Junkyard Find: 1979 Subaru BRAT

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1979 subaru brat

I find many old Subarus in Colorado wrecking yards. So many, in fact, that I don’t bother to photograph most of them. Usually, it takes an XT or a third-eye-equipped Leone to get my attention. However, a BRAT, no matter how trashed, is a very rare Junkyard Find, and I reach for the camera right away.

The BRAT has a fanatical following, which means that most examples are worth more than scrap value. This ’79 is pretty terrible indeed, which means that even the most devoted BRAT worshipers took one look and passed.

67 not-so-screaming horsepower lived under the ’79 BRAT’s hood. This was considered perfectly adequate for a small pickup during the Malaise Era.

But wait— this is no pickup! In order to circumvent Lyndon Johnson’s Chicken Tax, Subaru threw a couple of seats in the back, using these brackets, and carpeted the bed. That transformed the BRAT into a passenger car! Hardly anybody kept those stunningly dangerous jump seats in place, so you seldom see them today.

You can tell a truly hopeless junkyard vehicle when you see the mark from an engine being stored atop the hood for years prior to getting scrapped. I’ll bet there was a bullet-riddled water heater carcass nearby.








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  • Michael Peerson Michael Peerson on May 22, 2012

    Oh I did notice last night as I was on USMB, that the doors of that BRAT now live on in another members car. And some other bits, but I still need that strut mount :)

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on May 23, 2012

    Anyone else remember how one of the band members drove one of these in the titles for "Kidd Video" before they were transported to the Flip Side? Also, wish there was a picture of the VIN plate on this one. These are rare enough that I don't have any idea what they look like!

  • Buickman GoneFast.
  • SCE to AUX I sat in a 200 in the showroom, and promptly walked away. The back seat was extremely awkward to ingress/egress, and the car was small inside.Turns out even Sergio agreed, and he was upset about it: https://www.carscoops.com/2016/01/sergio-marchionne-admits-that-chrysler/The attractive exterior hid a terrible car. Those early 9-spd autos were awful.
  • Pianoboy57 I've always thought the 300D was just about the perfect car. Mine would have been green like my current Outback is. Once upon a time there was a Volvo diesel at the nearby BHPH lot. Too bad nobody rescued that one. I did have the privilege of owning a TDI Sportwagen and I would have kept my 02 Passat if it had been a diesel wagon. A few years ago I used to see older TDI Passats for sale on CL by owners who claim to have taken good care of them. Too bad you can't get a diesel in an Outback.
  • ToolGuy "A 920-volt electric system is rumored to enable faster charging times than any EV on sale today." If you can find a compatible charger, that is??Differing voltage standards -- yet another way to slow down EV adoption.Engineers R Awesome™
  • SCE to AUX "without a must-have feature or selling point, the VF8 won't be top-of-mind for buyers"Yep, that's the problem with any new product, let alone an entire aspiring brand. I think they hoped the battery subscription would be a helpful distinctive, but they discovered that it was a negative instead.Perhaps they got their product launch guidance from Ford.
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