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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Is there an FF-1G group?

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10 replies to this topic

#1 Rick Becker

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 03:51 PM

Hi, I'm new to the group, and glad to find some other crazies out there.

I had a couple of '71s and a tricked out '72 coupe, which I have mourned for almost 25 years. Still have the engine and tranny. I'm up North of Boston, and had to use the car all year 'round. Road salt killed it, however, I got another year out of it by silver soldering a couple of shelf brackets between the floor and rocker panel.

I haven't seen another one in 20 years. I'm hearing rumors that that there are still some around, so I thought I'd just say hi.


#2 moosens


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Posted 01 April 2004 - 06:15 PM

Hi again Rick.Great talking to you.

There seems to be some strange void from '70-72 for the old 1100,1300's.The "Star" series must have gone intergalactic.

And that one in CT is going back south.Arrrrrrgh.

Just remembered,we had a guy on here last year with 2 or 3 rotting in his yard...sorry.He offered them and there were no takers.All from '71-2 as I recall."FourGuzzis" was his board name.At least he's still got cool bikes!

#3 Subafreak


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Posted 01 April 2004 - 06:27 PM

I saw one a long, long time ago down in NewLondon. It was in perfect shape and had vintage plates on it. Who knows it may still be around here somewhere.

BTW: Moosens, I had to go to Warwick today during the day and was gona stop to check out what was up with that wagon, and it was gone. After all this time, they finally cleaned up in front of the shop and got rid of all the old cars. Figures.

#4 Fuji Fellow

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 08:27 PM

My first Soob was an FF-1. I bought it wrecked and not running, for $100 from a neighbor lady two houses down the street. I spent the summer of 1978 fixing it up into generally roadworthy condition, and used it to commute 380 miles a week to college. I kept on driving it until 1983, at which time it had 150,000 miles on it.

The car had been terribly abused by that neighbor's kids. They had bounced it through citrus groves, trashing the suspension. They had taken it to the beach where it filled full of salty wet sand. Then they had a fenderbender with it, which broke a headlight and then it wouldn't pass State inspection, so they had just parked it in their garage for a couple of years, where it sat there rusting and decaying. It took me an hour just to dig it out of their garage, where trash and junk had piled up on top of it. I pumped up the tires, and pushed it down the block to my yard.

In retrospect, most people would have taken one look at this poor car and said put it out of it's misery, haul it to the junkyard. But being a financially challenged college kid, desperate for some wheels, can be a marvelous motivator. In addition to the crash damage on the left front corner, the whole body suffered from major rust. All the rocker panels were just Gone, and half the trunk floor was like swiss cheese. I cut up the galvanized slide from an old kid's swingset, and used it as patch material to rebuild all the rusted out areas. Two coats of hand-brushed red primer later, the body was in workable shape.

The brakes were totally gone. It seems the 71 FF-1 used natural rubber seals in the brake cylinders, which required a special Subaru brake fluid. If you ever put any regular DOT-3 fluid in there, it would disolve the seals. And that's what had happened. So I had to rebuild the entire brake system, top to bottom.

The steering rack and pinion was shot. The tie rod end boots had ripped open, and from the various beach excursions those kids had done, sand had worked into the rack and pinion gears... to the point that there was about 8 inches of play in the steering wheel, and it would skip teeth while turning corners. EXCITING. I found a newer rack and pinion set at the junkyard, which cured that.

The engine - aside from having oil inside that looked vaguely like green Koolaid, was actually not in very bad shape. It was an 1100cc EA-61, if memory serves. Same classic H-boxer layout, with a 2 barrel carb and points and condenser ignition. Oh, the exhaust was totally rusted gone, as you might guess. It needed a whole new exhaust system from the header pipes on back. I put dual exhausts on this little baby, with glasspack mufflers. WOW, that was a unique sound.

Once I got it kind of running, to the point where I could take it down and get it licensed and registered, I started doing things to it to improve fuel mileage. With the commute I had to do, and the budget I had to work with, I wanted best possible gas mileage. Originally it was getting only about 20mpg, because some bozo had reversed the needle jet assemblies in the carb barrels, making it always run rich. Once I put that right, the mileage became 30mpg. I put a set of used steel belted radials on it, and that got it up to 32mpg. Then I put a Heathkit capacitive discharge ignition in it, and that got it up to around 36. Depending on how I drove it, most days I could get almost 40mpg.

The car had no air conditioning, of course. It did have an AM radio. I eventually reupholstered the seats, and painted the body 'Dolphin Blue'. It had a really funky heater system, though. The heater core was actually up front, behind the grill, in the form of a tiny little 'sub-radiator' sitting next to the main radiator. This sub-radiator worked in parallel with the main radiator, dumping its heat down a vent under the hood. When you wanted heat in the winter, you moved a lever on the dash which operated a flapper in that vent, which sent the heat into the interior. AT least IN THEORY... but in reality, if you were going more than about 30mph, the windblast kept any real heat from building up. It wasn't the greatest design for a heater, and more often than not my heater in that car was a snowmobile suit :).

