Fall 2009 Forward to a Friend

Your Turn Letters from our Readers

Our Best Feedback Comes from Subaru Drivers!

For comments concerning Drive magazine, contact us at: www.subaru.com/contactus, or write to: Editor, Drive Magazine, PO Box 514025, Milwaukee, WI 53203-3425.

For other customer service-related questions, comments, and product information, or to change your address or ownership information, contact us at (800) SUBARU-3 [(800) 782-2783] or www.subaru.com/contactus.

We reserve the right to edit all letters and articles sent for publication in Drive magazine. Letters and all materials submitted with them (including photographs) become the property of Drive magazine and may be republished in any form or medium and unfortunately cannot be returned.

A Wild Time at SIA

Recalling your “Wild Neighbors” article from Spring 2009 Drive, I thought you would enjoy the pictures taken at our test track on Monday, June 29. A mother coyote and some pups were roaming the area.

SIA [Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.] continues to be a shining example of how manufacturing can live in harmony with nature and how strong environmental stewardship can make a difference in the world. This year we celebrated our fifth anniversary of being zero landfill; and our annual Form R air emissions report submitted yesterday shows that our air emissions have decreased 63 percent in the past eight years.

– Tom Easterday, Senior Vice President SIA, Lafayette, IN

Hey Subie!

In July my family and our 2009 Forester participated in Subaru of America, Inc.’s Guinness World Records™ attempt in Itasca, Illinois. In the weeks preceding the event, every time we saw a fellow Subaru on the road we would say out loud, “Hey Subie, going to Itasca?”

Now every time we are in the car – either our ’09 Forester or our ’05 Outback – we play “Hey Subie!”

The rules are simple. Any time you see a Subaru, be the first to say “Hey Subie!” You gain a point for each one you correctly identify. You lose a point if you say “Hey Subie!” to another make of vehicle. Only occupied Subaru vehicles are fair game. The game ends when you arrive at your destination, and the winner has the most points.

– J.C. Trayser, Aurora, IL

Strawberry Fields

It was time to restore our larder with homemade strawberry jam. So, after endless rainy days, we headed out to New Jersey in our 2003 Outback. The owner directed us to the middle of a muddy field.

“Nice,” I said exiting the vehicle. “You directed us to the muddiest part of town.”

A smile crossed his face. “You have a Subaru,” he said.

– Tilo Samter, New York, NY

Caching in the Black Hills

This is our sixth Subaru, and we use it for almost everything, especially geocaching! Each weekend, we take the dogs and head for the Black Hills of South Dakota to look for caches. Not only do we have the comfort of a car and 24-26 miles-per-gallon gas consumption, but we have a backwoods vehicle.

– Susan Bass, Piedmont, SD

Subaru Vehicles in Florida

In the Summer issue, the Barons of Fort Lauderdale said, “Let’s spread the word and get more Floridians to drive Subaru vehicles.”

We moved to Florida 12 years ago from up north. Up there we had already owned two All-Wheel Drive Legacy models so we could handle all the road snow and ice. Since coming to Florida, we have bought two other AWD Legacy station wagons.

Why own an AWD vehicle in Florida where we never have snow and ice on the roads? The answer is simple: We get frequent, heavy downpours that cause cars to “plane” on the roadways. However, we found that our AWD vehicles hold the road beautifully, enabling us to maintain good control of the car.

– Mary and Edward G. Feldmann, Venice, FL

Now it’s MY Subaru

I’ve been a Subaru owner for years, and I was so excited to get my newest member of the family. While my local dealer had a LOT of colors to choose from, none of them were “just right.” So I decided to create my own and really make it MY Subaru! Tie-dye is SO cool! :-)

I love it! I’ve been driving it around with its new paint job for a couple of months now, and I love to see the smiles I get from people that I pass, not to mention the smile it gives me every time I get into it!

