What Is a Subaru Brat?


Quick Answer

The Subaru BRAT was a 2-door vehicle styled like a light pickup truck. It was produced by Subaru as an export-only car from 1978 to 1994. It is now considered a rare model.

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Full Answer

BRAT was an acronym for "Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transport," reflecting its combination of the coupe and pickup styles. The BRAT was designed in this way to avoid the "chicken tax," a high tariff exacted on several imports, including pickup trucks. In the United States, the tax was avoided by installing rear-facing seats in the bed of the pickup. This allowed the car to receive the classification of a passenger vehicle. This model is one of the few in history to have included this feature. The rear-facing seats were no longer included after the 1985 model year.

The Subaru BRAT was initially equipped with all-wheel drive and a four-cylinder engine, although later models offered a turbocharged engine. The car was considered useful to farm workers; former President Ronald Reagan used a BRAT for working at his California ranch. The BRAT's presence in pop culture also includes appearances in the film "Napoleon Dynamite" and the TV show "My Name is Earl," which displays a BRAT painted like an American flag.

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