By on December 15, 2014

15 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Ah, the Subaru BRAT. Just as you can’t find anyone who hates The Ramones, you can’t find anyone who wants to beat on the Subaru BRAT with a baseball bat. As perhaps the best-loved car that shows up in self-service wrecking yards with any regularity, the BRAT always inspires me to whip out my camera when I see a junked example. So far this series, we’ve admired this ’79, this ’79, this ’84, this ’82, and this Sawzall-ized ’86 crypto-BRAT.
04 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOnly 88,288 miles! I found this car in a well-stocked yard just north of Los Angeles, not too far from the ranch where Ronald Reagan drove his BRAT. Yes, Midwesterners, that means that you’re looking at a low-mile 32-year-old Japanese car without the slighest speck of rust on its body… and it’s going to be crushed, shredded, put in a container in Long Beach, and shipped to China to make Emgrand EC7s.
10 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt has the “Twin-Halo” roof option.
05 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinA time-capsule early-80s Radio Shack cassette deck, complete with the coveted auto-stop feature!
06 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow many BRATs were made with factory air conditioning?
18 - 1982 Subaru BRAT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou can see evidence of a camper shell on this one. Poor doomed BRAT.

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61 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1982 Subaru BRAT...”


  • avatar
    Occam

    If they brought back the Baja for another round, I’d buy one in a heartbeat. There seems to be a limited market for these types of cars to pop up every 15-20 years, once everyone who wanted one has worn the last one out.

    • 0 avatar
      mingo

      I’d be in for a Baja in a heartbeat right now as long as a it has a 5 foot bed. Instead, I’m looking at a midsized truck, which I really don’t need. I just want an open bed to transport my motorcycle. I remember the Brat very well and always wished I had one back then, as a I had a ’81 Subaru GL.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It can’t be that hard to find one of those in good condition today, they aren’t that old!

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Ahhhh, the elusive Lexus ES250.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I wanted one of these in the worst ways, the “T-Top” would have cinched the deal making this a real unicorn

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    For us, the great uneducated, what is evidence of a camper shell? I want to know what to look for.

  • avatar
    JTH

    If I recall correctly, the camper shell for these was called a Brat Hat

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    El pulpo…sun valley.

  • avatar

    I would have pulled that Realistic tape deck. Looks exactly like the one I had in high school. The sound wasn’t great, but it was decent for 1987.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It looks very solidly made.

      • 0 avatar
        Boff

        I had a Realistic clock radio that served me well from 6th grade through 3 university degrees and my first years of marriage. More than 20 years.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          .
          I still have my 1967 Realistic ” Patrolman ‘ and (dang I forgot the Air Craft one’s name) AM/VHF pocket radios , they still work , use those wretched 9 volt batteries that go dead really fast .

          I also have a Realistic ” Weather Cube ” radio from 1971 or so , my Mother didn’t want it anymore so I schlepped it to California and it works great , has terrible sounds quality due to it’s 2″ speaker though .

          Keep it in the kitchen and press the weather bar to hear what the NWS has to say whilst kitting up in the morning .

          I also remember Radio Shack in the early 1960’s before Tandy leather Corp. bought and ru9ned them , all jammed full of War Surplus rig much of which was top quality and worked on the AM or HAM bands .

          -Nate

  • avatar
    skor

    Radio Shack from back in the day when the sold more than cell phone accessories.

    • 0 avatar
      anti121hero

      I have an original 1993 radioshack catalog. It’s a blast to read through it and look at all the cool stuff they used to sell. Actual electronic components for a good price. Quality stereos and radios and such. I actually was a manager of a radioshack right around the cell phone take over. Stocks plummeted, sales dropped, customers dwindled. No matter how much I fought my district and regional managers there was no stopping what became of the place. Extremely surprised they are still in business.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I have a Chronomatic 238 clock-radio at work that must be around 35 years-old; “Battery Sentinel” low-battery (backup) indicator and all. I would have kept it at home when I started working “for real” out of college 21 years ago, but wanted a clock and desk radio; I used the radio one month a year to listen to Christmas music on a local station. I say “used” because this year, the radio failed! (The volume control has been “static” for several years — likely dirty contacts.)

        Amazing that there’s a sticker on the thing stating to “bring the product into your local Radio Shack for repairs!” I’ll bet the thing COULD be repaired with the right parts.

        So much better than the disposable Chinese junk you’re forced to buy today!

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I have a pair of almost 40-year-old Realistic speakers–the big wooden case speakers with crossover circuitry for improved sound. Had to replace the woofers back in the early ’90s with better ones using a fabric surround rather than those easily-rotted foam ones. They sound a lot better than anything they offer now and honestly sound better than most of what’s available at the big electronics stores. Won’t give ’em up ’til they die.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            At one time, before they decided to chase volume, Infinity was a quality speaker brand. I have a pair of Kappa 5.1 IIs from that time, and I feel the same way about them. Surprisingly, the woofer surrounds have held up so far, although the speakers will hit 20 years old next year.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          .
          ” I say “used” because this year, the radio failed! (The volume control has been “static” for several years — likely dirty contacts.)” Bongo ~

          This is usually an easy fix , get some contact cleaner and spray it in the affected switch as you turn it up and down , power OFF of course .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Yes. The LEDs in the display have dimmed a bit, but I would imagine that a little work with a soldering gun could fix those, as well.

            Might have to make this a little project for 2015–who knows!

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Radio Shack has been missing opportunities for decades. At one point Radio Shack was selling more desk top computers than anyone. A lot of their software was supplied by a little company called Microsoft. Unfortunately, the suits at RS saw desk tops as just another fad to be exploited, like CB radios. Had they been a bit more astute, all our laptops, tablets and smart phones would have ‘TRS-80’ logos on them now.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          They made a major mistake with the TRS-80 by making it a sealed product when the technology was advancing so quickly. Even Apple had a relatively open architecture at the time which let the user upgrade the Apple II series and even the Mac for a while. The TRS-80 was never internally upgradeable.

