Remember the Subaru Brat with seats in the pickup bed?

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In the aftermath of the oil crisis, compact vehicles, including pickup trucks, were in high demand in the United States. 

Chevrolet brought in an Isuzu pickup badged as the LUV and then added its domestically developed S10. Dodge imported a Mitsubishi model it called the D50 and then did its own Rampage. Ford used a Mazda it sold as the Courier until it downsized its own Ranger.

Toyota and Nissan had popular entries in the compact pickup truck market and Subaru got into the act as well when the president of Subaru of America asked headquarters in Japan for a vehicle that would have unique appeal.

Two rear-facing seats mounted into the pickup bed

The result was the Subaru Brat, which not only had four-wheel drive but four seats — two of them mounted rear-facing in the pickup truck bed.

A 1983 Subaru Brat is the Pick of the Day. The trucklet is advertised on ClassicCars.com by a specialist dealership in Alsip, Illinois.

As the advertisement notes, Brat was short for Bi-Drive Recreational All-Terrain Transporter. 

The ad notes that the Brat was never sold in Japan; it was an export-only vehicle, and that the rear-facing jump seats were welded in place and had adjustable headrests, seatbelts and grab handles.

The Brat for sale is a “very nice sold rust-free Montana vehicle,” the seller notes, adding that it has a 1.8-liter boxer 4-cylinder Subaru engine, 4-speed manual transmission, AM/FM/Cassette audio system, air conditioning, driving lights, pop-up roof panels and adjustable steering column. 

It is painted in World Rally Blue with dark blug and gray interior, custom cargo bed mat/carpet, and gold-colored Enkei wheels.

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The odometer shows 216,497 miles, yet the vehicle appears to be immaculate in the many, many photos that are part of the advertisement. The asking price is $14,900.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the Web and becoming the author of more than 15 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

8 COMMENTS

    • You’re right. $15 grand is a lot. But asking is not always getting, but you never know. There is always somebody out there that has a sentimental attachment to that particular vehicle.

  1. Agree with Jim A comment below. Over 216,000 miles and their asking about $15,000. What a joke and insult to us members of the car collecting community. Seller needs to come back down to earth.

    • I disagree with Jim A, Ed H and Neil O. $15k for an example of the least-safe-for-passengers vehicle probably ever sold in the US is cheap. Why wouldn’t you pay $15K for a vehicle with the seats welded into the bed in a way that your passengers’ heads were above the roof line? Or that had GRAB HANDLES (and no seat belts) for your rear passengers so they wouldn’t tumble out on acceleration/fall out going around a corner/get shucked out if you were fool enough to actually ride back there off-road?

      And Neil, the real "insult to us members of the car collecting community" is people paying $50 million for Ferrari race cars you could’ve bought in period for $5000 or less and then never driving them. Or Cobras auctioning for $800,000. How exactly do you "insult members of the car collecting community" by asking inflated prices? Isn’t that the very basis of that "community" these days, or did I miss something?

      • Don’t know where you’re going with this Norman but the mother in law seat in back might have been like the road to hell paved with good intentions. Did it ever dawn on you or anyone why they were all exported to the US? And why you never see Chinese ever eating the food( except plain rice) they serve in their restaurant? I’m assuming the same reasoning they’re shipping their garbage products here. Now a good point to ponder Norman is who or why anyone would piss away $50 million or $800k buying a car? Certainly more money than brains.

  2. They’re going up because radio control Bratz we’re sold all over the world now those kids that had that radio-control brat are millionaires and they will spend anything to get their hands on a brat they’re just trying to find them

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