Project Car Hell, 80s Subaru Edition: BRAT or XT6?

We saw the Gremlin beat the Spirit by quite a margin in our last Choose Your Eternity poll. Maybe it was the Wayne's World connection, or maybe it was just the obscurity of the AMC Spirit. Either way, we're going to follow up a pair of quirky American machines with a pair of equally quirky Japanese machines. Sure, Subaru is plenty mainstream in North America these days, but remember when Subarus just seemed vaguely weird, say a couple decades back? When you only saw the little boxer-powered cars in areas with huge amounts of snow and NPR listeners? Those 80s Subies are semi-rare and quite cool, not as bulletproof as your Japanese Big Three machines of the era, and parts are getting tough to find... which makes them great raw material for your exile adventures in the garage!


The acronym behind the Subaru BRAT's name stood for "Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter," which doesn't sound as good as "Leonamino," but we can't fault the marketers for going with the safe bet. The whole concept of sticking a truck bed on the Leone and then throwing some lawsuit-magnet jumpseats in the bed in order to claim carhood and avoid the Chicken Tax didn't work out so well for Subaru in the long run, though you might want to retrofit such seats onto this 1986 BRAT ('86 was the first year the vehicle arrived on these shores without the extra seats). One think you won't need to retrofit, however, is the T-tops, because that critically important option is present and accounted for in this truck, which can be yours simply by trading "almost anything as long as i like it" to the owner. There's rust. There are many dents. It's been sitting for a long time. You know, the usual. How about swapping in a turbocharged EJ25 and giving your jumpseat passengers the last best road trip of their lives?

We like the BRAT, but maybe your 80s Subaru Hell Project needs less cute and more weird. How about a car with TR7-esque wedge-shaped styling and an interior designed to resemble the cockpit of a 747? Yes, we're talking about the Subaru XT, which was available with a six-cylinder, all-wheel-drive setup that was pretty damn wild for its time. These things aren't easy to find, but we've done the work for you by locating this 1989 Subaru XT6 for just $500. Five hundred bucks! How can you lose? This one needs both head gaskets replaced (possible translation: both heads cracked), but it's had $2,000 worth of "recent parts" installed. There's rust. We suggest getting really good head gaskets when you start working on this project, because this car is just crying out for all the boost your wallet you can stuff into the engine!

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