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The Blue Lobster - 1984 Turbo Brat Revival


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For those who like a story: This thing came up for sale in November. I was 3 days late to the CL posting. The ad read "1984 Subaru Brat - $600" I glanced at the ad. Horrendous choice in colors. Back to the future inspired maybe... I looked at the interior pictures. I saw an automatic shifter. "Ew" I thought. The next picture was of the fun tops. It probably took me a solid minute to figure out that something was weird. The only auto brats I've seen have ALL been either hardtop or turbo. My pulse started to rise and when I clicked on the picture of the engine bay I nearly lost it. Of all Subarus to pop up in DFW - a Turbo Brat. It was all hands on deck at that point. I shot him a text and got an address. I went and pulled the money out of the bank. And went on my way. The guy was DESPERATE to get rid of it. Claimed everyone had been flaking out. The thing looked like it hadn't been touched in ages. Someone had started tearing it apart it looks like. All the accessories were inside the car and bolts strewn about all over. Nice. But everything looked like it was there. Has a 2" lift. ODO read 90k. Guy said he bought it to STI swap and lost interest. I was in my S13 so I couldn't exactly tow it. He wouldn't accept money unless it came off his driveway. I was too stubborn to call a flatbed, so I walked away. My Grandpa was out of town so I couldn't use his truck. Ultimately it sold before I could arrange transport. I was pretty bummed, but it was my own fault. I searched everyday too see if the new owner would pop up on here. And they never did. Then one day I'm on CL doing a sweep for a decent car to flip and I see the same Brat listed. I nearly lost it. I Had another chance. I offered the guy my S13 as trade and he was stoked about the deal. Who wouldn't be? Running and driving 240sx for a non running Brat that he had no comprehension of the mechanics of. I got a trailer, and I set forth to pick up my blue lobster and bring it home where it would be cared for. 


For those who got a headache from the amount of pointless text: have some pictures 















I tore the top end apart today...




And found bank 2 full of coolant. Stripped intake bolt. Coolant looked fresh. Guess the guy who bought it tried to get it going somewhat. The gasket was TOAST. Hopefully that's all that kept this thing from running normal. Slowly replacing rubber hoses and things I see that want attention. This is a new learning experience for me and Im looking forward to the challenge. 

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Got it running. I was surprised that everything was/is still in the car to throw the motor back together.


It runs decently smooth. I dont know how old this gas is. Lol


I think it's gonna need a turbo or a rebuild if that's possible on a vf1. It's blowing oil out the exhaust :/


I'll get some more pics and a video up later

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  • 1 month later...

Picked up this forlorn thing that was sunk down to the rims in dirt...  82 DL hard top 77k on the clock. Judging by the shifter - I believe it! Sat forever. Rusted pretty bad. Has the jump seats, frame, headrests and seat belts. Plus I'm gonna use the 4speed in the Turbo. 5 speed D/R are non existent down here. 




Had to rob the wheels of the turbo for the time being to be able to get the orange one home




Stripping/pulling the motor - Everything is out except the pedal box





Currently working on finding a vacuum advance for the Turbo Brat. May have to buy a new distributor. Got a rebuild kit ordered for the turbo. Boost gauge stays pegged. Few more little things and I'll have it on the road. Gonna remove the "lift" that is has and throw the 2wd struts I have on there with a coil or two cut, as well. Progress is slow, but it's happening. 

Hope to finish up the one with the green tailgate this year. Making the one with a camper into a trailer. Weekend the turbo, and scrap the remains of the orange thing. Lots to do between work and school!
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  • 2 weeks later...

So... the orange Brat is gone. Guy in Austin needed the quarter panel off it. Probably the only decent body panel on there.




I ripped the front half of the lift off and stuck some 2WD struts under there. The lift was so carelessly thrown together. It was scary.




Thinking I'm gonna cut a coil when I convert to MT




Happy with progress so far. Have some parts coming for this thing. (Photography: not my calling in life)





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So my distributor came in this week. Improved driveability tons.


Going to get it insured through Haggertys this week for next to nothing. 


Need to figure out why the boost gauge is pegged. May need to lean on someone for some fsm Pics as mine is missing all the wiring diagrams.


Anyway... scored this thing (a big deal down south where lambos are more common than brats) 


Subaru SnugTop with good seals and key! Traded a guy the motor from the orange thing for it. 




Happy with the look 






I hope to paint this thing all one color by the end of may. Thinking white as it's pretty forgiving with body damage. 

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  • 2 months later...

A few updates... Here's how she sits currently:




Did my manual swap this week. WAAAAY more fun to drive 




Here's some goodies I have acquired for it 






This thing has been taking up my time so progress has been slow



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