Cars

This Subaru is a BRAT

You read that right, and we aren’t talking about the car’s temperament. The Subaru BRAT is a two-door utility coupe, kind of like the El Camino. The name BRAT is actually an acronym for bi-driver recreational all-terrain transporter and was designed to enter the market as a competitor for other small pickup trucks that were becoming more popular at the time.

The BRAT was designed in the 1970s through the 1980s which explains a lot of the quirky and odd designs.

Riding in the bed of a pickup truck isn’t something most people look forward to doing. While you may have done it and some point in time, there are different legalities on speed limits and safety features that must be heeded in order to not get a ticket, but the BRAT had something new in mind. When Subaru designed the BRAT they were facing one major problem: high import taxes into the United States.

One solution they found for reducing the import tax on this tiny pickup was to install seats in the bed of the truck. That’s right, the BRAT had two seats in the cabin and two additional seats in the bed that faced backward. You may be wondering how that somehow made the import taxes on the BRAT lower. Well, the additional seating turned this recreational vehicle into a family vehicle. Would you strap your children into the bed of this little Subaru? Most likely not.

MY NAME IS EARL — “Harassed a Reporter” Episode 19 — Aired 4/12/07 — Pictured: (l-r) Jaime Pressly as Joy Turner, Ethan Suplee as Randy Hickey (Photo by Karen Neal/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Weird features of the BRAT

It’s not surprising that a car that looks as weird as it does would also feature some pretty weird things. The air vents on the dashboard are actually just one large vent that runs across the entire front of the car. The dashboard and interior are rather minimal and don’t offer much luxury or comfort. The cabin has two seats, and to access the additional two rear-facing seats there is a small step built into the side of the car just behind the door that allows extra passengers to climb into the bed of the truck.

The seats in the rear of the truck are just as uncomfortable to sit in as they look to be. There is no real safety mechanism to keep you seated in place, but there are two large handles with grips on either side of each seat for your passengers to hold on to for dear life.

The BRAT was also a somewhat convertible car. Two sunroof or hard tops above the driver and passenger can be removed completely as a T-top convertible. With the top removed and the windows rolled down you could enjoy a nice breeze as this 80hp mini pickup truck meanders down the road. It does have four-wheel drive capability to give it the offroad capability you probably won’t use.

The Subaru BRAT is a cool alternative for the El Camino if you’re in the market for a mini pickup truck.