I Bought a Subaru BRAT

Well… I bought a Subaru Brat for 500 bones, and it might have been a mistake. Let’s see where I go with it.

Now, I’ve never really had my hands on a Subaru before, and I’ve got to say… This think is really weird. Subaru guys please feel free to chime in with what you think I should do. I probably won’t do it, but I’d like idea’s.

Cost (USD)

  • 500 - Brat 03/04/22
  • 137.09 - Carpet, blue 03/08/22
  • 10.95 - Radiator cap 03/10/22
  • 9.90 - Thermostat + gasket 03/11/22

Total: $657.94

To Do

  • Carpet install
  • Engine replace
  • Check vent pipes for more grossness
  • Windshield replacement
  • Tires
  • Weber
  • Wiring troubleshooting
  • Install A/C

Spare tire put on
Fuel drained
Fuel system flushed
Carpet removed
Seats removed
1st start


Year - 1985
Engine - 1.8L, Boxer 4, 81hp
Trans - 4 speed manual, with FWD, 4WD, and 4WD low section lever.
Curb waight - 2,000 lbs


Look at all these cursed vacuum lines…

I’m cleaning it up now.


Subaru Ambassador here.

Umm, while it’s cool to have a brat, but from the looks of it, it’s a money pit and probably worth scrap metal, unless you are handy with major body and metal work, and swapping the engine (assuming it isnt running.)

Tinker with it all you want, but without the skill or cash to have professionals fix it up or buy used parts to swap out.

Shouldve looked elsewhere for a brat. This is what, a late 70’s, early 80’s?


Not to worry, it’s very unlikely this car throws something at me that I can’t handle.

I’ve done quite a few large projects including 4 automatic to manual swaps.
I’ve since passed this truck onto my father, but here’s a build I was posting here.
Expand the “S10 4 door manual swap” section if you want to see how deep I can get.

I will say, I’ve not really rebuilt an engine, but that’s not something I’m scared of.

This is a care free project car.

This is a 1985 which does bring up emissions, so I have to keep that in mind when planning this project.

That’s what I was getting at.

Something that’s interesting to me, as a Nissan guy, Subaru must have used the exact same plastic in it’s interior work, that blue is the EXACT same hue as my old 1986 720 king cab hardbody I drove in HS. FYI if anyone has one with a 4cyl engine manual trans, and needs a kidney, I’ll trade. Not even joking.


That wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve noticed extremely similar looking parts to my 89 Mazda 323 on theses older Japanese cars.

yeah it’s the small stuff, like the temp adjustment knob, and the vents and knobs on the steering column. I love old Jap 80s stuff.

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Get the body cleaned up then ej20 turbo swap

I’d sell a kidney for an old 75 Fairlady.


Yup, yup. Push pull door lock, window cranks.

I also really like the 80s Jap cars. You get some fun digital gauge clusters too.

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that and a manual trans, LESS STUFF TO BREAK.

I don’t know if I’d call those old digital dashes reliable, but they’re still cool to me.
Yeah, I’d run from any 80s auto. Lol


yeah it’s just trucks for me. Maybe it’s just my nostalgia goggles?

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If emissions worry you, there’s a guy on the interwebs that converted an old US Army Hummer into full electric drive. Essentially it comes down to gutting an old Nissan Leaf and transplanting it into your car.

Just my 2 cents! (not Jay2cents, not him :stuck_out_tongue: )

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Well thas a name I haven’t heard, for cold minute… Looks like a fair bit of work ahead
Wonder if an EJ20/25, would have same mounting points, in case that flat4 has seen better days
Best of luck, nonetheless

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Hahaha I was looking at the pictures and I was thinking the same thing, because anyway I think at least everything would need to be disassemble first.

I remember having seen videos a 350Z tesla swapped, and I know there is garage in California which selling Tesla parts.

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I owned a Spark EV and a Leaf and I always thought about swapping the Spark’s drivetrain into other cars.

327 ft-lb would be very nice in this little brat.

I want it to be manual, and make vroom noises, so at best it would be a hybird (which I’m considering)

Great find! We have one sitting in a paddock out on the farm waiting for some TLC. It looks a bit better than yours though…

Besides trying to keep it “original”, a K-swap is always a good cheap option, that is, getting a K series honda engine and throwing it in, the v-tec works a treat on light cars. And more power than this thing was ever expecting…

Start with fixing the body and see what engine options come along ?

Keep the updates coming!!!

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If I engine swap it I want to put either a:
Rotary (Subaru Brap)
Yamaha R1 engine (200hp, 1L, and a very rare crossplain i4 configuration, so it sounds closer to a v8 than an i4)
Yamaha built, Volvo v8 (311hp, 4.4L, and all aluminum. Designed to fit where Volvo i5 engines would fit, so it’s compact and light)

Gonna be honest I think you’ll get more reliably out of the v8

The R1 is hella cool don’t get me wrong

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