Live Auctions

$5,700 Bi-Drive: 1986 Subaru Brat GL


This 1986 Subaru Brat GL can be found on Hemmings for an asking price of $5,700. It’s located in La Jolla, California which must account for it not being rusted almost beyond recognition like a lot of them have been by now, unfortunately. It was purchased new at North Hollywood Subaru Imports in Glendale, California, so there ya go. Here in the Midwest we can only dream about a thirty-year old car with so little rust on it.


We probably all know that Brat stands for “Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter”. This beauty comes with “a dealer-installed at delivery, Subaru Serial No. 20047 Snug Top low profile shell.” Cool! It goes great with the classic white wheels, not to mention that it’s handy for keeping light fingers from lifting your goods out of the back.


This car is actually in very, very nice condition even though it has over 147,000 miles on it. But, you can see that the front of the hood is pretty rusty and it may be easier to find a replacement than to try to fix this one. Also, the tailgate has a couple of dents in it from some bonehead, I mean, from some person who backed into it. Sigh.. You can see in the photo of the tailgate that there are two smaller trailer ball hitches, one on each side, for what is supposedly the “oldest registered one wheel Heilite trailer in the USA, a 1954 Heilite camping trailer.” Which is available for an additional $2,500.


Other than the carpet, which looks like it should at the very least be thoroughly deep-cleaned and possibly dyed back to the original color, the interior is almost like new, with possibly some fading that could be dyed back to looking like new again. If you check out YouTube you’ll find a lot of videos showing how to dye interior parts and pieces, including fabrics, believe it or not. Or, a good detail shop can do that for you. I could be wrong on the carpet as the seller says that it’s in great condition. The seats have been covered since January 27, 1986 and are almost in mint condition, as is the dash which has also been covered with a custom dash pad and is like new. This car has t-tops, or “fun roofs”, which like most everything else here are in almost perfect condition.


This is Subaru’s 1.8L, EA-81 boxer-four-cylinder with around 75 hp. Some detailing would go a long way here. The spare tire has never been down and I’m guessing that this car has never been off road, but I’m not sure about that. We probably all know that former President Reagan had a Subaru Brat at his California ranch and it’s recently been restored and is still on display there. These were fairly tough little vehicles, although they weren’t made for abusing and then complaining about why they didn’t last as long as your former military Jeep did. Like all Subarus, they’re made for mainly on-road use, like every modern SUV is, and also the occasional, light off-road use and that’s about it. This is the last year for the Subaru Brat in the US and this looks like a nice one, especially for this price. Have any of you ever owned a Subaru Brat?


  1. daCabbie

    Haha! First to comment…

    Does it have the jump seats?

    Fun little car… good road tripper.

    • Curtis J Henshaw

      They did not have “jump seats” in 1986. I bought one brand new that last year and totaled it out with only 10,000 miles in it. Someone ran a stop sign and hit me dead center in the passengers door.

  2. grant

    Well, you don’t see these much anymore. But $5700? For that it should include the camp trailer, and no; the jump seats aren’t there.

  3. ImpalaGuy

    In my younger, less sensitive days, one of these pulled up beside my ’76 GMC 4×4 pickup at a stoplight. I asked the the kid (same age as me at the time) what that thing was going to be when it grew up. “If it’s a BRAT now, it’ll be a real bastard by the time it’s full grown.” He must have been waiting his whole life for that question.

  4. DAN

    5700 for a beater??????

  5. rdc

    Interesting vehicle. We just bought a 2017 Subaru Outback Limited. I guess I am now a Subaru fan. :)

    • Scotty Staff

      Welcome to the Subaru family, rdc! May your new Outback last as long as our 1997 has; 340,000 miles and counting.

      • rdc

        Thank you. We will try.

  6. Curtis J Henshaw

    Too high for me, but would love to have it.

  7. Paul Bellefeuille

    I wonder how many miles this one had on it… ;)
    Owner: Joy Turner

    Like 1
  8. Andrew

    I didn’t know Ronald Reagan had one. If it was good enough for him, it will be good enough for me. I can’t see Donald Trump ever getting close to one. Ah, the good old days.

    Like 1
  9. Peter

    I did not know Ronnie Ray-Gun owned one.

    I (now) know, due to an article in Hemmings, that Reagan owned a Jeep, of the CJ variety…I think it was one of the (rarer? and longer) CJ6’s.

    Reagan’s CJ-6 one of two presidential vehicles going on the National Register of Historic Vehicles

    Did he really, also own a BRAT? As a taller man, I would not have envisioned him enjoying such a small “cruck.”


  10. Allan

    I’ve got an ’82 sitting in the back yard, that is slowly (er, quickly) returning back to the earth. The north east winters are too harsh on vehicles that have to sit outside. Mine also has the snug top bed cover. From the engine picture, I see that this one has A/C. That was a rather rare option. Mine has a couple of interesting features on it. The hill-holder and the Cyclops eye. Although the price is a little high, finding one in this condition is getting harder and harder every year.

  11. James C. Ryman

    Production Numbers: 92,445 (1978-1987)

    There were under 100,000 of these ever made anywhere, it’s a wonder you can find one in descent condition.

    My daughter drives my Mod as a daily driver local to college everyday and not a day go’s by that it does not get a smile out of someone.

    Also our Mod has a 2.2 Block out of a Subaru Legacy with a 5 Speed trans.
    It’s a lot of fun, but can get expensive as everything all drive train cut out of Legacy to fit the Brat and new Custom parts such as axels had to be made when the CV joints went out.

  12. TC

    I remember Dominos Pizza using Brats in their fleet of delivery vehicles in the New England area (Vt/Nh) in the ’80’s. Anyone else remember this?

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.


WANTED 1967 Mercury cyclone convertible don’t care how bad it is but needs a good title A project Contact

WANTED 1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird Looking for an original 400 convertible, 3 or 4 speed preferred. No restomods. Contact

WANTED 1970-1971 Ford Ranchero Looking 4 pass taillight and a grill.816-269-8997 Contact

Submit Your Want Ad