PH Carpool: Subaru Brat


Name: Findlay Leask (Findlay_mx)
Car: Subaru Brat (or MV284 to give it the official UK model name)
Owned since: 9.15pm on Saturday December 3, 2016 (eBay auction close!)
Previously owned: Mk2 Fiesta 1.1L, 205 Rallye, 106 GTI, 206 GTI, 205 1.6 GTI, 205 Mi16, 306 Rallye, Mazda MX5 1.8 supercharged, JDM DC2 Integra Type R, Subaru Impreza Turbo, BMW E90 325d, Mini Clubvan, Ford Transit Custom and a good few family cars.

Pic: Iain F in Carlisle
Pic: Iain F in Carlisle
Why I bought it:
"I bought it because I wasn't out-bid on eBay! That said I've had a soft spot the Brats since I was young. Many Christmases ago I was given a Tamiya Mud Blaster radio controlled car. I had specifically asked for that model as I loved the shape of the Brat's bodystyle. I also remember this era of Subaru (including the L-series saloons and estates) being a firm favourite of the local farmers. So, a soft spot and an itch to scratch plus spotting a very tidy looking one on eBay... You can see where this is going."

What I wish I'd known:
"Knowing something would have been a start! But that said this is a fairly simple beast. Apart from the 4x4 system you're speaking about a 1.8 flat-four on a carburettor. Manual choke. Basic mechanicals. I'd probably have loved to have known that I wouldn't be out-bid before I placed my bid. On the plus side, the fact that my bid won means that I can employ man maths to calculate that I purchased a screaming bargain, even if it was completely unseen.

"Knowing where Whitstable is would also have been useful. My geography skills need work, more effort required on these rather than anything the car needs done! I live in Aberdeen. Whitstable is in Kent. Kent is almost as far from Aberdeen as you can get without falling into the sea.

"Had I also known that I had a local willing volunteer to view the car for me I'd have sent him. That way I'd have been able to ask for a bit more detail on the condition. Whilst the seller was honest there were a couple of omissions from his advert. Like the holes in the doors where someone must have been used to screw on a sign in the past. And that the seat covers mask the rather perished originals. But, generally, the bodywork is in remarkable condition. Phew!"

Pic: Dave B
Pic: Dave B
Things I love:
"It's an 'almost classic'. It gets a lot of looks. The driving experience is very laid back, the engine is raucous when stretched but delivers ample torque from very low revs. It doesn't have a rev counter so, as someone eloquently put it, according to the dashboard clock it pulls cleanly but doesn't like revved past 4:45! I love the Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino style stripe that apes the US market Brat stickers. Dave B who relayed the car across Yorkshire mocked the paint job with his own home-made Starsky and Hutch masks. These are now treasured possessions.

"Oh, and it's practical. While I have yet to explore the mechanism of opening the rear tailgate, Simon S who collected the car from the seller for me used it to fetch his Christmas tree. I also used the excuse to take the glass bottles to the recycling centre. Although I would advise against using an open-bed truck to transport cardboard on a windy day unless you like running around a dual carriageway picking up rubbish. Not that I'd know anything about that, obviously.

Pic: Participation Trophy
Pic: Participation Trophy
"It's also a strange, characterful design. From the spare wheel hung in the engine bay, to the entire engine being well forward of the front axle, the crutch-like handle to engage 4WD (and the almost-English sticker that describes how to use the handle), the massive Land Rover-type air vent down to the depiction of the car shape within the instrument panel it has some odd-but-cool touches. And Buttresses. LOVE the buttresses. It's the XJS of the pick-up world.

"But, most importantly and most of all, I love that the fact that the truck is now in Aberdeen is a story of the kindness of strangers. It's proof that forums, not just social media, still have a place on the internet and that, if you're completely bonkers, you can send someone you've never met a lot of money and they won't run off with it. Although this may not work with Royal family from Cameroon that email you. People are brilliant. Most of them. If you try it and it doesn't work out then, well, don't blame me."

Read the full story of the Brat's relay delivery adventure here!

Things I hate:
"I don't actually hate anything about this little trucklet. I look at it and smile. It's forever going to be the "Northloop" Brat and I can still get misty eyed when I consider the lengths each of the custodians went to in order that it made it's way to Aberdeen. Probably the worst bit will be getting spares for it but then, I like a challenge.

Pic: Provisions
Pic: Provisions
Costs:
It's uneconomical, let's be clear about that. It has a thirst for unleaded. But, as it doesn't really need anything (bar an oil pump seal), I can't really pass judgment on what the spare parts are going to cost. It's going to need a little bit of a welding repair in the load bay, and undersealed (if the person in Inverurie that "borrowed" my Waxoyl kit in 2010 to treat their DC2 Intergra is reading this, can I have it back, please?) to prevent any more rot creeping."

Where I've been:
"Well, as you can see above it's already been on a journey from Kent to Aberdeen. It's certainly not a track-day car but I'm looking forward to getting some snow to compare it to the Impreza (that I've still to sell). It did venture through the woods on Christmas Eve and has already proven that it's actually quite a capable light off-roader."

What next?
"My friends on Northloop may well need to pass authority on any future modifications as there is a genuine feeling of joint ownership (I've yet to ask about sharing future repair bills). But, to be honest, I just plan to enjoy it as it is, carry out the jobs that need doing and try and keep it running as a rolling restoration. The bodywork, although rust-free, bears testament to the working life it had before and, as such, it'll never be a concours car. But then, if it was too perfect it wouldn't have character, it wouldn't show that it has history and that would be a shame. It would be awesomely cool with an Impreza Turbo lump and RWD only but if I had the resource to do that I'd probably start with a more rotten example to butcher."

 
Pic: Simon and Neil
Pic: Simon and Neil
 
Pic: Steve M
Pic: Steve M
 
Pic: Stu in Tyneside
Pic: Stu in Tyneside
 
Pic: Simon and Neil
Pic: Simon and Neil
 
Pic: Simon S
Pic: Simon S
 
Pic: Dave Broughton
Pic: Dave Broughton


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Comments (13) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Zombie 16 Jan 2017

    Just need one of these to go with it...

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TAMIYA-RC-58384-Subaru-B...

  • Neil-b3l6l 16 Jan 2017

    Brilliant, best article I've read in a good few months and reminds you there's still decent, honest people in the world.

  • TinRobot 16 Jan 2017

    What an awesome lunch time story. No idea what Northloop is but hey...

  • findlay_MX 16 Jan 2017

    Northloop is www.northloop.co.uk where there is a forum full of deeply wise men and women who always refrain from bouts of keyboard warriorship, sarcasm, urine-extraction and absolutely nothing funny ever happens.

    On the plus side, if you register, you ca ready the full story of the Brat and the journey here:
    http://www.northloop.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?54...

    You'll need to register, BTW.

    Findlay
    Owner of (possibly) the UK's most famous Subaru MV284 - The Northloop Brat(wurst)

  • TinRobot 16 Jan 2017

    findlay_MX said:
    Northloop is www.northloop.co.uk where there is a forum full of deeply wise men and women who always refrain from bouts of keyboard warriorship, sarcasm, urine-extraction and absolutely nothing funny ever happens.

    On the plus side, if you register, you ca ready the full story of the Brat and the journey here:
    http://www.northloop.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?54...

    You'll need to register, BTW.

    Findlay
    Owner of (possibly) the UK's most famous Subaru MV284 - The Northloop Brat(wurst)
    Cheers smile

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