Leone / Loyale
The Subaru Leone was a compact car made and sold by the Subaru from 1971 to 1994. It was meant to replace the Subaru 1000 and was the predecessor to the Subaru Impreza. The name comes from the Italian word for lion. The Leone was initially equipped with either a 1.2 L or a 1.4 L carbureted flat-four OHV engine. As a response to tightening emissions regulations, in September 1975, the 1.2 L was removed from the sedan lineup. To be able to offer as much power as the pre-smog 1.4 a bigger, 1.6 L version was added for 1976. However, if your Leone does have a mishap, grab yourself a Subaru Leone workshop manual to make sure you get the job done right.
On October 7, 1971, the first-generation Leone was released as an FWD coupé, with trim levels DL, GL, and GSR. The introduction of the two- and four-door sedans with trim levels DL, GL happened in April 1972. Originally, the Leone was Subaru's largest car. In September 1972 the 4WD station wagon was released; however, it did not appear in the United States until 1974. Up until this time, 4WD had mainly been limited to off-road vehicles.
The Leone had the option of either a four-speed manual transmission or a five-speed manual transmission, and also a three-speed automatic transmission was offered in 1975. Some early models had duo-servo drum brakes at the front, however, later models were equipped with disc brakes. All models originally had rear drum brakes except the RX coupés. Unusually, the handbrake or emergency brake operated on the front wheels.
In April 1977, an updated Leone range was released. All body panels were altered slightly, and the overall look was 'smoother' and more contemporary in appearance. A completely new dashboard with altered interior were also part of the update. Despite these changes, the overall effect was similar to the earlier version and mechanically identical, except for the rear track which was widened by 40mm. The chassis codes were changed, with sedans now in the 30 series and estates in the 60 series. The little 1.2 continued to be available in the lowliest standard van model, with 68 PS (50 kW).
1977, saw the unveiling of the Subaru BRAT as a 1978 model. This was a two-seater with a pickup truck bed and two seats welded into the bed to evade the so-called chicken tax on light commercial vehicles. In June 1979, the Leone was redesigned; it was released as a two-door hardtop coupe, four-door sedan, station wagon, and a three-door hatchback. Export sales began in the fall with the 1980 model year.
By 1987, the performance designed three-door RX was introduced equipped with the EA82T turbo engine, which was paired with a five-speed manual transmission. It had rally tuned suspension, a 3.70:1 rear Limited Slip Differential, four-wheel disc brakes, central locking differential among other things.
By 1990, the Leone name continued to be used in Japan but was now known as the Loyale in United States, Canada, and Chile; the popularity of the Leone wagon shifted towards the new, larger, Legacy wagon in 1989, and was ultimately replaced by the Impreza in 1994. If you ever need to tinker with your Leone, take a gander at a Subaru Leone service manual first to make sure you do the job right.