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1983 Subaru L-Series wagon

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In Australia, the Leone wagon was called the "L-Series" (only sedans wore the Leone name). The 2nd generation model, pictured here, is extremely rare - this is the first one I think I've seen in at least 10 years (the 3rd generation model, however, sold from 1985-1994, is still occasionally seen). All L-Series wagons in Australia were AWD - there was no 2WD version available. This 1983 model sure stood out in a Toorak Woolworths car park full of expensive cars. The car's condition was average for it's age - the paint was quite faded, as expected. The plates on the car are not original, but are re-prints, as they lack the "Garden State" slogan. These slogan-less plates would have been issued after 1994, since that's when the slogan was dropped. In the photo, we can see that the owner is quite elderly, meaning that this is almost certainly a one owner car.



1978 Chrysler Sigma (GE)

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Mitsubishi Sigmas are rarely seen on the roads anymore in Australia, let alone *Chrysler* Sigmas! This is a 1978 model, with the 2.0L "Astron" 4-cylinder engine and 3-speed automatic. Photograph was taken in Hawthorn. This 39-year-old car was in decent condition for it's age, however, the front grille was missing. The Sigma was originally introduced in 1977 in Australia, and was built locally. It was sold as a Chrysler initially, before being rebranded as a Mitsubishi in 1981. Engine options were originally a 1.6L, 1.85L, and 2.0L, while a re-shuffle in 1979 saw the choices being: 1.6L, 2.0L, or 2.6L.

Note that the "Ripponlea" sticker on the back window was a large inner suburb Mitsubishi dealer in Melbourne, which existed up until about 2010, before closing.



1980 Toyota Corolla CS sedan

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Carlisle Street, Balaclava - this 1980 model Corolla sedan, with 4-speed manual, 1.3L carb engine. Australian-built. Not a whole lot to say - the pictures mostly speak for themselves. A very basic car without any modern conveniences - no power steering or air conditioning in these cars. Being a pre-1986 vehicle, this would also require leaded petrol, which hasn't been sold since 2001. They do say that Toyotas are built to last.


1989 Mitsubishi Colt XL "RE"

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Back in June, I spotted a rare 1981 Colt, which was the first year for the Colt in Australia. Well, today, I saw a 1989 model at La Trobe University, in Bundoora, which incidentally, was the last model year for the Colt in Australia. This is a base model "XL", which means that it has the smaller 1.4L carburetted engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission, and an extremely sparse interior with almost no features or conveniences to speak of. Despite not being particularly old, I'm surprised that such a car is still in regular use, because it would almost certainly not have power steering or air conditioning.

The Colt is quite an interesting car, because, although production of this generation ceased in Japan in 1983, it continued to be built in Australia until 1989! In Australia, hatchbacks (only offered in 5 doors) were sold from 1981-1989, while sedans were available from 1984-1989. 
The "RE" Colt was the final iteration of this car, introduced in September…

1981 Mitsubishi Sigma GL wagon

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Spotted in Brunswick, this 36-year-old 1981 GH Sigma wagon. An automatic, in "GL" trim (mid-grade), engine options were a 2.0L four or 2.6L four. These were Australian built. Unlike many of the other recent vehicles I've spotted, the condition of this one was very poor. Original Victorian plates issued in 1981 mean that there's a chance this could be an original owner vehicle.




1979 Mazda 626 - double take!!

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Exactly one week after spotting a 1980 Mazda 626 in a front yard in Caulfield, I spotted yet another 1979 model, in, you guessed it, Caulfield! Could this suburb be the official home of Melbourne's oldest cars? Pulling into a supermarket car park, I thought that this must surely be the same car I saw last week, but looking at the plate, I realised it wasn't. Though not quite in as good condition as the other 1980 model, it still isn't bad considering it's age. The location here also allowed me to get a good photo of the rear.


1987 Toyota Camry hatchback

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The Camry was first introduced in Australia in 1983, and only offered as a hatchback (a sedan was offered overseas). It was fully imported from Japan, unlike most cars at the time which were made in Australia. As a result, it was quite expensive and never sold well. Toyota offered the locally-built Corona in the mid-size segment, which was available as a sedan or wagon and was much, much more popular. The Camry, on the other hand, was positioned as a more upmarket premium offering, with advanced features (for the time) such as fuel injection and front-wheel-drive. It wasn't offered as a sedan so as not to compete with the Corona, rather, it was introduced to prepare Australians for the upcoming second generation model in 1987, which would be built in Australia and replace the Corona. First generation models are quite rare (unlike the 1987 onwards models, which are still everywhere) but there are some still floating around, such as this early '87 model photographed in Caulfield…