A Subaru BRAT, or Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter, is essentially a light pickup truck with one quirky distinction; there are two rear-facing, plastic jump seats welded to the bed of the truck. Many owners remove these seats to allow more room for hauling loads, but their inclusion allowed the Subaru to import the vehicle as a passenger vehicle rather than a light pickup truck, avoid a special tax.
This distinction was important because of a 25 percent tax levied on light pickup trucks. Some people say that Lyndon B. Johnson established this tax as a response to Germany's tax on U.S. chickens in 1963. Whatever the cause, the tariff resulted in a steep decline of light trucks imported to the United States. That decline caused a huge gap in the market, because these vehicles are very useful. Ranchers, farmers and anyone carrying small loads liked them for their low fuel use and ability to carry nearly as much as full-size pickups. The original BRAT engine was only a 70-horsepower model, but it came with all-rear drive. Later models featured 1.6- to 1.8-liter engines, giving them a bit more power. Subaru later added a turbo-charged engine to the vehicle, allowing it to reach 100 horsepower.