The Mythical & Classic Subaru Brat: Price, Specs, Features


The Subaru BRAT pickup was a small, light utility pickup truck sold in the US from 1978 to 1987. As a response to the market demand of the times for car-like pickup trucks, Subaru vehicles produced the BRAT (Bi-Drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter) for an audience that wanted something a little different. Scroll below to learn about the sales and specs data on this fun-loving model from Subaru and indulge your Subie pickup fix with our article on the classic Subaru Baja!

Everybody Loves a BRAT

Designed for people looking for a more practical way to handle the rigors of a blue-collar workday, the Subaru BRAT pickup managed to find its way to the upper echelon of American society. President Reagan even had one on his ranch in California. So what was the appeal of this nimble little transporter?

  • The Subaru BRAT pickup had permanent 4WD
  • The Subaru BRAT pickup was only 2,200lbs. and offered great fuel economy
  • The Subaru BRAT pickup offered style and personality
  • The Subaru BRAT pickup had open-aired seating in the bed

Outside of the 8-bit video game-like graphics running down the side of the Subaru BRAT pickup, the BRAT offered drivers some really cool features (apart from the external jump seats suitable for in-laws or inebriated friends), including a removable Targa top, secret side-entry bed door, funky colors like Aztec Gold & Cosmic Blue (among others), a bed-mounted light bar with tonneau cover, optional bull-bars and bed covers, and everyone's favorite: the spare tire located in the engine compartment. Hotwheels anyone?

Subaru BRAT Pickup Specs

A 4-speed manual transmission came with every model. BRAT pickups pre-1980 had a single-range transfer case, whereas certain models from 1981 onwards offered an optional dual-range unit. Drivers could experience the thrill of adventure with a 67hp 1.6-liter boxer or a 1.8-liter boxer that beefed up the BRAT with a cracking 73hp. Though the Subaru BRAT engine was never intended for tractor pulling competitions, it did manage to offer drivers an EPA-estimated 25cty/34hwy miles (as noted on a 1979 Subaru BRAT print ad).1 At the time of an oil crisis around the globe, this little spec gave the BRAT an extremely competitive edge. And it still does retain a competitive edge, even by today's EPA/MPG standards.

Though the Subaru BRAT pickup wasn't known for being powerful, it was versatile, affordable, and even practical. Power-hungry BRAT enthusiasts will get the most bang for their buck with the rare Subaru BRAT turbo, as sold in Australia, with a 1.8l turbo that produced a bushwhacking 95hp.

Subaru BRAT Pickup FAQs

With utes as distinctive as the BRAT, there are endless questions regarding their history and potential rebirth. Here are a few answers to some of the most common questions that we get here at Quantrell Subaru:

How much does a Subaru BRAT cost?

The word is out. Popularity is skyrocketing. And even the most tattered of BRAT pickups are selling for more than they were when new. NADA shows the average retail price for a BRAT when new is about $2,500. You can expect to pay about $4,000-$30,000 for one today.

How many Subaru BRATs were made?

Records indicate that there were about 100k Subaru BRAT pickup trucklets sold in the US. Most of them became work trucks and, unfortunately, have since been left to waste away in junkyards or backyards. Finding a nice example to take home is a difficult task.

What replaced the Subaru BRAT?

The Subaru Baja replaced the Subaru BRAT pickup. The Baja was also a pickup but had many comfort and capability enhancements over the BRAT. Please see our link to the Baja earlier in this article for full details.

Quantrell Subaru Believes in Tradition

We've been around for quite a while, and it's a thrill when new customers come into the dealership with their grandparents, who also bought their first vehicle from us. Quantrell Subaru near Louisville is your home for Subaru vehicles, both old and new. We welcome all classic Subaru enthusiasts to come in and enjoy our facility (as well as show off their vehicle)! So whether you drive the classic Subaru SVX, a Baja, a P1, or even a certain "stars & stripes" painted 1985 Subaru BRAT, we'd love to help you keep it at its best (even if your name isn't Earl). Our service facility is here to help, as is our world-class body shop. If you're looking to restore your Subaru BRAT pickup, our paint specialists can help you get yours back to Concours condition in no time!

1Values are EPA estimates, your results will vary.

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