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Junkyard Find: 1996 Subaru SVX

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, LH front view - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsOne great thing about living in Colorado, where new residents are issued a dog and a Subaru when they arrive, is that I can find examples of just about every Subaru model sold here since the late 1970s in the local car graveyards. That means that I have plenty of opportunities to observe the gloriously weird SVX, once its street days are finished.

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, emblem - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe SVX, known as the Alcyone SVX in its homeland, was the successor to the somewhat oddball XT. It was the most expensive and most powerful Subaru ever offered in North America when it appeared here for the 1992 model year, and especially impressive considering the agonizingly proletarian Subarus we got here just a decade or so earlier.

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, side glass - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThere’s no way crazy side glass like this would ever make it past Subaru of America’s focus groups today, but the 1990s saw the last gasp of the lengthy battle for weirdness supremacy between Subaru and Mitsubishi.

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, interior - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars1996 was the final model year for the SVX here, and the list price for a 1996 SVX AWD L (which is what we’re looking at) came to $28,750 (about $51,755 in 2021 dollars). The most expensive Legacy Outback you could buy that year cost a mere $20,005.

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, H6 Engine - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 3.3-liter H6 engine in this car made 230 horsepower, good for a quarter-mile time in the mid-15s.

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, gearshift - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBecause Subaru didn’t have a manual transmission that could survive behind the H6’s output, every SVX made came with a four-speed Jatco automatic. Even so, the transmission proved to be the weak point in these cars; most junked SVXs I see have been fairly clean and uncrashed, so I assume that transmission woes ended their careers.

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, red tag - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis one has a red tag from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s, citing it for having been “left unattended and unmoved on the roadway.”

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, ignition switch - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe key is still in the ignition switch, so perhaps the ol’ SVX finally blew up in Arvada or Golden and its owner just walked away.

1996 Subaru SVX in Colorado junkyard, Wolf bra - ©2021 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIn its heyday, a Wolf bra protected its snout from chips.


It thinks it’s a BMW, only better.


I expected the home-market Alcyone SVX ads to be frantic, but they’re pretty schmaltzy.

For links to thousands more Junkyard Finds, take your tow truck over to the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

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