Junkyard Find: 1979 Subaru BRAT

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Where 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.

Yes, the personal-injury lawyers loved these seats, but they let Subaru evade the 25% tariff on imported light trucks.

Remember AOL CD spam? This car still has one!

It’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.

Corn stopped by.

The condition of the seats and the AOL disc suggest lengthy outdoor storage of a nondriving vehicle.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • MrFixit1599 MrFixit1599 on Nov 12, 2014

    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.

    • -Nate -Nate on Nov 13, 2014

      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 ? . -Nate

  • Olydoug Olydoug on Nov 13, 2014

    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.

  • Ronin Let's see the actuals first, then we can decide using science.What has been the effect of auto pollution levels since the 70s when pollution control devices were first introduced? Since the 80s when they were increased?How much has auto pollution specifically been reduced since the introduction of hybrid vehicles? Of e-vehicles?We should well be able to measure the benefits by now, by category of engine. We shouldn't have to continue to just guess the benefits. And if we can't specifically and in detail measure the benefits by now, it should make a rational person wonder if there really are any real world benefits.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Simply put, I like it.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Ah GM, never stop being you. GM is working hard to make FIAT look good.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Top Gear of the 2000's was a fresh concept and very well done. Sadly to say there isn't a TV show concept that doesn't eventually exhaust fresh ideas and, as a result, begins to rehash and wear out once were fresh ideas. The show eventually becomes a pale imitation of itself, then begins to embarrass itself, it will get to a point where it jumps the shark. Top Gear began to get stale, the Clarkson, Hammond and May left and the formula failed - surprise! the presenters were part of the magic. Fast forward many years and Grand Tower is trying hard to be Top Gear but it's all very obviously scripted (it always was by felt spontaneous in its original form), Clarkson, Hammond and May are much older, tired and have become caricatures of themselves. Guys, just stop. You should have stopped 10 years ago. Now you're just screwing with your reputations and legacies.
  • FreedMike Kudos to Toyota for making a legitimately slick looking piece (particularly in metallic cherry red). But PHEVs seem like a very narrow niche to me. Yes, the concept is cool - if you play your cards right you never have to fill up with gas, and the gas engine means you don't have to worry about charging facilities - but the operative words are "if you play your cards right." And PHEVs have all the drawbacks of EVs - spotty charging availability, decreased range in cold conditions, and higher price. Personally, I'd opt for a non plug-in Prius and use the plug-in money to upgrade the trim level. It's slower, but even the base Prius performs roughly on par with a Corolla or Civic, so it's not a dog anymore. But who buys a Prius to go fast in the first place? If I wanted to "go gas free," I'd just buy a BEV. YMMV, of course.