– Cindy Sturges, Columbia, MO

Bucking Hay

We have a 2003 Subaru Forester that’s just shy of 100,000 miles and still going strong. For the last two years, we have used our Forester with a trailer for moving our hay from the field to the barn. Here are my 4-year-old son, Gavin, his Grandpa, and myself after a long day in the field.

– Tim Kalimanis, Kalama, WA


I just received the Summer 2009 issue of Drive. Cathleen O’Connell’s picture with “Sue Blue Rue” reminded me of “Blubaru” – one of the last things I needed to live happily ever after in retirement. When Blubaru isn’t taking us down some muddy road to a summer put-in, she’s packed with skis and poles (which fit nicely inside) heading down some barely plowed road to the backwoods.

– Lois Rodenhuis, Dover, NH

Online Exclusive




Many Drive readers responded to the suggestion that Outback drivers have a “secret handshake.” Here are some of the e-mails.

Kyle Dickey

Ever since I was 12 (I’m currently 19), I’ve been giving EVERY Subaru I see a simple two thumbs up and a smile and a head nod. Everyone that owns a Subaru in my neck of the woods returns the favor.


It’s obvious. With the Pleiades as the Subaru symbol, indicating space travel to the “Outback,” the sign should be the Vulcan split-finger “live long and prosper” salute.

David Harry

May I suggest since Subaru has five stars on the outside and one big star in the center, we use the open palm with fingers spread with palm facing out. In that way the palm will represent the big star surrounded by the five fingers.

Diane Gackenbach

The everlasting, classic “peace” sign is very appropriate.

Jerry, Fort Benning

Arm and hand straight out with thumb and pinkie extended apart on a horizontal plane, representing the horizontally opposed engine! As an added feature for Outback owners only, go from that stance to raising your thumb over your shoulder (you know, like “Outback”?).

Jon Hall, Roman Forest, TX

Starting in the 1950s, Porsche owners have “saluted” each other on the road by the “Flick Flick” of headlights, a quick double pull of the turn signal to activate the bright lights. Maybe it should include everyone that appreciates a horizontally opposed engine. The Flick-Flick doesn’t require one to down a window on a hot or rainy day and can be seen whether one has tinted windows or not.

Shannon and Mark Long, Vancouver, WA

Being that a typical Subaru owner is a dog owner and dogs love to ride around in Subarus, we think we have the perfect solution. In honor of our chocolate labrador retriever, Mocha P. Long, we have adopted “the paw wave.” The paw is a four-finger salute with the thumb tucked in the palm as to emulate a dog paw.

David Paxton

How about the classic “Peace Sign” with the fingers in a V.

Pete Damiano

I think all Subaru drivers should beep the horn twice quickly as they see another Subaru driver – once for RWD and once for FWD.

Bruce M. Brown

Wiggle your left index finger in the shape of an S.

Michael Drelich

Four fingers for AWD, middle finger down. Easiest when driving. Or a claw for symmetrical.

Rhoda Hershman, Cheltenham, PA

Form an O with thumb and forefinger. This could mean “Outbacks are OK” or “Only an Outback for me” or “How obvious is my choice of an Outback.” How about, “Overjoyed with an Outback”?

Marc Stober

I propose we start using a Secret Subaru Signal to acknowledge the true Sube Fans – wave (or just hold up your hand) with thumb tucked in to your palm and four fingers extended, signifying the Beauty of AWD.

Matt Dykstra

Where I am from Subie owners “throw up deuces” – that is to say, two fingers in the air making a V, also known as a peace sign. Anyway, this is pretty standard among Impreza owners, and I think it would be the same for owners of other models. Peace out.

Tony Giannone, Chelmsford, MA

Rather than a secret hand wave, I’d like to suggest a simple nod of the head. The reason for this is to promote safety by keeping both hands on the steering wheel.

Barb Toy, Templeton, PA

For approximately two years now, my boyfriend and I have been doing our own secret Subaru Outback handshake. We also knew about the motorcyclist secret handshake and decided to make our own up. We call it the “Sign of the Subaru,” therefore including all our cool Subaru owners. Our wave is like a big S with a few extra curves. We told all our Subaru friends, and we always do it every time we see each other.

