looks like the framing for a vinyl top.

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But if any vinyl was ever on top of this car, it’s long gone, along with most of the paint.  I’ve seen this sort of ‘top-down’ surface rust pattern before, mostly on cars parked very close to the ocean.

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But this car isn’t parked by the shoreline, and it looks like it’s been in this same spot for quite a while.  This Subaru also has the air of a car that punched a clock and worked for a living; a real blue-collar Subaru.  But who knows what the owner did for a living, and what solvents his station wagon got exposed to in the process?  It’s hard to say.  Maybe he’s in jail, too!