Travis Pastrana, Subaru, and Hoonigan Build Wild 1983 Subaru GL Wagon

Travis Pastrana isn’t much more sane than the original Head Hoonigan In Charge, Ken Block, when it comes to vehicle ideas and builds. To fully demonstrate just how wild Pastrana is willing to go with the Hoonigans and Subaru, the team came up with this amazing looking 1983 Subaru GL wagon, the predecessor of the 2022 Subaru WRX. You better believe it’s not just a decal job on a boxy 1980s classic.

The Hell Is A GL?

When the Hoonigans originally teased the front of their new Subaru build, many were expecting it to be a Brat pickup—which has a similar-looking front fascia, and an amazing jumpseat-equipped bed. As it turns out, the conspirators chose a slightly more obscure boxy Subie for the build. If you don’t know what a GL is, you probably don’t live in the U.S. or don’t know the ancestral history of the Subaru WRX. The GL is best known as the Leone everywhere else except Australia, where it’s known as the “L” series.

Yep, before the GM/GC/GF Impreza and outside the SVX, there was another AWD wagon that Subaru enthusiasts fell in love with. Originally, the 1971 Subaru Leone—Italian for “lion”—was a front-wheel-drive tcoupe and was Subaru’s largest and only non-kei car in the 1970s. It later became available as a wagon equipped with all-wheel-drive.

The Legend of the Leone

The second generation Leone—where it gained the name “GL” here in the U.S. and “L” in Australia—became boxier and was joined by the rambunctious Subaru Brat in 1978. You could now get all versions of the Leone/GL with AWD, including the “Swingback” three-door that replaced the coupe. Another interesting feature of some U.S.-sold GLs of this era was its third “cyclops” headlight hidden behind a swingaway Subaru emblem that was used when the high beams were activated or when the driver pushed a switch to turn it on.

Finally, the second generation Leone was the car that introduced Subaru to the World Rally Championship and began with Subaru Rally Team Japan (SRTJ) in 1980 with Noriyuki Koseki, founder of Subaru Tecnica International, behind the wheel. Prodrive would come onboard as a separate team until about 1989, where it folded into the SRTJ effort and became the dominant Subaru World Rally Team that we now know, starting with the 1990 Legacy RS.

More Details Please

We don’t know much about the actual build other than that this GL wagon is a “fully built, fully carbon fiber, fully rowdy party car” that is “inspired” by the 1983 GL wagon. We’re not exactly sure what that means other than the potential that this isn’t the original, second generation chassis. It sounds like it’s a Subaru version of the Hoonicorn, wherein a 1965 Ford Mustang body was placed onto a custom-built chassis. And this might go a step further, with a GL-inspired custom body on a boutique chassis. What aspects of it are actually still ’83 GL? We’re still waiting on Hoonigan to get back to us on the full details.

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