When it comes to Subaru, the first vehicle I think of isn’t a WRX, or an STi, or even the 555 rally cars of the late 1990s. Those are all good, don’t get me wrong. Subarus were the first non-American car to grab my attention and hold it with a realistic, approachable car. Nothing against a 1984 Ferrari GTO, but that is neither realistic or approachable. But I was actually more impressed with the second-generation Legacy over most others. I loved the shape…it wasn’t overly weird like the Impreza and past Subarus were. It had this kind of refined menace to the front…sounds weird as I think about it, but I always thought the canted headlights and the open grille looked more sinister than the cars really were. In the U.S. market, we got tepid variations and the Outback models. Japan got good stuff like the GT/B-Spec version. We got the GT, which was the EJ20H flat-four with a sequential turbocharger setup and about 250-ish horsepower on tap. You got the all-wheel-drive, naturally, and you could get a five-speed manual to back it up as well.
Practical and for the times, surprising performance out of Subaru’s bigger car. Remember, this pre-dated the WRX’s arrival into the United States…enthusiasts knew about it, but the WRX was forbidden fruit. Settling for more room and a sleepier overall vision would suit us just fine when we’re looking for a great daily basher, and that’s why this Legacy GT makes sense. We’d drive this car all over creation, paved or otherwise. What would we sort out? The shift bushings, some sticker removal time, and maybe a set of Outback wheels with some mild all-terrains on them for when we get the urge to try to emulate Colin McRae on the closest gravel road. Besides, it’s a Subaru…it’s practical, right?