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1989 Subaru Leone GFT : Classic Cars

The Subaru Leone is a compact car produced by the Japanese car manufacturer Fuji Heavy Industries from 1971 to 1994. The word "leone" is Italian for lion.

It was released as a replacement to the Subaru 1000 and was the predecessor to the Subaru Impreza. All Leones were powered by the Subaru EA boxer engine. Most cars were equipped with optional four-wheel drive. At the time of its introduction, the Leone was Subaru's top model until 1989, when the larger Legacy was introduced.

Although released in Japan and some export markets as the Leone, for many years, this was the only vehicle sold internationally by Subaru where the smaller kei cars Rex, Vivio, R-2, 360 and Sambar were not sold or considered road legal. As a result in major markets such as Australia, Europe and North America, it was instead identified with a trim level designation, some of which included: DL, GL, GLF, GLF5, GL-10, and RX. This means the car is often referred to simply as the Subaru GL or the Subaru L-Series.

On July 16, 1984, the Leone saw its second major redesign. This generation was released with a three-door hatchback, four-door sedan and a continuation of the popular station wagon body style. This generation Leone made its way to the United States in 1985.

In Europe, the range was 1.3 DL, 1.6 DL, 1.6 GL, 1.8 DL and 1.8 GL 4WD. Not all versions were offered in all countries.

In North America, the 1.6-liter engine was dropped completely from the lineup, due to its lack of power. The 48-kilowatt (65 hp) 1.3 was only available in select markets.

A new 1.8-liter SOHC engine, EA-82 was offered instead of the OHV 1.8-liter Flat-4 engine. The engine was available with a carburetor, single point fuel injection, multi-port fuel injection, or multi-port fuel injection with a turbocharger.

From 1988 this generation saw the availability of a full-time 4WD manual transmission or a full-time 4WD four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.

Isuzu Geminett II
The RX three-door is comparatively rare as only 2,600 units were made during its 1987 to 1989 production run. Very few remain operational today. It can be recognized by a rear wing, factory ground effects kit and white paint with white wheels. Most RXs were white, but a black version was produced in the last half of 1989. The RX was equipped with the EA82T turbo engine, as found in the XT Vortex mated to a five speed manual transmission (A AT version was available in 1989). The drivetrain featured a 3.70:1 rear Limited Slip Differential as well as a locking center differential and two speed transfer case. The gearbox also featured a shorter 1.192:1 low range gear set (vs the 1.592:1 found in non turbo versions) activated via a center console mounted lever. Other characteristics were; rally tuned suspension, four wheel disc brakes, power windows, A/C, central locking differential, adjustable seats and steering wheel, split fold-down rear seats, full indicative panel, Hill Holder and 1,070 kg (2,359 lb) of weight. 1989 marked the end of the production run for the RX.

Other options (Standard and Optional) found in the Leone 3rd generation were a full digital instrument panel; self diagnostic computer, travel computer, cruise control and pneumatic suspension with selectable height,[5](previous Generations 4WD models had manual height adjustment).

From September 1989 until 1993, the van version was also provided to Isuzu as the "Geminett II" under an OEM deal.

By 1990 the Leone name continued to be used in Japan but was now known as the Loyale in Chile, the United States and Canada; the L-Series in Europe and Australia, and as the Omega in New Zealand where the third generation was the last to be assembled locally by Motor Holdings at Waitara. The popularity of the Leone wagon was ceded to the new, larger, Legacy wagon in 1989 and was ultimately replaced by the Impreza in 1994. The Impreza was introduced with a 'hatch like' wagon which was reminiscent of the first and second generation Leone wagons.

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Sources : 1989 Subaru Leone GFT Photo | Subaru Leone Article


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