By on November 12, 2014

19 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWhere I live (Denver), wrecking yards overflow with old Subarus. I walk past junked early-80s Leones (or GLs or whatever Subaru’s confusing naming conventions of the era were) all the time, but I’ll always stop and photograph a BRAT. So far in this series, the BRAT roster includes this ’79, this ’84, this ’82, and this Sawzall-converted ’86. Last week, I spotted another example, and it still had its Chicken Tax-dodgin’ jump seats.
02 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, the personal-injury lawyers loved these seats, but they let Subaru evade the 25% tariff on imported light trucks.
14 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinRemember AOL CD spam? This car still has one!
10 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s somewhat rusty (I know, Midwesterners, you don’t consider this to be true rust), but could have been kept on the road a while longer.
15 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCorn stopped by.
17 - 1979 Subaru BRAT Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe condition of the seats and the AOL disc suggest lengthy outdoor storage of a nondriving vehicle.

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50 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1979 Subaru BRAT...”

  • avatar

    The fact that this Subaru rusted in Denver speaks volumes. Doesn’t matter, I always liked the BRAT and hope we see something similar here (Canada/US) sometime again soon

  • avatar

    Wow! Those hubcaps!

  • avatar

    Hounds-tooth vinyl seats! Graph paper hubcaps! Truck bed jump seats! AOL!

    Truly there’s nothing wrong with this car. It’s just adorably derpy and modern.

  • avatar

    I can’t believe now that the vehicle that I wanted most when I was 19 was a Subaru Brat. In my head, I imagined a vehicle that combined the price and fuel economy of a small Japanese car with the utility of a pick-up and the off-road fun of a Jeep. The Brat was heavier than the equivalent Subaru car, which was marginally powered in the first place, so the reality of the Brat was that it was a really slow vehicle that didn’t get great gas mileage, had a marginally useful pick-up bed and didn’t go off-road very often. It also wasn’t particularly cheap. I ended up getting a Nissan Sentra Hatchback as my first new car a couple years later. It was cheaper, faster (11.9 seconds 0-60, wow), nicer inside, and returned much better MPG. You could put the seat down and lie down in the back of it, which made it great for road trip adventures.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Corn has invented a new verb: “stope.” I stoped by. Is stoping like shtupping?

    Stope you and the BRAT you drove in…in.

  • avatar

    Surprised that the jump seats are still there. The cracks across the seat bottoms may have prevented someone from wanting to snatch them up.

    I say revive it with as little investment as possible, then relinquish it to farm duty. It needs tenderizing, followed by a much nobler death by hoonage.

  • avatar

    No need for seat belts when ya got Oh Sh!t handles

  • avatar

    LOVE the grid-style, flat face wheel covers from the 1985-1986 XT !!!

  • avatar

    This was the first Subaru I liked. I liked the seats in the bed, and the car looked more normal than Subarus until that time.

    I think this Subaru marks the beginning of the company’s rise. This year then can’t make enough. They’ve stayed pretty true to their ‘core’–all-wheel drive and flat fours.

    25 years ago, Honda/Acura and BMW had the most ‘character’. Now it seems to be Subaru.

    Who would have guess that Weird Japan, Inc, would rise to such heights?

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t intend this as a personal attack, but I cannot think of any Honda with ‘the most character’ for its age from any time period, except perhaps the sporty/sporty-ish ones like the S2000 and Del Sol. The new Cross-thingy has character, perhaps only because it is so butt ugly…which helps it stand out from the usual crop of Camcordimas, which are merely Bland.
      YMMV. I’d be glad to learn of Hondas that stood out.

      I do not represent their audience/market, but feel that Subaru has always had character (gobs of it, when compared to what else was sent to the USA from its homeland) and seemed willing to take risks more than other Japanese makers.

      • 0 avatar

        Cuff me for trolling, but I always liked those old Preludes.

        Hondas made some kick-ass cars, man.

        Course, supposin’ I’m a little biased.

        I just never got that “Honda’s are appliances” sort of attitude.

        Guess those same people have never tooled around in manual transmission Preludes or Accords, for that matter. They are most certainly phenomenal little vehicles.

        If you say they lack character because they’re well-built, intuitive, great values, and extremely competitive and efficient, then, well, I’ll just have to keep driving more vehicles which “lack character” then.

        • 0 avatar

          +1 on Prelude.

        • 0 avatar
          Domestic Hearse

          +2 Prelude. Had one in white, blue interior, manual. It was a great car. My girlfriend and now wife had the 240SX, in white with black interior, manual. Of the two, the Prelude was Swiss watch smooth and a bit faster, but the 240 was rowdy and more fun (until we moved north and we had to drive it in the snow, then not fun). You know, I’d like to go back 20 years and have both those cars again. And I wish Honda would bring back a Prelude successor. Something along the lines of the FR-S — with that Honda high revving motor and precision shifting manual.

      • 0 avatar

        If by character you mean standing out, then the 1st and 3rd generation Accords should count. The 2nd generation Prelude was a prop from a sci-fi movie compared to anything else on the road in 1984. The CRXs certainly stood out. The Element was full of original ideas and looked like a Rubbermaid dumpster. The 2006 Civic was far from expected and looked radical when it first hit the street. Selling a million and a half of them blunted the novelty. IMO, the biggest detriment to Hondas’ character is their ubiquity.

