Classic of the Month: Stephen's 1981 Subaru GL

1981 Suburu GL right hand side view

Stephen Hodges was only 14 years old—and still two years from becoming a licensed driver—when he traded a Lincoln for a Subaru. That’s a pretty good deal when you consider that the Lincoln he gave up was a $5 bill. That’s all Stephen had in his pocket, and that’s all it took to score a 1981 Subaru GL.

The car obviously needed some work, and over the years the Oregon native learned how to do it all. Subarus have long been popular in the Pacific Northwest., and Stephen’s father and close friend also owned one. Stephen certainly loved his, but he made the difficult decision to sell it when he went away to college. Letting go of the memories was an entirely different thing.

Stephen began to notice that Subarus like his seemed to be disappearing, so every once in a while he would search for one on eBay. Three years ago, he finally found what he was looking for and excitedly showed the listing to his fiancé (now his wife), who surprised him by buying the car as a wedding gift. It cost slightly more than the $5 Stephen paid for his first Subaru—$3495 more—but the seller also threw in some extras, like a period-correct roof rack, and it has been worth every penny to the Hodges.

Stephen and his wife enjoy taking the GL (and their dog) for scenic drives in the beautiful region surrounding their home. The car is in good shape (and in mostly original condition) and Stephen plans to continue to work on it here and there, much like he worked on his first Subaru as a teenager.

“It isn’t special to anyone but my wife and I,” he says. “But we love it.”


Editor’s note: Hagerty’s Classic of the Month begins with a simple conversation. A member calls Hagerty and shares their story with a licensed agent. Those stories are collected, and a committee chooses a weekly winner. The four weekly winners are shared with the entire company, and employees vote to determine a monthly winner. At the end of the year, there is another vote to decide Hagerty’s Classic of the Year. Congratulations to Licensed Sales Agent Stacy Hoag, who provided details about this month’s winner.