          • 0 avatar
            skor

            Yes, because the people running Radio Shack didn’t see it for what it was. To them it was just the latest electronic fad, to be exploited and discarded for the next fad.

        • 0 avatar
          WildcatMatt

          Oh, if we’re going to go down the “if only” route with the TRaSh-80, allow me to invoke the Amiga 4000. All our devices should have the Commodore “chickenhead” on them!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            On the other hand, Amiga was an amazingly capable machine that simply lost out to the ubiquity of Windows and didn’t get the chance to recover the way Apple did. I am aware of several attempts to revive the brand (and its basic platform) and also aware of several artists who insist on only using their old Amigas due to their ease of use and reliability. I don’t know of any equally-old Windows boxes in daily use like that.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    Yes the Subaru Brat! In 1986 my wife brought a new 1986 Subaru and i brought a new 1986 VW GTI. A tale of two cars. Both were serviced by the book. The Subaru went thru 2 fuel pumps, 1 voltage regulator, various oil leaks, & 1 rusted exhaust Y pipe that Subaru wanted $1,400.00 to replace. The final straw was loosing all its Anti freeze and oil in a local shopping center. (78,000 miles) After having the “thing” towed home and spending a weekend pulling the engine and replacing all the gaskets plus a new clutch i noticed the body was ready to fall apart from the rust bug. Put an ad in the local paper and washed my hands of it. The parts were not cheap and the dealer was the worst i have ever come across. The VW on the other hand was driven to NYC for seven years and the only thing to be replaced were the front struts. I had 78,000 miles on the car when my buddy gave me $7,000.00 for it. He used the car for 10 years running it up to 189,000 miles with only a clutch, various brake pads and an exhaust system. He let all 4 of his kids use the car and after they married they all brought their own VW’s. That Brat was the first and last Subaru we will ever buy. Have owned various other makes since then but seem to always go back to VW.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      Older Subarus tend to be on the flaky side. I had an ’89 RX for a year and it was pretty problematic. My current ’12 WRX, on the other hand, has been quite reliable. Aside from a few minor niggles fixed by the dealer under warranty it’s been doing it’s thing for 3 years and 50K miles just fine. Of course it’s next to stock with only a couple of minor mods and I do take care of it so that might explain it.

      Various VWs of people I know, however, were nothing but major trouble all over, especially Jettas. I own a VW too – a ’72 Beetle but it’s a car from another era so can’t compare it to new ones.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    If you switch the climate control to B/L mode, the car becomes a British Leyland model and stops working immediately.

  • avatar

    I wish companies would start making plaid seats again. I mean, other than the VW GTI.

    After all, flannel is coming back in style, what with the lumbersexuals.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    “How many had factory A/C”?

    None – in ’82 it was a dealer-installed option. My first car was an ’82 4DR GL, with said dealer-installed A/C. Hand-me-down from Grandma, at age 4 (the car, not me). At 17, I hooned that thing like no car has ever been hooned before. Did you know that generation Subaru boxer motor will survive having the tach needle wound off the dial on a regular basis? They couldn’t figure out how I went through a set of tires and brake pads in 15K miles… :-) It is amazing I lived through that period of my life.

    • 0 avatar
      MrFixit1599

      I had an 81 GL. Ran all of the local junkyards out of used tires for it. That engine would not blow up. Reverse donuts for days, go fast in reverse, push the clutch in, slam it into first and drop the clutch. Never let off the gas. Its a wonder i survived that car. Eventually ramped it once too many times, and gave it to a buddy since i thought it was totaled. Him and his brother fixed it somehow and he drove it for another couple years until the clutch finally went. Did you know you could run that motor without a radiator? just don’t let it idle too long. Several years later had an 84 BRAT after that, with the T-Tops. Didn’t drive it as hard, older and wiser, rust finally took it’s toll.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    .
    Forget The Treasures Of Sierra Madre ~ Murlee has discovered The Treasures of Sun Vally , Ca. !

    There are two large Self Service Junk Yards all back to back there , plus the parent Company Aadlen Brothers Inc.

    ” Dos Pendejos ” is the larger and better of the two , I have been seeing cherry Brat’s in there for decades .

    This one looks too nice for scrapping , at least it got cherry picked .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I like a little rust on my BRAT.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    You are so right about the rust free body.
    Obviously stuff can stay on the road out there as long as you’re willing to buy the parts and wrench on the mechanicals.

  • avatar
    Q

    I really dug these as a kid, and this scene, in The Manhattan Project, made them even cooler for me:

    http://youtu.be/FpX-EhNfDzY

    Can’t remember the last time I saw one in the wild.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I remember these as a kid and before I was driving. My friends and I always thought they looked funny. You would never see these now with seats in the bed, but at the time they were the only cool part of the car.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The T-top hatches, aka“Halo Twin Roof” on these held up incredibly well. The seal was tight and they never leaked. If only the tops on GM F and G-Bodies were as well designed.

    Reagan drove one. I’m surprised the opposition research folks in other campaigns never called him out. You could imagine the ads “Gov Reagan drives a Japanese vehicle? Remember Pearl Harbor!” Though by the time he ran in 76 and 80 the antipathy toward buying a Japanese vehicles by the some of the WWII generation but mainly the post-war boomers had declined.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Fascinating reading here ~

    I know bupkis about Audio Equipments but my Brother was a sound Engineer for many years and he gave me a really nice pair of ‘ Advent ‘ speakers that make my crappy old stereo sound great .

    -Nate


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