Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Subaru


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.

11 Comments:

Blogger Trop said...

I used to buy only Japanese vehicles (Mazda). But in 1996 I held my nose and bought a Jeep Cherokee. It's been a very durable and practical vehicle for me. It's 11 years old now, and has close to 160K miles on it. I've had few problems with it all this time, knock on wood.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Don't count on it based on my experience with my Ford so far.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

I have a Camry with almost 170,000 miles on it. Runs great, looks perfect still. Not one tear or stain in the upholstery. It's the same car I learned to drive in, and let me tell ya, that car is ZOOMY!

7:29 AM  
Blogger Zoe said...

Well if you buy Subaru you are supporting many Americans who work in Indiana at the Subaru plant. The same Subabru plant which is a zero landfill plant, I might add, and the same plant which supports many area organizations.

The Lafayette Subabru plant also makes Toyota Camerys.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my pathetic driving career, I've totalled two Subaru's and came out unscathed. Subaru's are Built to Last! Or is that Ford?

9:21 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

We used to be Ford people...

Now? It's Honda all the way because life is just too short to be propping up a substandard vehicle for the sake of "buying North American".

9:51 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

>>>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. <<<

Unusually poor record. Now lets analyze,,,, what did all of these cars all have in common...
...what could it be,,what could it be?

>>>In 1978 pickup trucks could not be imported into the US.<<<

HuhAAAAA?!!!
Naaaaa!
Millions of foriegn pickups have been imported annually since the 1950s.
By the way, my 63 Ford pickup has 349,000 miles and mu old Ford tractor is 66 years old.
Both are VERY dependable, run like a top.
:-;

10:16 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Trop, Jeeps got better after Iacoca had Chrystler buy out American Motors.

Lori, somehow I've been totally poisoned by the Fords I've owned. Gearhead is a Ford man, but then he has a superior mechanical abilities, and he also possesses luck.

Jaggy, from the Camary owners I know their loyalty to their cars are unmatched by any other.

Zoe, thanks and that makes a future decision even easier.

Anon, did those cars have names??? Do tell!

Trish, my first Ford was made in Canada, but hey, bygones.

Gearhead, what pickups have been imported before 1980? The laws banning full-sized pickups were just lifted a few years ago. I do remember seeing some Datsans back in the 70's, but nothing else and nothing larger than a toy truck.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

Well, lets see:
From the day Volkswagons were introduced into the US, they imported pickups.
Yes, Datsun, AND Toyota clear back into the 1960s and every since.
Mazda (Ford Courier) in 1972.
Izuzu (Chevy Luv) 1971
Suzuki 1968 (now these were TINY)
What do I win?
:-0

12:19 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Remember my post about buying a new car? (Of course, why would you?) Anyway, I downsized from a Subaru Outback to an Impreza. Great cars!

4:39 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Gearhead, I'll leave something for you with your uncle.

Beth?!? I do read your blog every day, you know. Yes, I remember. Just because I don't comment every day doesn't mean I don't love you, ya know. I lurk and think kind thoughts.

5:01 PM  

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