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Subaru Brat: Good enough for one U.S. President

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Subaru Brat

Shown in this photo, a Tamiya, scale Subaru Brat r/c model, like the one I owned back in the mid-‘70s. 

The Subaru Brat was introduced to match the demand for small trucks in North America, in order to compete against other manufacturers, such as Toyota, Nissan and Mazda. Unlike trucks from other makes, all BRATs had four-wheel drive.

Stats: Production model years were 1978 to 1994. Assembly plants were located in Ōta, Gunma, Japan; Pretoria, South Africa; and Waitara, New Zealand. Power-trains included 1.6-liter and 1.8-liter in-line fours; with 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatics. Overall length, 174”, wheelbase, 97”, curb weight, 2,205 lbs. The 1983 and 1984 models could be purchased with an optional 94 hp turbocharged engine. All turbocharged models were equipped with an automatic transmission.

North American and Canadian BRATs featured carpeting as well as rear-facing jump seats in the cargo area, a ploy that allowed Subaru to classify the BRAT as a passenger car, rather than as a light truck, significantly reducing the costs of importing to North America. Passenger cars were charged a 2.5% import tariff, while light trucks were charged a substantially higher 25% import tariff. They were discontinued after the 1986 model year.  

Fin man factoid: The Subaru was introduced in the United States and Canada for the model year 1978. It was known as the 284 in the UK; as the Brumby in Australia; and was known as theShifter, MV, or Targa in other markets. It was an export-only model, never offered for sale in Japan.

Did you ever have a Brat? No, not the curtain climbing sort, a real, honest-to-goodness Subaru Brat. If so, write to tell me about your experience with yours. Email me at: the_fin_man@msn.com. I will have a new P.O. Box beginning next week for those who don’t have access to the internet.


This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments had no role in its creation or display. Brand Ave. Studios connects advertisers with a targeted audience through compelling content programs, from concept to production and distribution. For more information contact sales@brandavestudios.com.
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Bruce Kunz is a freelance automotive writer. He is a regular contributor for Brand Ave. Studios.

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