It had a 4-speed transmission, independent suspension, rack and pinion steering, and was overall a decent little sled. The front brakes were DRUMS. In order to simplfiy the layout of the front wishbone suspension, the front brake drums were located INBOARD, right up next to the tranxaxle. This was a poor place for them, as not only did they not get cooling air from the wheels, but they got hot windblast from the engine. In the hot summers of south Texas, and later Tucson AZ, the brake fluid would overheat and boil, and make the brakes lock up. The brake pedal would become hard as a rock, and the car would not move. You could either sit there and wait 30 minutes for things to cool down, or you could take an 8mm wrench and crawl under the front end and crack open the bleeder valves. Brake fluid would squirt out, you could hear the brake shoes relaxing, then you could drive away.

The back end of that car was so light, you could get a flat tire on the rear and it wouldn't even compress the tire all the way down. It was always fun to pull into a gas station on a rainy day when the concrete was wet, and deliberately park too far from the pump... then get out and grab the rump roast end of the car by the bumper and with the gas tank empty, casually side it over to be next to the pump. I always thought that might be impressive for ladies watching... but of course most of them were far too turned off by such an ugly little car to notice who was driving it :(.

But anyway... I think everyone probably goes through that experience of their FIRST CAR, such that no matter what kind or condition it is, it's your first car and you love it. Such it was for me. I did everything I could to keep that little car running, but it was coming to the point that I simply couldn't find parts for it any more. Parts departments in dealers and supply places were actually refusing to take my money for parts orders, because they knew there was little or no chance of getting them.

I had lived in Tucson for 8 years by this time, having bought my 82 Hatchback. The FF-1 sat in my driveway, until I learned that my job was moving me across the country to the east coast. They were relocating me, but they would only move cars that were licensed and running. So, I found a guy who had a ranch, and very sadly gave the FF1 to a new home, knowing it's condition and that he'd take care of it. I'll remember forever watching him drive off in it... listening one last time to those glasspacks, as he double clutched and downshifted around the corner because those darned brakes had gone out yet again.

I miss you, Pokuntsu-san, Wherever you are.

#5 RedBrat


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Posted 02 April 2004 - 12:10 AM

A wonderful Subaru Story! I really enjoyed reading it. I would love to to do the gas station trick!

#6 Caboobaroo


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Posted 02 April 2004 - 02:01 AM

yeah I remember my first Subaru too. Wasn't quite my first car but it was close enough. I remember getting it all cleaned up and running pretty good and then I traded it straight across for my 79 wagon. It was an 83 hatchback GL, 2wd 5-speed. I remember him driving it off away from my buddies house, it was a gleaming sight from what it was about a year before. Then I went and got my wagon and then the real fun began because i wasn't starting out with a rusty car but more like one that didn't have a title so I guess the trade off was ok but now I have a title and I'm fixin the wagon up nice and perty:D



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Posted 02 April 2004 - 11:53 AM

fuji, My Brat is my first car, and I have already some experiences like that.

I hope I can keep it forever, but I know that probabaly won't happen.

#8 Hondasucks


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Posted 04 April 2004 - 06:41 AM

Makes me want to go kick the crap out of the guy who crushed the 70 ff-1 4 door that was in the junkyard I got my 84 wagon from, the DAY BEFORE I came out there with cash in my hand to buy it. It even ran, just needed suspension work. The rear quarter window on the driver's side was gone, and the front turn signals were cracked, but that was it.. Still looking for another......


I read somewhere that they made an ff-1 1300G Sport that had, get this, NINETY SIX horsepower.. Same as the EA81 Turbo...

#9 Rick Becker

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Posted 04 April 2004 - 09:55 AM

My ' 72 had the 1287 cc EA 62 engine w/ a single 2 bbl carb. and was said to produce about 80 HP. I fiddled my air cleaner around so that it was sucking in higher pressure air from the vent at the base of the windshield, and had noticeably better performance at speed. The 96 HP Japanese version you mentioned was a dual carb setup, with one carb directly over each paired intake. I have since found that there are lots of other tricks that can be done
to take the HP up into decent triple digits, since it is apparently a classic small airplane engine. I believe I read somewhere, that the motor was actually adapted to automotive use from aeronautical application.

Anybody have a ' 72 VIN tag?


#10 moosens


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Posted 04 April 2004 - 11:20 AM

Correct,came from the Germans.Not sure if they had them in Stukkas...Subaru bought the right to produce or right to copy,etc.....all history from there.Looking forward to getting together.

Vintage Subaru owners are the coolest people on six stars.:) :cool:

Stukkas Over Disneyland

#11 Rick Becker

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Posted 04 April 2004 - 03:50 PM

Stukkas? Very interesting. I had heard that Datsun had licensed from Mercedes. The Soob is such a natural extension of the VW/Porche design, it only makes sense. I just did a quick web search on the Stukka engine and came up empty, but apparently it's not at all uncommon to get 800-1000 HP out of a 1500 CC 4 cyl. Formula 1 engine. With the over-square bore and stroke of at least the earlier engines, (don't know about the newer ones), that would be some sort of a pocket rocket at half the performance.

Someday, I'll find that airplane conversion web page. I think the folks were in Arizona.


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