Subaru fan: 'Mustang, Shmustang'

Resident predicts 'workhorse' will go down in same category as Model T, VW Bug


— The resort area has been inundated with classic "pony cars" from the '60s and '70s this week.

But at least one local man wants to make sure the workhorse of Steamboat's automotive culture isn't overlooked.

Gazing at the classic cars in this week's Mustang Roundup offers a cheap thrill, and there is no arguing that pickups and SUV's are ubiquitous in Steamboat.

But Tommy Larson wants to make sure the "Everyman" Steamboat car the Subaru wagon isn't overlooked.

He's planned a Subaru rally from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today to allow local car owners to show off their trusty steeds on Yampa Avenue. His plans have drawn the attention of Subaru executives in Denver, but he's trying to keep the lid on this year's event.

"I had to tell the Subaru of America marketing director that we wanted to keep things to a dull roar this year because I don't want to cause any problems," Larson said. "He wanted to know if we needed tents, a P.A., go-go girls, etc."

Larson made up the part about the dancing girls everything about the Subaru rally is infused with his sardonic sense of humor. The prizes given out today won't go to the shiniest cars, but the oldest cars with the long histories.

Larson said he believes if he begins with a modest event, it does have the potential to grow into a big deal with live music and everything.

Larson obtained a permit for the event from the city, but promised it wouldn't overwhelm the limited space on Yampa.

"I'm hoping it's not too big," Larson said. "If it gets to be big, I'll get out of town under the cover of darkness."

Cook Chevrolet and Subaru have donated three $50 gift certificates and a box of Subaru water bottles for prizes this year, Larson said. He'll award one prize for the oldest model year Subaru, another for the car with the most miles and one $50 prize he'll reserve for the car that really catches his fancy.

The rally will take place in a small parking area on Yampa across from the Double Z restaurant. Participants don't need to register in advance, they can show up whenever they feel like it and watch for the "Para-Wing" awning on his 1993 Loyale Wagon.

Local mechanic Fred Robinson knows a thing or two about aging Subarus with lots of miles on the odometer He gave one to his son, Tai, 11 years ago that has more than 300,000 miles on it today.

Robinson said Subarus were designed with mechanics in mind he can get at important parts under the hood to make repairs with relative ease.

Robinson believes the best Subarus of all time were built between 1980 and 1984, when the model names were simply "GL and DL."

"They're almost indestructible," he said. "If they have oil and water in them, they'll run forever."

Post-1984 models have timing belts that, when they break, bring the car to a halt, Robinson said. That causes some owners of Loyales to refer to the car's "time bomb belt."

Robinson still recommends late model Subarus, but he feels the Subarus from the early '80s are deserving of classic status.

"They'll go down in history in comparison to the Model T and the VW Bug," he said.


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