March 31, 2005
Hard to think it's been 5 months since anything got accomplished on the Brat. I'm replacing all fuel lines at the back, and have added a new fuel level sender as well, rewiring it all the way back to the main rear harness. With any luck, the fuel sender will work when I get gas back in the tank. I have added a spare set of Whiteline rear differential bushings to the rear differential outriggers, in the hopes of firming it up a bit. The stock bushings are 20 years old after all! Suprisingly, the same kit I used on my 2000 RS worked out great for the 1985 Brat as well. Who would have guessed?
Why a BRAT? Project BRAT began on August 9th, 2003 when I drove to Suffield Connecticut to pick the BRAT up from it's previous owner. In all actuality though, Project BRAT began sometime back in the summer of 1992, when I bought my first car (or light truck, or MPV, whatever moniker you appelate to the vehicle) a 1984 Subaru BRAT GL. It was an automatic, black, with full targa striping, a high white roll bar, and the jump seats still in the back. I put any variety of new parts in that particular BRAT- brakes, an axle, CV boots, a fuel sender, a transmission; I still to this day regret not putting an engine in that BRAT when it blew. That was the summer of 1994. I've been looking for another ever since, in good enough shape to restore. They are very rare, most of them are in Arizona or the Pacific Northwest (where, it seems, all good BRATs go to retire), and usually out of the budget for a 'project' type car. That brings us to August, 2003.
I happened upon a 1985 BRAT with a 4 speed manual FWD/4WD Lo/4WD Hi dual-range transmission (pictured there above and to the right) that was in the posession of a member of an organization to which I belong, the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club or (NASIOC for short). You see, ever since I had that BRAT, I fell in love with Subarus. They're quirky, small, get great gas mileage, they're easy to work on, and you can't beat the 4WD or (nowadays) AWD system. This BRAT is Subaru number 5 for me, with a Subaru RX FWD/4WD dual-range 5 speed manual (1.8L turbo coupe), a Subaru Impreza FWD 4 speed auto (1.8L naturally aspirated), and a Subaru Impreza RS AWD 5 speed manual (2.5L naturally aspirated for the next few months) rounding out the Subaru Stable. I wish I had kept the 84 BRAT for the rollbar if nothing else, as that is all the 85 is really lacking, and they are very, very rare. This one does have T tops, a front push bar, and a camper top which the old one did not have, still has it's jump seats in the bed, and still has the factory skidplate, but it lacks the full targa striping. Overall, I'm very happy with the cost ($550) plus all the spare/new parts that came with it: a spare motor, exhaust, 2 axles, 4 wheels/tires, 2 alternators, a distributor, and a gas tank, plus the all-new front brake pads, rebuilt calipers, and rotors, new rear pads, new rear shocks, a new battery, and a brand new clutch.