SuburBeetle! Subaru BRAT-VW Beetle Mashup

This one is a bit hard to categorize: is it a 1985 Subaru Brat or a 1973 Volkswagen Beetle? Or, some sort of Frankenproject dreamed up by either an overachieving or underachieving person adept in fabrication. A shop project? Who knows. It’s listed here on eBay in Benwood, West Virginia and the current bid price is just $760, but the reserve isn’t met yet. Let’s check out this Beetubarutle.. or somethin’.

Your eyes aren’t deceiving you, our own Jeff Lavery showed us this exact car four years and two weeks ago here on Barn Finds. It appears to have weathered quite a bit since then with the clear coat going kablooie and a missing left front wheel cover and other issues. Could you imagine driving this into your nearest body shop for an estimate on a paint job?

I have been doing quite a few “Photochops” over the last few years, basically modifying vehicles with Adobe Photoshop, such as this AMC/Cadillac Pacerville and this Lincoln Bobcat, and many, many others. This Subaru/Beetle mix looks like a Photoshop exercise but it’s real. The builder has gone an extra step in keeping the Subaru engine in the front and the Beetle engine in the back! If it would have had 4WD that would have been over the top but I believe that only the front wheels are powered.

So, we know that this car was sold four years ago but there are so many unanswered questions. Like, why? Why did they spend so much time and money to create this car, and that is not to say that it isn’t a work of art because it is. They did a fantastic job of marrying these two cars, although it’s like a Hatfield marrying a McCoy. A Japanese-made front-wheel-drive Subaru from the mid-1980s and an early-1970s rear-wheel-drive German Volkswagen.

Here’s the first flat four-cylinder engine, which sounds weird. It should be a 1.8L boxer-four with around 73-75 horsepower. The seller says that both engines work and they both have different stick shifts and gas pedals.

And, here’s the VW Beetle engine in the rear. It should be a 1.6L flat-four with about 50 horsepower. I can’t imagine what kind of engineering and fabricating it would have taken to connect the rear engine with the rear wheels and the front engine with the front wheels. The seller says that this one needs to have a new (included) clutch cable connected. Any thoughts on this one?


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  1. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Can’t wait to see the comments on this, heh heh!

    Like 10
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    Those wacky West Virginians!

    Like 6
    • Erik

      Hey Billy Bob! Hold my beer! Just wait until I’m done! My sister-wife is gonna love her new car!

      Like 6
  3. Rex Kahrs Member

    I’d like to see a tug-of-war where the Subie goes forward and the VW is in reverse, resulting in the car being pulled apart. Or maybe the opposite scenario, in which case the car would rear-end itself.

    Like 20
  4. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I’m lot sure what to say about this, but that Lincoln Bobcat sure looks sharp!

    Like 10
    • stu

      What am I looking at? I washed my eyes in gasoline and dried them with a match….Low and behold this piece of sh-t was still listed here! Why would anyone bid on this crap box? Why…Let me go and wash my eyes again….

      Like 6
    • Jim

      Don’t think Cannon will fit into it though.

  5. alphasud Member

    I give the person who did this a high five! Most of these attempts are real hack jobs. This one is finished off pretty good. Bring on more craziness!

    Like 8
    • Claudio Mallone

      alphasud ….

      Like 1
  6. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Plate on this probably reads JUSTCUZ, and not as a result of marrying your aunt’s daughter, though this is certainly an unholy wedding of two mismatched partners.
    Cue banjo and guitar music…

    Like 16
    • alphasud Member

      They do share a common bond. They are both boxer engines. So in a way I get what they were trying to do. I prefer my way which was to install a Subaru engine in my Beetle.

      Like 15
      • DayDreamBeliever Member

        Easier to look at when it is right side up….


        Nice work, BTW!

        Like 14
      • Doug

        The bond is even closer than you may know- the first Subaru Boxer engines to hit the US market were a direct copy of the early VW Beetle engine, with water cooling added. They operated on a thermo siphon principle, having no water pump. I owned and enjoyed a 1986 Brat – for years it was my daily driver. I set it aside after discovering that the Subaru Forester I bought with 84 K on it got 5-6 mpg better mileage. I ended up selling the Brat, ( along with a pretty fresh Japanese take out engine I found in the local Pick’nPull for $200 ) with 133K on the Brat. He has since installed the “takeout” engine, and is enjoying the Brat immensely. On Subaru1800cc pushrod engines, if there is a sticker on the rocker cover saying ” Do Not Adjust Valves, then it is a Japanese market takeout, because all the US engines had solid lifters, where the Japanese home market engines had hydraulic lifters. The “Takeout” engines are due to smog laws in Japan that require removal and replacement of engines after a specified number of kilometers driven. These low-mileage engines are then shipped to other countries by the container load as replacement engines.

        Like 2
  7. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Great job sneaking Cannon in the Lincoln photo Scotty! LOL!

    Like 7
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha! Thanks, Mike – one of my favorite shows of all time.

