Last week, I wrote about a Subaru Wagon I once purchased. I heard from several people that wrote who pledged their allegiance to Subaru.
All that Subaru talk took me back to 1978. I remember my father being disappointed that I was looking at buying a Japanese car. I tried explaining to him that every American car I ever bought was a piece of junk. I always bought new cars, never used. My first car was a 72 Grand Torino Sport which was pretty much shot at 43,000 miles. From there I bought a 75 Mustang II and I had so many problems with it that I had to dump it before the warrantee ran out. That one only lasted 10,000 miles. Then I got a 76 Jeep and replaced the transmission twice within 30,000 miles. American cars were not made to last back then. It was a national disgrace, really.
The cool thing about Subaru at the time was that even if you ordered every available option, your car would cost no more than $4,000. Another cool thing was that every part on every Subaru at the time was exchangeable with every other model of Subaru. If you dented the door on your wagon, you could replace it with a door from a BRAT.
One odd thing is that Subaru is made by Fuji Heavy Industries, which is the same company that made the planes that bombed Pearl Harbor and that was part of their promotion. I guess they wanted to high light that they've been around for a while, but that fact probably hurt them. I never heard much talk about Fuji Heavy after 1978.
Anyway, I was fed up after buying three American vehicles that were built not to last, so I plunked down $3500 on a new Subaru BRAT. In 1978 pickup trucks could not be imported into the US. To get around this restriction Subaru put seats in the back and called it a “recreation vehicle.” BRAT is an acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter.
I drove that little truck 80,000 miles and it was still on the road many miles after I sold it for a new Subaru wagon in 1986. Since then I purchased another Subaru wagon and finally a Subaru Forester in 98 which we still have. My American made truck goes in the shop probably five times as often as the Forester.
I’m really getting cranky these days about shopping locally and buying domestic goods. I know I’ll have to replace both the truck and the Subaru one day. I just hope American quality is up to snuff by then.