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Nice Price! $5,000 1986 Subaru BRAT

Subaru’s legendary BRAT (Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) has quite a following and these early Subaru 4x4s do, in general. This beautiful looking 1986 Subaru BRAT can be found here on craigslist in Thornton, Colorado with an asking price of $5,000.

Frankly, I’m surprised at the somewhat low price listed for this BRAT. I don’t really see any flaws in it other than one tiny ding in the body and that’s it. There are no underside photos and no mention of rust which would be the biggest worry for me. I got in touch with the seller who is a heck of a nice guy and they said that there’s some surface rust on the bottoms of the doors and surface rust on the rockers but that’s about it. This is a great looking car for the money, there is no question about it.

There is no Cyclops passing-light on this one, it’s too late in the model run for that. And, it’s one year past the infamous jump seats for the bed, even though the seller says that it comes with a set. From what I’ve read, some insurance companies make BRAT owners sign a waiver that they will never allow anyone to sit on those jump seats while the car is on a public road. This car looks much nicer than the $5,000 price tag would have you think.

This is a manual transmission which was standard, no pun intended. All BRATs had Subaru’s 4WD system and other than a couple of cracks on the top of the dash I don’t see any flaws inside. I would really like to have a small car-based pickup like a BRAT or a Subaru Baja, it’s too bad that there aren’t any new vehicles like this anymore, at least in the U.S. Do we all really need a giant 4×4 four-door pickup? I don’t.

The engine even looks like new on this car, amazing. I don’t see any flaws or even any surface rust in the engine bay. My old ’88 Subaru RX Turbo had an incredibly clean and nice engine compartment so I guess it’s possible. The engine is Subaru’s tried and true EA-81, 1.8L boxer-four which had around 75 hp. The seller says that it runs excellent and passes emissions tests and this car even has new front brakes, new u-joints, and wheel alignment. It also comes with another set of wheels. This is one of the nicest BRATs that I’ve ever seen and the best deal on one that I have ever seen. It will not last long at this price.


  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    Whoop-De-Doo for my Subaru!

    Like 1
  2. Dean

    Posted 8 days ago and still available…hmm

    Like 1
  3. 8banger Dave Mika Member

    Tempting, as my shop’s just down the road from it…

    Like 2
  4. JBP

    I realy understand you like it Scotty. That targa roof look cool. Crazy its still so nice condition. Its still a 33 year old pickup.

    Like 0
  5. Alan

    I owned three of these, only issue that I would want to check besides rust is if it’s leaking gear oil from around the shift linkage. There’s a bushing that wears out, and you have oo pull the trans, take it apart, remachine the casing area and replace it, massive PIA….

    Like 2
  6. Chevy Guy

    The person who buys this should change the decals and badges to BRAP and put a rotary in it! :)

    Like 2
    • Ford Fan

      Booooo…. worst idea ever…. why would you ever do that… a better idea is the rotary in the corvette that Rob Dahm did…. much better

      Like 0
      • Chevy Guy

        Wrong. The rotary Corvette is stupid. Its slower and worse sounding than the original LS. Nice try Zach

        Like 0
  7. Dave

    Here in Pittsburgh people bought these and used them for their intended purpose. They lasted maybe five years before they rusted out.

    Like 3
  8. CJinSD

    This may have been the first Japanese car I ever wanted. Heck, when I was a kid I wanted a go-kart with a BRAT body. Three years ago, I’d have rolled the dice on this one at this price over the phone. Then I started running a shop that practically specializes in Subarus. Now, I cross the street to avoid them when possible. We never worked on one that from before they went to 4-valve per cylinder heads, but they sure don’t know how to design and build the engines they’ve been selling for the past thirty years. Every new Subaru comes with Subaru Cooling System Conditioner in its radiator, which is also sold as Holt’s RadWeld. They’re the fly-by-night used car dealer of new car companies. They have the best marketing in the business though.

    Like 2
    • emeltz Member

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. I always loved the BRAT when I was younger but now run a shop that specializes in European cars, still we see our share of Subarus. Unfortunately there’s a Subaru dealer in our small town so they’re easy to buy new and people love them. I just don’t get it. Head gaskets, it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.

      Like 0
  9. Russell Casey

    I have a 2017 outback. It has been excellent for the past 33 months. However just no of ANY older Subaru as a daily driver! I had friends who had a couple of these and they were rust prone and questionable quality.

    Like 0
  10. 8banger Dave Mika Member

    CJinSD, I too, run a shop, and as we say, Subaru Crisis Week continues!

    Like 0
  11. 433jeff

    With a cap on it you can open the rear slider and your pooch can look out the drivers window, great dog rig , great in tje snow( till it gets too high) and the 81 is the no timing belt rig, will get 20-25 mpg? On a rag basis, you always have your foot in it, not a ton of power, i would love to find a silver or blue even tan wagon body, not a lot on cl. Had a bunch of these, had a rust free one, stripped the paint and put por 15 on it.

    Like 0
  12. Mountainwoodie

    ooohhhh…T-Tops (sort of)……..looks really nice but for whatever reason.the market seems to be saying nein!

    I wonder why…..small trucks are the best imho

    Like 0
  13. Tom Justice

    What did they do with the rear seats they cut out?

    Like 0
  14. Steinar Andersen

    I have had at least 6 1981-1984 Subarus (including a 84 GL 2 door coupe w/ automatic, an 81 4wd DL Wagon w/ 4 spd, an 81 4wd GL Wagon w/ 4 spd & cyclops light, 83 GL Wagon w/ automatic, an 82 GL Wagon w/ automatic, and a 86 GL hatchback w/ automatic). I’d trade my 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII w/ no rust and 108k miles for this….. easy. I sent him a CL message….. I doubt he’ll respond, but who knows………

    Like 0
  15. W9BAG

    A fellow Soldier in the National Guard had one, and loved it; nothing but praise. But I recall him mentioning taking out the spare tire. Looks like either a 2 person job, or 1 person with a strong back. Or better yet, AAA.

    Like 0
    • Bob

      I never knew they put the spare tire there. Can you even imagine lifting that thing out of there loaded with grease?? No thanks!!

      Like 0
  16. Sergio.

    I am interested contact number please

    Like 0

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