Home / Automotive / Cars / The Subaru Brat: Too Weird For Its Own Good?


The Subaru's BRAT (Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) compact pickup truck is nearly extinct, despite its 16-year run.

The one thing this Subaru had was timing – it went on sale in 1978 right as the fresh energy crisis was crunching. All buyers were looking for a small, work day pickup that turned decent gas mileage – and the BRAT was Subaru's answer.

It landed as the V8- and V6-powered Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet EI Camino were getting long in the tooth and with the flat power, it hit the top of the list as a result of its efficiency and price. 

All Subaru BRATs came will all-wheel drive, but its winning piece was the button that switched AWD on and off – hence the "bi-drive" in the name. 

The BRAT was produced from 1978 to 1994, though it was only imported to the US through 1987. 

The BRAT came with two rear-facing jump seats in the back, but only in North America. This allowed it to sneak in as a passenger vehicle for tax purposes as opposed to a pickup. This saved it from the "chicken tax" on light-duty imported trucks. 

The BRAT came with one engine at launch, a 1.6-liter flat four mated to either a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. 

In addition, two trim levels were offered – DL and GL. The GL has four headlights, the DL had two. 

In 1981, displacement was raised to 1.8 litres, while power grew from 67 hp to a whopping 73 hp. 

In 1983, an optional turbo engine was offered with 93 hp. Early models had a single-range transfer case while later models came with a dual-range unit. 

The strange Subaru Baja came to continue the legacy. However, only 30,000 were sold in the four years after it was produced.

Currently, there is only ONE Subaru BRAT on sale at eBay. It could be yours in a matter of days at $3,550.

So if you're interested in this strange car, possibly too strange for its own good, you better buy now!

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