William Phypers

How about both hands on the wheel, eyes forward on the road ahead, checking the mirrors often?

Cassie Leconte

It’s no secret that the Outback secret handshake is simply a peace sign. Every Outback I’ve seen has responded to my peace sign or given me one before I could give it first. Or just pointing your finger at them with a smile works, too. I also shout out “woooo” and pump my fist out the window, and that works, too. The secret is just to notice a fellow Outbacker and show that you noticed them. I love my Outback and others who have them. Subarus for life.


I think the thumbs-up hand sign would be an appropriate secret handshake between Subaru owners.

Glenn and Lisa Knight, Seattle, WA

I suggest that Subaru owners could stroke their chins/beards and then hold up two fingers in a Vee to signify mountain goat horns because this car goes where other cars can’t and climbs like a mountain goat!

Karen Greenstein

I believe the secret handshake should extend to all Subaru drivers. Why discriminate to just Outback drivers? That said, pointing two fingers with a double pump forward could be “the one,” much like a shortened version used by the “Trick My Truck” guys when they send the made-over version out the door.

Elayne Best

The newest trend in giving knucks. Instead of knuckle thumping, you go under. Underknucks and then explode.

Sadye Davenport, CA

I do not believe it should be limited only to Outback owners. I believe we are all special because we all own and love Subarus! I live in California and have found that no matter what kind of Subaru you drive, any time you come upon another Subaru owner, they are always willing to show you the Subaru love. Everyone I encounter with another Subaru always throws a sideways peace sign to show the Subaru love. Some people go out of their way to honk just to make sure you see them so they can show you the love!

Denise Landi, NY

No reason to limit it to only the Outback. Why not a “thumbs up” when we pass any Subaru. It is no kept secret that Subarus are excellent vehicles.

Cynthia, OH

We Outback owners truly do need our own secret handshake to acknowledge each other in passing. Since Subaru evokes love in us all, there is no question to me that the secret handshake should be the sign language symbol for “I love you” with the thumb, index, and pinky fingers extended while the middle two fingers remain bent toward the palm.

M.F. Huntington, Prairie Village, KS

There can be no other choice. It’s got to be a fist – held out the window (as if to bump together in greeting) or straight up through the moon roof for the “Outback Power Salute!”

Susan and Allan Viner, Windsor, CT

How about the two-finger peace sign? Anything else may be misinterpreted.

Jennifer and Dave Case, Medina, OH

How about the serpentine arm wave? You can go three times for Su-bar-u – kind of like, “Keep rolling fellow Subaru owner! Enjoy your next adventure!”

Ruth Wendell, Binghamton, NY

I suspect that by now you have heard that the hand symbol shown in the Drive magazine is the International Sign Language (for deaf people) that means “I love you.” This is certainly not an exclusive message, but I can’t think of anything that could beat it.

Russell Duren

How about Fonzie’s “Ayyyyy!”?

Kenny Halla

We proud owners of WRXs usually give the peace sign, a simple nod, or a full-blown wave. I don’t believe we have a “secret handshake.” It’s more for members of a community acknowledging each other and the love for our cars. Maybe there should be a Subaru secret handshake? We can make an S with our hands, although some might consider it a gang sign! Ha, the Subaru gang.

Anna Black, Fort Wayne, IN

Why only Outback drivers? Shouldn’t all of us who drive any kind of Subaru be included in this fraternal-like secret society identification ritual? Or should we Forester owners have our own club? Just asking ...

Nathan Murphy

Ultimately, this shouldn’t be limited to just the Outback. All Subaru owners should be happy to salute their fellow Subaru drivers with a simple, friendly acknowledgement. I say keep it simple and just use a closed fist. A closed fist represents the letter S in American sign language. There are many aspects of a Subaru that could be represented by the letter S, depending on what it means to you. Here are some.

