Survivor Subie: 1986 Subaru Brat

While Subaru is mostly known these days for its successful Impreza and Legacy models, fans of the company admire the BRAT, a unique, car-based pickup that stands for “Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter.” This 1986 BRAT is available here on eBay, and it’s a pristine example of this cute utility vehicle.

This clean Subaru is available in Livingston, Montana with a clean title. This particular example sold at a Barrett-Jackson in 2018 and the seller indicates that the vehicle spent most of its life in California, making it a rust-free example.

The exterior of this BRAT is extremely clean, with only some minor scratches on the box and box corner, as well as some blemishes on the exterior details. One of the more notable features of the BRAT is the rearward-facing bed-mounted seats, but they are absent from this one. The seller believes the original owner did not order them as an option when the vehicle was new.

While the exterior has a few minor imperfections, the seller notes that the interior is like new. The cabin features front bucket seats, a push-button AM/FM radio, a sliding rear window, intermittent wipers, and more. Also, the air conditioning system is fully intact and worked during this past summer, but the seller notes that it will now need a recharge.

Under the hood, you’ll find a 1.8-liter flat 4-cylinder engine, which pairs to a 4-speed manual transmission and a dual-range 4-wheel-drive system. The drivetrain has only traveled 45,450 miles during its lifetime.

The Buy it Now price for this BRAT is $12,950, which is slightly less than it sold for at the 2018 Barrett-Jackson auction. Could you see yourself owning this immaculate piece of Subaru history?

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Comments

  1. Hoos Member

    If memory serves, the rear seats were standard. They were installed to get around the heavy tariff on Japanese trucks at the time. This would be a fun toy!

    Like 10
    • Francisco

      The Chicken Tax

      Like 1
    • Dan Mar

      Exactly… There was no option to NOT have them. In fact, you can tell they were there by the presents of the 2 vertical bars over the back window. Those bars were what the headrests attached to. Early BRATs did not have those.
      I’m guessing the original owner left those there when the seats were removed as sort of a cab protector. Good Idea IMHO

      • Doug

        I believe that the Feds had stepped in by 1986 and said that all seats must have a roof over them. My 1986 Brat had those same bars, but no seat frame , which would have been welded in at the factory. The individual seats on the Brats were easily removeable from the frame- just 2 “security” Allen screws per seat.

        I was able to grab a pair of Brat seats and the seat frame out of an earlier Brat – I think it was an 83 or 84, and it took 2 of us over an hour and several sawzall blades to cut the frame out- we had to take a large amount of the floor out due to the double layer construction, and then trim the floor away from the seat frame. ( I bolted them to a sheet of plywood, which was then bolted to the floor of my Studebaker pickup bed for cruise nights. )
        I loved my Brat, which was my daily driver for about 10 years. They are a bit underpowered and slow up long grades – a 5 speed would have been a nice option ! New, i think they were 78 horsepower. I stopped using mine as a daily driver when I bought a used Forester, which got 5 miles per gallon better economy, and had much more power. I almost never used the factory A/C in my Brat – just popped the T-top open, and opened up the back window.

        Like 1
  2. Sherminator

    The jumpseats were sadly discontinued after the 1985 model year.

    Like 4
    • Dan Mar

      Interesting fact, I never heard that. The 87′ that I once owned, had them in the back . Was pretty scary to ride in them with only grab handles and no seat belts.
      If what you say was true, Maybe the were add at the dealer. Because back then, at least here in NY, if the seats were not there, it would have to be registered as a commercial vehicle. Which carried a higher registration fee and insurance costs. People would be less likely to purchase one from the dealer new.

  3. handsonman

    I loved my ’78, drove it everywhere. It went in snow pretty well if not too deep.
    Good on gas and the motor could be lifted out by two reasonably strong backed men. I finally gave it up when the rear swing arm support rusted off.

    Like 1
  4. Charlie H

    The auction pic appears to be a different color vehicle???

    Like 1
  5. Comet

    For some reason, I seem to remember that you had to take the weird rear facing seats weather you wanted them or not. Perhaps a way around calling it a pick-up truck? I could be wrong. I do know most were removed after being sold.

  6. schooner

    All that for a couple of jump seats. It’s amazing we survived jumping railroad tracks in the back of pickups while laughing like crazy, beer cans rolling around. Nanny state (sigh).

    Like 2
  7. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    cool…….

  8. Tiki Vegas

    Wouldn’t you rather get one of the newer ones? What are they, like a 2005? Newer? I had a 84 Subaru, did NOT love.

  9. TAGS

    Purchased 2 BRATS…a yellow 78 and a charcoal 85. Both were great vehicles for their time. Well over 100k on each in PA salt…until rust claimed both.

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