      Like 5
  8. J_Paul Member

    Uhm…do I actually see two separate stick shifts in the interior pic, or am I just getting a contact high from this hallucinatory build?

    Like 2
    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      You see them J_Paul, brings new meaning to twin stick shifting. The double wammy for millennial car thiefs!

      Like 9
    • nlpnt

      That probably rules out running the car in double-power mode except maybe on dirt roads, unless the gear ratios and tire sizes line up PERFECTLY.

      Like 1
    • stu


      It’s called a daydream! Mmmmmmm….Daydream….
      Actually, for me it’s a nightmare!

  9. Mitchell Gildea Member

    What in the wide Wide World of Sports is a going-on here with this mode of transport?

    Like 4
  10. Ian C

    I clicked the link thinking I might put a bid on it. It is up to $1800 now. I think I will just put that money into more upgrades on my ’69 Beetle.

    Like 1
    • stu

      Ian C….
      I’ll pay you not to bid on this thing…
      You’ll look ridiculous driving this to the school prom!

      • Ian C

        My 45 yr old arse would look ridiculous driving anything to a prom. LOL

        However, I will stay take payment from you. I mean, I would want to hurt your feelings by implying your money is no good here.

      • Ian C

        where is the dang edit button?

        *will still take payment
        *wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings.

        Maybe I need to go back to school?!

      • stu

        That’s why I mentioned the prom…School, books….

  11. PJR

    An answer to a question that no one is asking

    Like 7
  12. Don Page

    Looking at IT made my eyes bleed. Why am I not surprised it’s located in West Virginia.

    Like 2
  13. Don Page

    Subaru + VW + alcohol= THAT.

    Like 9
  14. Ben T. Spanner

    I agree, beer is often inspirational. They had already welded the decorative chain for the mailbox, and had welding rod left over. There was no beer left.

    Like 5
    • stu

      Ben T. Spanner…
      You’re right! It wasn’t beer…
      It was drugs…overdose fore sure!

  15. Fred W

    It looks well done for what it is… but I have an important question: WHERE IS THE GAS TANK? Not sure I want to know the answer….

    Like 8
    • Steve Clinton

      I have a more important question: WHO’S GONNA BUY THIS MONSTROSITY? Not sure I want to know the answer….

      Like 3
      • stu

        Steve Clinton…
        I’ll tell you who’s going to buy this… a funeral home! It’s jacked up and extended for the after life!

    • SDJames

      That’s not a spare tire on top of that engine!

      • stu


        You would need 2 spare tires…front and back are different!

        Like 1
  16. Steve Clinton

    It’s a ‘Subaru Gotta Be Kidding’!

    Like 4
  17. Gerard Frederick

    Someone had more than just a few screws loose.

    Like 3
  18. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    This contraption give the phrase “dual clutch” a whole different meaning!

    Like 4
  19. Solosolo Member

    @Steve Clinton. What was that you were saying about the Saab being the ugliest wagon ever to come down the road? Well, I think it’s at least second ugliest to this one.

    Like 3
    • Steve Clinton

      I tend to agree with you.

  20. Comet

    It looks like a first cousin Beetle and Subaru got together and produced a love child with “compromised” DNA.

    Like 4
  21. Jcs

    The best part of this build…the front tag.

    Like 1
    • stu

      I just realized after looking at the pics….The clear coat is peeling, I can’t bid on this one of a kind piece of art!

      Yeah right! No way…I’ll pass…

  22. chrlsful Member

    so far the rex post is awarded my ✓

    Like 1
  23. JRATT

    I drove a right hand drive 79 Subby while stationed on Okinawa, Japan in 1983 / 1984, a not so great $600 car, that I sold for $300 before returning to the US. Also, owned a 73 VW for a short time in late 80s. I would not want either car back. And can’t think of any reason to own this thing. I guess if you owned a Circus, it might make a not so great “Clown Car.”

    • unclemymy Member

      Oh, that’s the only way this thing could have been more wonky – right-hand drive! Somewhere, the designer of this miscarriage has just emerged from a 5-year+ hangover and read the above comment. I can hear him now, “Well, s**t! Come to think of it, I would have paid good money to watch someone try to drive it…

  24. Steve Hill

    I’d like to see Roadkill do something with this contraption…..
    That’s all I can think of

    Like 3
  25. Matt cent

    So when you go to the registry, what do you say? It has to be only one

    Like 1
    • stu

      Matt cent…..
      You would say it is a one of a kind concept car that you purchased from the manufacturer!
      Yeah….that’s it!

  26. Lawrence (Larry) smith

    looks ugly, would not entertain this thing

  27. John

    I give the builder credit for not mating a VW front end with a Subaru rear, but I bet he turned the idea around in his head many times!

    Like 2
    • Matt cent

      Lots of trunk space though

      • stu

        Who cares about the trunk space! If this was my car and had to see it everyday, I would throw gasoline and a match to burn it and not embarrass myself selling this thing!

      • Matt Cent

        You missed that joke completely STU

      • stu

        I didn’t miss any joke here…

        Imagine…your driving this thing and pull up to pick up your date for prom (LOL), what do you think she’ll say?