  • Subaru
  • Share the love
  • Smart
  • Solid
  • Simple
  • Safe
  • Symmetrical AWD
  • STI

Lydia Rieger, Audubon, PA

I thought we should combine the two signs for star and car into one sign. The trouble is both signs use two hands, and we don’t want people to take their hands off the wheels while giving the secret handshake. So we could do a variation with one hand. The sign for stars is taking your two index fingers and shooting them alternately in the air in front of you with your palms facing away from you. The sign for car is just miming the motion of driving a car – your two fists moving up and down alternately. So, I thought we could take one hand, make a fist, bring it up around an imaginary steering wheel, and, as the fist nears the top of the wheel, point the index finger out and bend the whole hand and arm down the other side of the wheel, kind of like a disco move but your whole hand and arm move in an arc. I would check first to see if there are any ASL signs like this since we don’t want to confuse or offend any hearing-impaired people!

Sharon Heidlebaugh, Lancaster, PA

Carrying on the theme of the stars: Show your hand up with all five fingers then all but the pointer finger down to show that Subarus are #1.

Ashley Greene, Chicago, IL

Since owning/driving a Subaru is all about “love,” the obvious answer would of course be the hand signal for love!

Emily Caveney

Make an O out of your left hand by curling all your fingers and bringing your thumb up to touch the fingernails. Then make the letter S for Subaru, of course, in the air above the steering wheel. It would be a fun to make an O in the air, too, but I prefer the flair of the S.


My vote goes to using the peace sign when two Subie Outbacks pass!

Robert Tesoriero, Middletown, CT

We Impreza guys/gals just wave or honk when passing each other. No need to get silly with it. It’s a cool feeling passing someone with the same car and having them wave.

Michael Marshall

My suggestion for the Outback owners’ secret handshake/hand signal is for the thumb and forefingers curled around in the shape of an O, similar to the O in sign language, and moved up and down several times to indicate the Outback's excellence.

John and Jennie Flanery

Like the hand sign you give when you see a Franz bread truck (for all us Oregonians): We remember as kids going to the factory for the tour, and then at the end they would give you the baby-size loaf of hot, fresh bread and tell you that every time you see a Franz truck, you make a circle in your hand like a donut hole and wave it at the truck. So the shake is an O with your thumb and first finger and then the rest of your three fingers wave or move up and down and a hello, kind of like rabbit ears moving.

Jim Caswell, Moline, IL

As a universal greeting between all Subaru drivers, I suggest the “Thumbs Up” symbol; i.e., a closed fist with the thumb extending upward. This symbol was widely used by our military, especially pilots, in World War II. Hundreds and hundreds of photographs of our troops picture this. It portrays several different messages, including “all’s well,” “well done,” “good luck,” “way to go,” “have a safe trip,” and even as a greeting of hello and goodbye. It is universally known and understood.

Erik Stroehlein, New Hope, PA

I love the idea of an Outback wave, but should include all Subaru owners. I’m thinking a mix of the love/peace wave and queen wave, thumb, index and pinkie fingers up and then twist at the wrist.

Carol Vanderbuerg, Kalamazoo

When I owned another “rugged” vehicle, we did a casual wave by placing the heel of the hand at the 11:00 position on the steering wheel and making a slight move to the left as we passed one another. Certainly we Subaru-ers can do as well.

Cathy Price, Costa Mesa, CA

Point all the fingers forward like you are holding an invisible ball, and then move your fingers as if you were playing something fast on the piano. I guess the thumb becomes the big star.


Jeep owners also have a wave they do. With their hands on the wheel they raise two fingers. My suggestion is to replicate that only with other Subaru owners.



Three-Time, Long-Mileage Subaru Driver

My first Subaru AWD Wagon was a 1.8-liter 1989, which ran until 344,000 miles.

My second Subaru was a 1994 AWD L wagon, which ran until 314,000 miles.

