Subaru BRAT (1978 – 1993) Review

Subaru BRAT (1978 – 1993) At A Glance


+Cool, with four-wheel drive, rugged Subaru mechanicals and bulletproof drivetrain, farmers loved them

-Rust and rarity

The Subaru BRAT (for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) was sold in two generations, closely related to the Leone saloon. It's a clever little pick-up version, with very El Camino-like rear end styling, only on a much smaller scale. The underpinnings were familiar, with the same flat-four 1.6- and 1.8-litre engine as used in the Leone - and here in the UK, the car proved exceptionally popular with the faming community. And Subaru importers, International Motors, played on this, establishing dealerships in rural areas.

The crossover from Mk1 to Mk2 BRAT took place in 1981, two years after the Leone was modernised. In the USA, the BRAT was far more interesting, as it was so much more than a mere pick-up truck. It was a Japanese scaling down of the El Camino and Ranchero, and ended up with a very famous owner, Ronald Reagan. Certain versions over there were sold with a carpeted load-bay, and rear-facing jumpseats, in order to be classified as a car, as opposed as a truck - where taxation would have been unfavourable. Of course, whether you'd really want to passenger in this open deck, is another question entirely.

Ask Honest John

How much is a Subaru Brat worth?

"There is an immaculate Subaru Brat for sale but I cannot find a true value. The Owner is asking £12-15k. I have never seen one in this condition. How to I find the correct value?"
Ultimately, a car is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. That's definitely a high price - but you'd be hard-pressed to find another one like it. We'd expect to see a very good one on sale at a dealer's for about £4k, while a first-rate one in the classifieds should be about £3.5k.
Answered by Keith Moody
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