Subaru BRAT

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Subaru BRAT
1985 Subaru Brat
Parent companyFuji Heavy Industries
Also calledSubaru Brumby
Subaru Shifter
Subaru MV
AssemblyŌta, Gunma Japan
SuccessorSubaru Baja
Body style(s)2-door coupe utility
Engine(s)1.6 L EA-71 H4
1.8 L EA-81 H4
Transmission(s)4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
RelatedSubaru Leone
ManualService Manual

The Subaru BRAT (an acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) was a pickup version of the Subaru Leone from the 1970s. The BRAT was developed directly from the company's four-wheel drive station wagon model and was first introduced as a 1978 model. Similar in concept to the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero, American versions also had carpeting and welded-in jumpseats in the cargo area that served to reduce import duties. Although the Brat could fairly be called a truck, the seats in the cargo bed allowed Subaru to designate the BRAT as a passenger car. Passenger cars imported into the US were charged only a 2.5% tariff, compared to 25% charged on trucks. The BRAT was restyled in 1981 and the jumpseats were discontinued after the 1985 model year. The BRAT was introduced with a rise in popularity of small trucks being sold in the USA, primarily from Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda. Production continued into 1993 but ceased to be imported to North America in 1987. It was also known as the Brumby in Australia and the Shifter in the UK. Imports to Europe, Australia, and New Zealand continued until February 1994. The BRAT wasn't sold in Japan and was manufactured for export markets.


All BRATs had four-wheel drive and the Subaru EA engine. Early models received a 1.6L EA-71 whereas 1981 and later models received a 1.8 L EA-81 engine. 1983 and 1984 models could be purchased with an optional 94 hp (70 kW) turbocharged engine. Manual transmissions were standard on all models and an automatic transmission was available on turbocharged BRATs. 1980 and earlier models had a single-range transfer case, while 1981 and later GL models had a dual range transfer case (DLs still had single range) and all turbocharged models were equipped with an automatic transmission with single range push-button four-wheel drive.

Notable owner

President Ronald Reagan owned a 1978 BRAT until 1998, which he kept at his ranch near Santa Barbara, California. The vehicle has since been restored and returned to the ranch, which is now owned by the Young America's Foundation.[1]

In popular culture

In the television show George Lopez; Ernie Cardenas, George's best friend, drives a Subaru BRAT.

In the television show My Name Is Earl, Joy drives a Subaru BRAT painted with the American flag.[2]

In the online comic Achewood, it is implied that everyone who goes to hell receives a 1982 Subaru BRAT. [3]


  1. "The Presidential BRAT", Drive – The Magazine from Subaru, Winter 2009
  2. Photos of BRAT from My name is Earl at
  3. Achewood § December 1, 2003