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Subaru BRAT (1978 - 1993)

Last updated 22 April 2014

Cool, with four-wheel drive, rugged Subaru mechanicals and bulletproof drivetrain, farmers loved them
Rust and rarity
were produced
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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.