My current AWD Legacy is a 2000 model with only 289,000 miles. Just recently I turned in my 2000 Legacy for a (new to me) 2005 Forester. My last two Subaru vehicles were purchased from Anchor Subaru in North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Michael Kiely
Norwood, MA

A Love Story

My husband, Steve Scholz, and I both drive Subarus. I have a 2003 Outback with 75,000 miles, and Steve has a 2002 Impreza with 150,000 miles. We will probably buy Steve another Subaru in the near future, possibly an Outback or Forester. This is my fourth Subaru and Steve’s first Subaru.

Steve and I first met in June of 2003 on a ski club’s bike ride. I then bought my Outback in July 2003. A couple of weeks later, I was on another ski club’s bike ride from Vail, Colorado, to Breckenridge, Colorado. Steve was also on that ride, and he caught up with me around Frisco, Colorado. We finished the ride together into Breckenridge.

I told him that I had just bought my 2003 Outback. He said that he was wanting to buy a Subaru, too. I told him that I could help him to find one and could give him the phone number of my salesperson.

We exchanged phone numbers and e-mail addresses and started to keep in touch. Steve found his 2002 Impreza in October after going to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to buy it used. It was tough to find one in Colorado!

We started to date each other in January 2004, fell in love, and were married in August 2005! Here is the Subaru wedding getaway car.

So a discussion about a recent Subaru purchase and wanting to buy a Subaru put this couple together!

We are avid alpine skiers, hikers, bikers, and Steve is also a runner. So our Subarus take us on all of our adventures.

See how owning a Subaru can lead two people to fall in love?

Cyndy Gal Scholz
Centennial, CO

How Many?

My wife, Ellen, and I began our Subaru journeys in Brooklyn, New York, with a 1982 GL wagon. We bought it just after our son, Daniel, was born. For 12 years we ran all around the Northeast in it with Dan and his sisters, Elise and Julianne, who we welcomed in 1985 and 1988. While we had our GL, Ellen’s parents bought one, and two friends followed suit.

Years passed, and when our son, Daniel, went off to college at Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in wintry Troy, New York, we decided that an all-wheel drive Sube would be a good idea. We found him a used but posh 1998 Impreza coupe (with leather seats!). He used that car through college and took it with him when he graduated and got a job in Everett, Washington, where it ran like a top up into the Cascades and Olympic Mountains for hiking and snowshoeing trips. He has a replacement, a new 2009 WRX.

Elise decided on RPI, too, and by sophomore year, we decided she, too, should have something safe and reliable to drive. We found her a used 2000 Forester, which she promptly named “Hunter,” both for its green color and the ammo the detailer missed when he prepped the car. She drove that car up and down the East Coast from Florida to Canada at every opportunity. With 150,000 miles under his belt, Hunter is leaving the family, but will be headed for new adventures in New Hampshire. Why? Elise just bought her first new car, a 2009 Outback Sport.

Let’s not forget Julianne. A friend of the family had a 1995 Impreza, and after bringing the odometer up to 165,000 miles had decided to move on. As a result, Julianne received a Sube as a gift. “Commander Cranky Pants” (named for the toy soldiers and battleship we found in his rear fender well) served as a good car to learn with. When Julianne made the unexpected decision to attend RPI as well, we knew our third child would be headed north, too. So three years ago we set her Impreza out to pasture and purchased a younger 2001 Forester S Premium with only 30,000 miles on it.

What about us? When 2004 was coming to an end, Ellen and I decided on Subarus for ourselves. We leased a 2005 Forester XS and a 2005 Legacy 2.5i Limited. Those leases came due late in 2008, and we have treated ourselves to a 2009 Forester Limited and a 2009 Legacy GT.

That’s our nine Subarus – and counting.

