Compact import pickups had been sizzling within the Nineteen Seventies, and later within the decade, Subaru needed a bit of the motion as effectively. Behold the BRAT; quick for “Bi-drive Leisure All-terrain Transporter.” Somewhat than a miniaturized conventional pickup truck like its competitors, the BRAT was extra like a tiny model of an El Camino or Ford Ranchero with its swept-back C-pillars — generally known as a “Ute” in sure elements of the world.
Based mostly on the identical platform as Subaru’s Leone station wagon, the BRAT featured all-wheel drive, which is also switched off on the driver’s discretion. This successfully turned the BRAT right into a front-wheel drive truck, saving gas and put on on the drivetrain parts — therefore the “Bi-drive” moniker. In fact, the strangest facet of the BRAT needs to be the 2 rearward-facing passenger seats mounted within the mattress of the truck.
The weatherproof plastic seats had been added solely to keep away from the 25% “hen tax” that america positioned on imported pickup vans in retaliation for overseas taxes on poultry exports. By including the rudimentary seats within the cargo mattress, Subaru might declare the BRAT as a passenger car and circumvent the tax.
Dealing with rising strain from security organizations, the BRAT misplaced its signature bed-mounted seating in 1985, and was pulled from the U.S. market altogether in 1987, though it soldiered on for a couple of extra years in different nations. One of many BRAT’s most well-known homeowners was former President Ronald Reagan, who drove one on his ranch close to Santa Barbara, California.
[Featured image by Jacob Frey 4A via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY 2.0]