      • 0 avatar

        honda wagovan.

        • 0 avatar

          A couple years ago a Lady I knew smoked herself to death and left behind a 198? Honda Civic Wagovan with super low miles , they called me to ” get rid of it ” so I took it and scrubbed it squeaky clean , no one really wanted it ~ SWMBO told me to keep it as my Shop Truck as it was HUGE inside , amazingly so with the back seat folded flat , ice cold AC and so on , not for me thankyoverymuch .

          I time I dumped it to a co – worker’s idiot brother who’s shrew wife and bratty kids had it dented in every panel in three months ~ what do you expect when you allow a 12 year old to drive it to the Liquor Store for (350 #) Mom’s booze and cigarettes ? .

          It _was_ a very clever , well designed car though ~ I drove it ’round for a month or so whilst trying to sell it .


      • 0 avatar

        95 Acura Legend coupe, 91 Prelude… Honda made some bada** cars back then.

    • 0 avatar

      Hondas may sometimes look like appliances, but they usually don’t drive that way. Now, Toyotas…

      • 0 avatar

        It’s just shop talk Roberto .

        Hang ’round any Garage and you’ll hear the same gab I share here , how bodies melt in burning cars , the ASD pilots who crashed airships foolishly , fingers chopped off in an eyeblink blah blah blah .

        She was a nice lady and I miss her .

        Carbspirits stories are ever so much better IMO .


  • avatar

    Herman (?) Subaru? CU sticker? I’m guessing it was an out-of-state student’s car, driven in from some “downstream” state:

    “It’s no downstream beer. It’s no city beer. It’s Coors.”

  • avatar

    Corn! Last I heard he moved to Wichita and drives a cargo van. suriously

  • avatar

    Beat on the Brat.

  • avatar

    HEY! You`ve been slacking lately on the guages – How many miles? That is all.

  • avatar

    Corn! You get back here now! You owe me money!

    Don’t you get in that gravity wagon. Do y’all hear me? Don’t you go off to the grain elevator!

    Corn! How could you betray me!?

    (Kneeeling down, head pointed up in a light rain drizzle, with dramatic music playing)


    • 0 avatar

      Makes you wonder, don’t it. I did know a Corn in northwest Denver. I don’t know if he stoped by or not, but it sounds like something he’d do, even after cell phones.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t get it either. It could be anything. Heck, it could have been a prompt from English class.


        I stoped by corn in my Subaru. The night was young, and so was Clarissa. This was to be a night of magic! I opened the rusty door handle, and climbed into my steed. Jason and Sara hopped in the back. We were headed for the riverbanks in the woods….


        But, there’s no fun in that. Mocking dramatic movie scenes is much better ;-)

  • avatar

    Maybe Corn didn’t stop by. Maybe the note means, “I [unidentified individual] stopped by corn,” as in a cornfield or spill from a truck carrying cans of creamed corn.

    I wasn’t buying any cars back then, but I thought the Brat was pretty cool. For starters, how about that name?

    Never mind how the personal injury lawyers made out, those plastic jump seats, with their bone-jarring ride, were probably a boon to chiropractors.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      I think you and Matador are right. This was the first line of an epic poem…

      Stoping by Corn on a Snowy Evening

      Whose field this is, I think I know.
      His house is in the village though;
      He will not see me stoping here
      To watch his corn fill up with snow.

      My little BRAT must think it queer
      To stope without a farmhouse near
      Between the woods and frozen lake
      The darkest evening of the year.

      His thrumming boxer gives a shake
      To ask if there is some mistake.
      The only other sound’s the sweep
      Of easy wind and downy flake.

      The corn is lovely, tall, and deep.
      But I have promises to keep,
      And miles to go before I sleep,
      And miles to go before I sleep.

    • 0 avatar

      The note was probably a section of the author’s diary, in which he kept a travel log of his trip across Oklahoma.

      Corn, OK: Population in 2012: 500 (0% urban, 100% rural). Population change since 2000: -15.4%

  • avatar

    ” The people you create are always so desperate and bleak. ”

    Or , just realistic .

    I always thought these were cute little things, I never did get one , I remember when they were filling up the So. Cal. Self-Service Junk Yards , usually with nice paint and decent interiors .

    My Son is a total WRX Freak now , we looked at a really old Subaru 4 X 4 Wagon in the Scrapper Monday , he just shook his head and walked away .

    I grew up in Snow Country and anything 4 X 4 was good , tiny engines were not a problem ~ you just drove slower .


  • avatar

    I still want my ’84 BRAT back. 4WD, check. 5 speed manual, check. T-tops, check. Missing the jump seats, but it had the oddball topper on the back that I immediately removed, which is probably worth some money to someone today. Rust took it’s toll. Last I knew, BRAT was the most searched vehicle on EBAY, with the fewest results.

    • 0 avatar

      Who knew ? .

      Sadly , the So. Cal. Junk Yards used to be chock full of neat old vehicles just needing Mechanical refurbishment , no one wanted them when they were 10 ~ 20 years old .

      Now it’s Toyota Tercel 4X4 Wagons I see , as a Yankee Farm Boy this seems wasteful but what do I know ? .


  • avatar

    There’s one up the street that was just tagged by the city. Been there at the curb with a flat tire for several weeks. Same color but without the jump seats.

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