Subaru Brat
Model Number: 58038




Rear 2WD, no differential


Independent Friction Coil Sprung, front double "wishbones", rear trailing arms

Chassis Description

Spaceframe plastic

Body Type

ABS White Plastic



Wheel Base





front:Semipneumatic rubber tire
Rear:Semi pneumatic rubber tire

Very popular beginner's car. Simple to work on and tough with plenty of scope to improve the standard performance, topped by the usual highly detailed scale bodyshell. The Subaru Brat is the first Tamiya to use this chassis which is basically still in use today on the 58192 King Blackfoot. (Original description by Michael)



10/10/2013 6:53:09 PM

After all the these years on Tamiyaclub I am surprised that I have never written a review about my one all time favourite Tamiya Buggy. I plan to write this in 2 parts, first from my experience of running this buggy in the eighties and second from my experience of running this today. I will not make reference to the reissue in my review only the original.
Back in October 1983 I remember seeing the bi-monthly magazine Model Cars Monthly and purchased a copy, on the cover was the Brat, not a particular good picture I must say and not very well painted either. However after reading the review (even if they do build it wrong in the pictures) and as a novice in the RC world I wanted the Brat so much, after weeks of pestering I received the Brat as a Christmas present. WOW !! was I the happiest kid around. My dad was not much of an RC fan as such I did end up building this all myself which for a novice 12 year old rc'er and looking back I am mighty impressed. I remember the build of the chassis very well and remember that I did not have much joy setting the electrics up. The body was brush painted with humbrol paints and I am sure I made a mess of the decals but who cares. My mate at the time also received a new Tamiya - the Holiday Buggy so we used to race these a lot at the time.
Back in the eighties this was a very popular buggy, and we had heats of them at our local buggy club. They were so far in advanced of other buggies at the time. It had it's limitations however it was always an entry level buggy. But still managed to be competitive, the front suspension was restrictive due to the rubber bushes and due to the soft springs if you removed the rubber bushes the suspension wasn't much kop (they made them stronger on the Frog) The steering was perfect, very precise and with the fixed rear diff it was perfect for doing doughnuts in the dust - ACE ! everything about it was simple but effective. I disagree with some of the other comments in that in the first edition the chassis was prone to brake forward of the steering servo saver (they beefed the moulding up on later ones) The bumper support was made of a different plastic to later as such it tended to curl up with use (or should that be abuse) The rear dog bones used to wear round (I went through one set in a years of abuse so not bad going) The main issue for the beginner was painting that body right, and if you followed the instruction which stated you bond the glass and front and rear panels in it did make for a rigid shell (if you didn't do this they did tend to break more easily) But Tamiya the fitment of that rear glass was poor especially near the rear mounts).
Moving onto the present day and running a vintage Brat the biggest issue you will have is all the original black plastics have become very brittle, the first impact and they will break, luckily the resissue parts are a perfect fit if not exactly the same as original. Upgraded with a 540 motor they are pretty quick but expect to break more especially the rear body mounts.
I wouldn't recommend trying to upgrade it, by a reissue for that, run it as Tamiya intended with the 380 motor and just enjoy.. I've owned nearly 60 now over the years and never get tired of rebuilding them. I can build them in my sleep and have been know to build a running chassis up in the time it takes to make a cup of tea..

Brat Attacks

4/27/2006 9:51:14 PM

The Brats always been a firm favorite of mine ever since l can remember seeing a friend drive his against his friends Frogs. It must be something to do with the gorgeous pick-up body that really is simple to detail and sticker up. And it's this that really does make or break a Brat.

Being made for the beginner it was somehow never detailed correctly by most that built them new way back in the 1980's. Even the model magazines got it wrong!! Done correctly to the accurate instructions you were left with a nicely detailed play thing that turns heads. Sadly it's not an acurate replica of the real thing. Unlike the Ranger and Hi-Lux before it, the Brat suffers from over large wheel arches and badly scaled wheels. But as said before, it's still a gorgeous looking pick-up. Major problems with the body was that it would crack around the sun-roof frame and front wheel arches. It was also advisable not to reverse into anything as the tailgate panel would always be left looking like it was half open.

Out of the box it's not ball of fire though on the flat it will keep close tabs with a Quattro or Ascona due to their complexities and sheer weight. Even with a hard bodied shell the Brat doesn't suffer from such bloater problems. Once hotted up with a std 540 things improve but some of the sheer driving pleassure is lost as the handling becomes a little haphazard with the weight of the motor forcing over steer on turning right more so than left. The absence of a diff here really is noticeable and a worthy addition though with experiance a troublesome extra too thus l keep my diffs locked.

This was also one of the first Tamiya cars to feature all out independent suspension. And boy how it didn't work. The rear trailing arms with their soft progressive springs worked well but the front set up was always difficult to get just right. Tamiya insisted that you fitted a piece of rubber into the eye of the G1 (the sway arm) l choose not to and as a result l always had a little front suspension travel. It didn't make that much difference though as the front would bob around like a nodding dog while the back just squatted down under hard acceleration. Despite this it did make it suprisingly good off road in its limited 2wd guise when compared to other cars in the Tamiya stable. All this fun must come with a price and that cost was servos. Without the Frogs under guard you could kiss goodbye to your little Acoms servo at any given time.

There really are no vices with the Brats spaceframe chassis or anything attached to it for that matter. It's incredibly strong and my very first met with a near death accident under the wheels of a car. The body may have been wrecked but the thing still carried on albeit with a some what twisted gearbox. It has also stood the test of time spanning many models and in its final days the only major change where the apendages hanging from it. The frame itself never fell out of favour with Mr Tamiya. And as is the case parts will alwaya be available thanks to the relaunch of the Frog.

But to buy or drive? The Brat will never make it to icon status like the SRB's and 3 speeds but there will always be a market for nice tidy examples. The only question you have to ask yourself is do you drive it? l recommend that if anything, you buy 2 (or 10 like me) and have one to play with. Fitted with todays electrics and driven not to precariously (like Zakspeeds) it will serve you well, be fun to drive and it does take a good action photo.



12/20/2003 7:06:08 AM

I have built one of these from a NIB kit, and restored one. I did ball race both, which I do out of habit. It makes everything last so much longer. My NB shelf queen, is stock except for the bearings. It is not painted, but is all assembled. The task was very straight forward and not difficult at all. It is a good first car in this respect. The body detail is fantastic, as usual, however, the suspension and gearbox leave a bit to be desired. I was not to crazy about the rear dampers and the lack of them on the front. It makes the car hop like a rabbit at the least little bumb, and it handles about like it looks. I believe that is why there are a lot more chassis's around than complete cars. They got used, and used hard! The second one I bought was a complete chassis without a body kit. I found one of those, and built it up with period hop-up's including Blackfoot gears, oil dampers, ESC, Technigold, trick alloy wheels, CRP front bumper, longer front body mount. I have run this one around outside and it goes ok for the set-up. An Evo 3 it is not. It has the usual bump/understeer problems, and is really a nostalgia thing more than a serious contender. For a back yard basher, or the Subaru freak, it is a thing of beauty. I own 3 of the real things, which is how I got started in this infernal hobby to begin with. Whenever I was looking for parts, I would see the ad's for these funny little cars. The rest as they say, is history. I would recommend one to anyone, as it is one of the better detailed shell's. Stock tires and wheels are commanding a premium, thanks to their being the same as the F-150. The gearbox is the only other weak point, with the side plates wanting to flex out during hard acceleration. I love mine and will have them for a time to come.