1985 Subaru Brat Restoration

This unique little gem has been owned by one family since new in 1985, the uncle of the current owner purchased the Subaru Brat and garage kept the car…? Um… truck…? religiously every winter without waver, this 4WD off road capable vehicle has never seen the salty roads of Wisconsin in which it has lived all of its existence. Never the less that did not guard it from getting a small fender bender on the Drivers Side Rear Quarter Panel. This small amount of previously repaired damage is what initially brought the vehicle into our shop for an estimate. We looked it over and after a few lengthy discussions with the owner we wrote an estimate to repaint the entire vehicle. The previously painted panel was very faded and would have needed body work redone as well as paint work which would have never matched the 30+ year old paint on the rest of the exterior. The decision was made to fully disassemble the trim and remove the large panels all in effort to deliver a seamless paint job. While digging into the repairs we uncovered the old repairs in the quarter panel, stripped that panel to bare steel, welded the dent puller holes and did quite a bit of hammer dolly work to undo the aging sub par repair. We did a great deal of preserving the trim, clips, moldings etc. as most if not all parts & pieces are no longer available. For some of the exterior we had to fall back to our fabrication roots and make a few parts as well as modify others. For example we used a Subaru GL Sedan rear bumper coupled with what was left of the Brat bumper to deliver a correct looking Brat rear bumper with the recess for the license plate. Our experts in the KMR Body Shop successfully matched the factory Subaru color with help in part from the owner and his collection of original Subaru Brat documentation. While the Brat was going under the knife in the body shop plans were made to give it a once over and tune up by our skilled technicians in the KMR Street Shop just to bring everything up to par for a driver, as the status of many of the mechanical systems was unknown after the many years of storage. They went over the basics, replaced a few parts cleaned and lubed some others but overall the Brat’s mechanicals were in great shape. Once finished with the dirty operations it was time to give it a good cleaning and we commissioned our trusted detailer for the task of preserving the originality of the engine compartment, interior and truck bed while getting everything as clean as possible. The end result of or our efforts and the patience of the owner we are able to present one of the finest examples of a 1985 Subaru Brat known to exist. The owner does have plans for KMR to restore the topper, but that is a project for another time.