1985 Subaru XT, the BRZ’s long-lost ancestor, pops up on Cars & Bids

Subaru’s second-generation BRZ traces its roots to an obscure, wedge-shaped coupe that only the geekiest enthusiasts remember: the XT. Not many of these were built, and few were preserved, but an example that looks surprisingly well-kept has popped up on Cars & Bids.

Released globally in 1985, and sold as the Alcyone in Japan

, the XT wasn’t the first coupe to wear a Subaru emblem; the original Leone was notably only offered with two doors when it made its debut in 1971 (the sedan variant didn’t land until 1972). The big difference is that the XT was available only as a coupe, it didn’t spawn a wagon or a sedan, and it was developed with a pronounced emphasis on performance.

Sales on the American market started during the 1985 model year, and the range initially included three trim levels called DL, GL, and 4WD Turbo, respectively. Beyond the unusual exterior design, which turned more than a few heads even in the 1980s, the XT stood out w ith then-futuristic equipment such as an adjustable pneumatic suspension system, a digital instrument cluster, and a pistol-grip shifter. The 1988 model year brought a flat-six engine, among other changes, and the XT retired in 1991. It passed the torch to the even funkier SVX.

While models like the Outback, the Crosstrek, and the Forester have become a common sight on American roads, especially in the snowy parts of the nation, Subaru was much smaller in the 1980s. It sold 178,175 cars in the United States in 1985, compared to 556,581 units in 2022. And, keep in mind that it wasn’t associated with motorsport

in that era; it already raced, but it didn’t reach rally glory until the 1990s.

The average enthusiast in the market for a coupe in the 1980s didn’t put the flat-four-powered XT at the top of his or her shopping list, and sales remained low. Rust problems took out a big chunk of the population, and relatively low values in the 1990s didn’t encourage XT owners to preserve their car. Finding one that hasn’t been extensively modified and without grapefruit-sized holes in the floors has become difficult.

And yet, the one currently listed on Cars & Bids can be described as a survivor. Its odometer shows just under 63,000 miles, which averages out to about 1,657 miles per year, and it’s unmodified down to the plastic hubcaps. Carfax lists no accidents or mileage-related oddities, and this coupe features an awesome configuration: It has the five-speed manual transmission, two-tone paint, and blue cloth upholstery.

It’s not perfect, but the flaws listed by the enthusiast auction platform are pretty minor considering we’re talking about a coupe that’s quickly approaching its 40th birthday. This likely explains why bidding already stands at $7,860 with six days left to go in a seven-day auction. For context, Subaru charged $9,899 for a 1985 XT GL 4WD. That’s about $28,400 in 2023, so the XT was cheaper than a base 2024 BRZ

($31,315, including a $1,120 destination charge). This XT doesn’t have a reserve, so the highest bidder on November 9 will take it home.