The tale of the Leone Vert rider

A long long time ago a former girlfriend of mine had a former brother in law who in turn had a dream. His dream was to Take a Subaru Leone and turn it into something amazing.

Well it seemed like a good idea at the time..

He was an interesting mechanic – interesting in the fact that he one lent me a 1983 Mazda 323 to drive around in with one working door lock, an immobilizer to ward award car thieves with no taste and no H plate in the gearbox (you clutched in, put the stick where you thought the gear was, clutched out and hoped) – obviously this mechanic never brought his work home with him.

One day on the way to work he spotted an abandoned Subaru Leone on the side of the road and figured that would make a great base for a home mechanic project, only with the roof chopped off to make the very first Australian built Subaru Leone Convertible. (He’s obviously not the only person in the world to have that dream as Hooniverse found one similar in the states a couple of years back.) No no, not a ‘lets put a EJ20 WRX motor in for shits and giggles’ plan, a ‘I really want a vert and this thing isn’t doing much right now’ type of vision.

A couple of follow up calls to the council later and somehow he ended up with a free beat up Subaru Leone in his backyard.

Once upon a time (probably a long time before being abandoned) the little Subaru Leone might have looked a bit like this:

Subaru Leone

Subaru Leone

However when I first glimpsed Project Leone after a months work, it was more like this:

Body

Not shown in picture, 2000kg of fiberglass dust

Every single part was buried under a very thick layer of fiberglass dust – it was everywhere. The front seats were hanging out of the boot, the back seats were probably in the bathroom. From memory the steering wheel was in a nearby bucket (drowning in fiberglass dust). The roof was parked on the back fence. He’d been very busy cutting, grinding and bogging any and every hole with a tonne of fiberglass.

The idea was to patch it up, get it engineered and paint it…bright yellow. No idea where the yellow idea came from but the man had a dream and the dream was a Subaru Leone completely different to anything on the road.

It wasn’t until 9 months later I found out the fate of this AWD through a phone call from my ex’s dad – amazingly he had patched it up to the point where he could take it to an engineer for a certificate. Only after the engineer finished scratching his head wondering what he was looking at and put it up on the hoist for a closer inspection and stress test, a missed crack in the chassis opened up some more and combined with a lack of structural support from a missing roof (and at a guess, a lack of added structural support when the roof came off), the body twisted and he was now the proud owner of the first ever Subaru Leone Twistee.

Perfect for twisty roads...

Perfect for twisty roads…

Sadly I never heard of any of his other projects after this one, he probably ran out of cars left on the side of the road or something – wherever he is and whatever he’s up to now, thanks for the story and keep on fiberglassing you mad bastard 😉

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