For the Love
of Subaru

12/15/2017

14.3

For 20 years, Subie Gal Jamie Cavett and her husband, Gary, have poured their souls into their classic Subaru vehicles.

It’s a bold statement, but it’s probably safe to say that Seattleites Jamie and Gary Cavett are the First Couple of Classic Subaru.

This 2001 2.5-liter Impreza RS, Jamie’s summer car, features mods such as a Japanese-spec interior and coilover suspension.
This 2001 2.5-liter Impreza RS, Jamie’s summer car, features mods such as a Japanese-spec interior and coilover suspension.

Their well-groomed stable is a mixture of mobile museum pieces, daily drivers and rally cars. “I’ve been a Subaru nerd forever,” says Jamie, whose license plate on her summer ride, a 2001 2.5-liter Impreza RS, reads “SUBIGAL.”

The Cavetts’ collection includes two 1970 FF-1 coupes. Fuji, left, had no interior, engine or exhaust when the couple began restoring it. They’re currently restoring Barn Find, on the right, to 100 percent spec.
The Cavetts’ collection includes two 1970 FF-1 coupes. Fuji, left, had no interior, engine or exhaust when the couple began restoring it. They’re currently restoring Barn Find, on the right, to 100 percent spec.

Among the couple’s more impressive vehicles are two 1970 FF-1 coupes – two of five known examples in the United States. One of them, a recently completed restoration nicknamed Fuji, is a best-in-class contender. But the pièce de résistance is Stanley, a blazing red 1970 Sambar Van, which has its own Instagram feed. “He’s all about smiles, just making people smile,” says Jamie. “Even if they’re not car people, they get it. They just start smiling and laughing when they see him.”

Both Jamie and Gary came to love Subaru through their passion for rally racing. Gary got into it in the 1970s, before he was old enough to drive, poring over car magazines for news of the sport out of Europe. 

Jamie caught the bug 20 years ago, when she laid eyes on famed driver Paul Eklund’s competition-ready Subaru at a vintage race. She’d gone to the event to buy a sway bar for the car she’d recently purchased, a 1999 Legacy GT. But she left with something besides the car part: the feeling that she was beginning to see the light.

Jamie’s daily driver, a 2007 Forester XT Sports, features a stock engine with coilovers, exhaust and brake mods.
Jamie’s daily driver, a 2007 Forester XT Sports, features a stock engine with coilovers, exhaust and brake mods.

“My mind was blown,” says Jamie. She spotted a flier for an upcoming rally and jumped in with both feet. “The very first car came by, and I went, ‘I’m doing this.’ Seeing the Subaru cars coming around the corner, kicking up dirt and gravel … it was so primitive and raw, and everyone there was so earthy. It was just fun to be around. It was amazing. I couldn’t get enough of it.”

Complete with an STI engine swap, this 1995 Impreza is Gary’s rally vehicle of choice.
Jamie uses this 2002 WRX as her rally car; in 2008, she carried it to victory in the Wagons Ho! Rally in Oregon.

Three years later, Jamie began her racing career in a 1.8-liter Impreza, finishing 2nd in the SCCA ProRally national championship. In 2003, she began rallying her custom-built WRX, collecting wins and regional championships over the years. While she isn’t rallying as much these days, she will participate in a few future rally events and continue to focus on car restoration.

The collection, currently standing at 11 vehicles, is amazing, but it’s far from finished. The couple’s future plans include a trip to Japan to uncover the next rare model for their fleet of collector cars.

The Cavetts’ 1970 360 Sedan has only 7,800 miles on the odometer and recently underwent exterior painting and reassembling for its first car show.
This 1970 Sambar Truck, nicknamed Dirty Truck, was rescued from overgrown bushes and underwent a year and a half of restoration work.

The journey, however, has been about far more than cars, and Jamie can’t resist sharing one more anecdote: “The first time I went to Gary’s house, I saw two Subaru cars, a bunch of Subaru memorabilia, Subaru posters and banners all over the wall. I was like, ‘This guy is great!’ And that was that.”

“I don’t remember it as vividly as she does,” says Gary. “It’s my garage, so …”

“Hey, it worked out!” Jamie chimes in. “It’s nice that we have really similar passions. Having the Subaru thing in common, we’re bonded by that; we love working hard toward a goal together.”

Jamie and Gary Cavett with their collection of Subaru vehicles.
Jamie and Gary Cavett with their collection of Subaru vehicles.