        What a great lookin ride! Really……Don’t think so…..

        No way….
        She takes one look at you and your so called ride then turns her head the other way and continues to walk AWAY!


      • stu

        Actually I didn’t….I was being sarcastic….

    • PairsNPaint

      That mashup is probably parked next to it in the garage. But no motor.

    • John Schiessl

      That would be like having one red sock and one green one on and you know the other pair is in the drawer!
      If the other car had VW front and Subie rear it would be tiresome to push it around.

      Like 2
      • Gerald

        I think the original builder should also have grafted the Beetle front and the Brat rear and use it as a trailer,,,

        Like 1
  28. Erik

    Either that Beetle rear-ended that Brat or somebody had seen and been inspired the old Reese’s commercial of “Your chocolate is in my peanut butter! Your peanut butter is in my chocolate!”. Reese’s succeeded this did not.

    Like 1
  29. 433jeff

    Well I was going to say it’s a perfect solution to when the timing belt goes out, but this is the Subaru with the never go timing gears, So I guess it’s the perfect solution for when the air cooled vw drops it’s exhaust valve. If you ever got stuck in 2 wd you always have the other end, the positives are endless, when your vw won’t start, you can get it rolling with the Ru and pop start it.

    Like 2
  30. Superdessucke

    My guess is there was a rear-end collision back in the day, and instead of undertaking the delicate task of pulling the cars involved apart, they just worked with what they had

    • JRATT

      433jeff – It also proves that when you are working with junk, what you end up with is junk.

  31. Eric B

    The missing driver’s side wheel cover ruins the whole look of the car.

  32. davew833

    Back in ’85 Car & Driver (or R&T) built a Honda CRX with an additional engine in the back. Sort of reminds me of that.

    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      That car still exists, I think the owner is a BF reader!

  33. Lee

    Wonder where the gas tank is?

  34. PairsNPaint

    The filler cap is on the passenger side C-pillar. My guess is the tank is in the well behind the rear seat.

  35. JoeNYWF64

    Somebody forgot to wax it.
    What some people will do to get heat in a bug. lol

  36. EPO3

    Actually the design wasn’t a Volkswagen it another German car called Goliath Subaru bought the design from them.

  37. Gerard Frederick

    Sorry, I don´t understand. Goliath? That was a make of the Borgward Konzern, building 2-stroke vertical twin engined vehicles, never a 4-stroke boxer configurated engine. What Goliath did was to pioneer fuel injection, 3-wheeled delivery trucks und the space-saving design, hijacked by Sir Issigonis (Mini) for which theft he was made a ¨Sir¨ by the Queen. The Goliath GP700 Sport Coupe was a beautiful little car, much too expensive unfortunately.

    Like 1
    • EPO3

      1959/1960 borgward built a flat four water cooled motor I think it was a 1100 golaith motor and what I wrote before you tried to discredit what I wrote all I MEANT was it wasn’t a friken VW MOTOR

      • EPO3

        You sound very knowledgeable about borgward and golaith My dad was very instrumental in bringing goliath to the States and all I know from my dad was there was some negotiation on a sale for the rights of that that motor.You and I know at that point and time in history was a mystery

      • JRATT

        EPO3 – Checkout my post below. The 1951 Jowett Jupiter that I owned from 1975 to 1977, had a 4 cylinder Flat 4 water cooled motor.

  38. Gerard Frederick

    Another thing — Subaru hijacked (never bought) the design of the Borgward Arabella, another great little car by the Borgward Konzern. THAT one featured the 4-cylinder boxer engine.

    • JRATT

      Gerard Frederick – It is not uncommon for all car manufactures to look at other car designs and adapt their innovations into their own designs. It is a very interesting history of lawsuits and cooperation within the industry, as basic systems are very common and hard to patent in a way to keep others from copying. Automotive designers and engineers move from company to company during their careers, so you are going to have many design elements in common. Winning a patent infringement case in court is very hard to prove. In 1950 Chrysler purchased a 1950 Jowett Jupiter from a British car manufacture, Jowett Cars Ltd of Idle, near Bradford, England. The car had hexagonal ended torsion bars for strength and it is interesting that Chrysler added them to their production cars. I know this story only because I once owned a 1951 Jowett Jupiter, sold it in 1977, for $1,200 and I thought my $1,000 profit was great. 43 years later the Jupiter is now worth $75,000 oops.

      Like 3
  39. Terry

    I’d be too worried about having the front engine in forward gear, and the rear in reverse, nailing the gas pedal and it tears the car apart.

  40. Gerald

    Had I built this, I would wanted to keep the Subaru engine, ditch the Bug engine and put a hamster wheel in its place,,,

    Like 1
  41. Gerard Frederick

    Sorry EPO3, I had no intention of ¨discrediting¨ anything you said. Cheers and Beers, Gerard

    Like 1
    • EPO3

      Way past it stay safe

  42. Matt c

    STU you kinda did, I was referring to the counterpart of this one … NO engine and plenty of trunk space … if I have to explain …

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