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Jump Seats, No Cyclops? 1983 Subaru BRAT GL

Wow, this is about the nicest 1983 Subaru BRAT that I have ever seen. It looks almost like new which is no small feat since we’ve all seen so many of them that weren’t in even remotely this condition. The seller has this gem listed here on eBay in Lakewood, Washington. The current bid price of $5,200 but the reserve isn’t met yet.

You can probably see the small crease on the bottom of the passenger door in the photo above, that’s about the only thing I see on the exterior of this car that isn’t in great condition. And, those tires! Custom BRAT lettered tires. I wonder if I can get a set of those for my Motocompo…

Two comments usually come up whenever a BRAT is shown here: 1) does it have the cyclops third-eye? No, those were only available on 1980-1982 models. 2) does it have jump seats? Yes, this one does! There are no closeup photos in the eBay listing showing those but the seller has included a YouTube walkaround video, a YouTube test drive video, and a YouTube slide show featuring just about every square inch inside and out. Very nice work, seller!

One thing that always comes up with me is whether a car has a manual or automatic transmission. This BRAT falls into the second camp. That automatic will make driving easier but it may not add to the enjoyment of wringing the smallish amount of horsepower out of the boxer engine.

That Subaru logo is taunting us by not flipping up to reveal a passing light. The engine on this car looks incredibly clean, this is Subaru’s EA-81 1.8L boxer-four with 73 hp. Everything works on this beautiful car, even the AC! I’m guessing that the seller’s reserve is north of $10,000 but I could be wrong. This is one nice example of a car that often didn’t seem to last this long due to rust issues, being 4WD and used in snowy areas with road salt. Have any of you owned a Subaru BRAT?


  1. Mark S.

    I once owned an ‘83 GL wagon. It was a great car until our upstate New York road salt caused it’s demise. The rust got so bad I couldn’t find a solid enough place to jack it up to change a tire.
    Mine had the dual range four-speed. That was real cool, you could split-shift like a truck, 8 speeds forward and two in reverse.
    You don’t see examples like this one anymore, they have been all driven into the ground.

    Like 7
  2. Miguel

    I found the complete cyclops light at a junk yard.

    I still have it somewhere.

    Like 6
  3. Rx7turboII

    It’s funny you mention the cyclops light as I just ran across a salvage yard near me that is closing and they have at least a dozen old Subaru brats out back so I grabbed one of the Cyclops lights over the weekend cuz I thought it was kind of cool!

    Like 8
    • jason

      I just bought a Brat that is an 82 cyclops. Problem is that the eye is missing. Would you want to sell your eye?

      Like 0
      • Miguel

        Jason, I am in Mexico so I am not sure how much the shipping would be. I know it would take about 2 months to arrive, if I can find mine.

        Like 0
  4. Doug

    I owned an 85 Brat, was my daily driver for years- fun car, almost never used the factory A/C , just popped the T -tops to the open position, opened the rear sliding window, and headed down the road, even on 95+ degree days. ( The t-tops are fully removeable, if desired, and there is a provision for securing them behind the seats. If one pops the latch above the door, the tops can then be held open like the pop-out rear windows on many Euro and Japanese cars. If desired, one side can be up and the other down- they look like bat wings in the up position. )
    The Brat ceased to be my daily driver when I bought a 2001 Forester, because the Forester got about 5 more mpg in mixed town & freeway driving than the Brat would get – probably because the larger ohc engine didn’t have to work nearly as hard as the little pushrod 1800, and also had an overdrive 5th gear vs. the 4spd.

    Like 8
  5. Michael

    The only brats that ever had a cyclops light were the ’82 gl’s. This bad information thing is getting real old

    Like 0
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Michael, you’re correct. There is no underlying conspiracy, though, it was a mistake on my part for not specifying that they were available on 1980-1982 GLs and 1982 BRATs rather than just that they were available on 1980-1982 models. I’m not sure what “bad information thing” you’re referring to other than a few writers (or, maybe it’s just me?) making a mistake now and then. We’re mere humans who don’t do this for a living. Please feel free to send in your application to be a writer here.

      Like 37
      • C SQUARED

        You made a personal attack. It would have been nice if you had just said:

        “Michael, you’re correct. Thanks.”

        Like 0
      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        You are 100% correct, C SQUARED. My apologies to you and to Michael. The offending line was removed. It’s hard to not engage when one is being attacked, though. My apologies for falling into that cyber trap.

        Like 5
    • Cary Driscoll

      You’re 100% correct Michael!

      Like 0
  6. TimM

    Never had one but I remember tons of them rolling down the road!! I always liked the little jump seats in the back!! Seemed like fun place to be riding on the way to the local swimming hole in the summer!!!

    Like 4
  7. Mike

    Still not convinced that it is a Subaru Brat. Needs more name badges and stickers.

    Like 8
    • rod444

      Custom plate could’ve said “SUBRAT”
      An obvious oversight.

      Like 2
  8. Ted

    Needs a WRX drivetrain transplant, then it’d be game on………….wouldn’t that surprise the diesel d-bag duallie smoker drivers……………..

    Like 7
  9. chrlsful

    this, the ’60 – ’65 chero, the lill scamp/xxx, 1 of the zukies (’80s/90s?).
    Lill p/u (esp w/4 WD, not AWD) R a joy. U can get in miles on minimal things like foot paths.
    Searchin 4 a ranchero w/good body to take my drive train right now…

    Like 1
  10. Boxer Fan

    Besides the door it also has several dents on the tailgate. I’m extremely tempted to bid since is just down the road, but I don’t think it’s worth over $10k with the body damage, regardless if it’s only minor and the automatic. Still a solid car and I might put in one bid.

    Like 0
  11. Bakyrdhero

    I remember actually riding in the jump seatsin my uncles BRAT as a kid. I loved that thing. Silver with a blue interior like this and a stick shift. I can’t believe that little motor is only putting out 73hp. I wonder if it would struggle to keep up with today’s traffic…

    Like 0

    The trucking Co had 2 of them I worked for as parts runners. I have the bed seats from 1 of them on my back deck.

    Like 1
  13. Steve

    Please advise: What is the cyclops light and it’s function?

    Like 0
  14. Mike

    Every time I see one of these it reminds me of Earl Hickey and his list. I always thought they were cool little car-trucks and I still watch reruns of My Name Is Earl from time to time.

    Like 0
  15. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this one ended at $14,000 and no sale.

    Like 0

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