Art Shapiro

49 Subaru Vehicles and Counting

I am writing to you today to express our appreciation with Subaru. This August will be 25 years that my parents bought their first Subaru, and it has been nothing but Subarus ever since, not just for my parents, but for my family as well as both of my sisters’ families. In 1984, my parents began looking for a new family car that had to be dependable, affordable, and able to haul the whole family around. It also had to be great in any kind of weather and good on gas, as my Mom took a job that was a 40-mile daily round trip over mountains and twisty roads. After taking the advice of a friend of the family who was already a very enthusiastic Subaru owner, my parents bought a new 1984 GL Wagon. It surpassed every expectation of what they thought a good family car should be.

My sisters and I literally grew up with Subarus. One by one, when each of us turned 16, there was no question what we’d be driving, and, really, we had no desire to drive anything else. The safety and reliability that our parents’ Subarus instilled in us gave us, and our parents, peace of mind when we began to drive. There are enough things to worry about when a new, young driver hits the road. It was comforting that, for us, the car we were driving wasn’t one of them. I passed this peace of mind on to my wife when I taught her how to drive while we were still dating. She, too, has been driving nothing but Subarus ever since.

Your commercials with the “Love” Subaru owners have toward their cars ... that’s real. All of our Subarus have been like part of the family. Since 1984, we have had 49 Subarus between us and have driven well over 4 million miles all together. All of them were our daily drivers at one time or another, and they all performed as well as we’d come to expect, if not better. Some were bought to replace ones that served their time; others were bought because the deal was just too good to pass up; but all were bought without worry or hesitation. We became loyal to Subaru because, in a sense, our Subarus have been loyal to us from the very start, never disappointing.

It’s simple. We trust Subaru. We trust Subaru with the well-being of our parents, ourselves, our children, and our passengers each and every time we get behind the wheel. We do not think often about all of the engineering and safety features that go into each and every Subaru we have or ever had, but that in itself is comforting because we just know it’s there; we trust that it is there, knowing every person that gets into our cars is better off for it.

We will always be there for Subaru because Subaru has always been there for us.

Thank you for surpassing our expectations for the last 25 years.

Matt Scicchitano
Mount Carmel, PA

PS: Here is a list of all of our Subarus by order of their model year.

1981 4WD GL Wagon (4-speed)
1982 FWD Wagon
1983 FWD Wagon
1983 FWD Wagon
1983 4WD Wagon (4-speed)
1984 GL FWD Wagon
1984 FWD GL Sedan (5-speed) – 200,000+ miles
1984 4WD GL Turbo Coupe
1985 FWD GL Sedan
1985 4WD RX Sedan (5-speed)
1986 4WD GL Hatchback (4-speed)
1986 4WD Brat (4-speed)
1986 4WD GL-10 Sedan (5-speed)
1987 4WD GL Sedan
1987 4WD GL Wagon
1988 4WD GL Wagon
1988 4WD GL Wagon (5-speed)
1988 XT-6 (5-speed)
1988 XT-6
1990 Loyale 4WD Wagon
1991 Legacy Turbo Sedan (5-speed)
1991 Loyale FWD Sedan
1992 4WD Loyal Wagon
1993 Legacy Sedan
1993 Legacy Sedan – 200,000+ miles
1993 Impreza Sedan – 200,000+ miles
1993 Impreza Sedan (5-speed)
1993 Turbo Legacy Sedan (5-speed)
1996 Legacy LS Wagon
1996 Legacy Lsi Wagon
1997 Legacy GT Wagon
1997 Legacy Outback Ltd
1997 Legacy Outback
1999 Legacy Outback
1998 Legacy Outback Ltd
1998 Legacy GT Ltd
1998 Impreza RS
1999 Forester S
2000 Outback
2000 Outback Ltd Sedan
2002 Outback Ltd Sedan (6-cylinder)
2002 Outback Ltd Sedan (6-cylinder)
2002 Impreza WRX Wagon
2004 Legacy Outback
2005 Legacy GT Limited Sedan
2005 Outback Limited Sedan (6-cylinder)
2006 Legacy GT Limited Sedan (5-speed)
2007 Legacy 2.5i Wagon (5-speed)
2008 Outback Wagon