Fall 2006 Forward to a Friend

1978 Subaru Brat
The acronym BRAT stands for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter.

A Peek In The Attic
Part Two
Drive uncovers more of the historic vehicles stored by Subaru of America, Inc. near its headquarters in New Jersey. Part of the fleet of historic vehicles in the unofficial Subaru museum, these production and concept vehicles are indicative of the innovative nature of Subaru.

1978 Subaru BRAT 1
Launched in 1977, the Subaru BRAT was designed for the American market and became symbolic of the Subaru brand. The BRAT was developed with the platform and mechanical componentry of a 1977 Subaru station wagon at the rear and the rest of the vehicle built forward from there, fitted with other 1977 Subaru components.

The acronym BRAT stands for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter. “Bi-drive” refers to its part-time four-wheel-drive system, which can be shifted in and out of four-wheel drive on-the-fly.

The BRAT’s 1,600-cc engine is a horizontally opposed four-cylinder, mounted longitudinally. The carbureted engine produces 67 horsepower. It was available only with a four-speed manual transmission.

The Subaru BRAT housed in the attic is the first one off the assembly line, and it was driven by Subaru of America co-founder Harvey Lamm.

(Select image to view larger version.)

Launched in 1977, the BRAT was designed for the American market and became symbolic of the Subaru brand.

Notes from Roger Banowetz (Subaru Research and Development, Inc., Cypress, California), who was involved with the BRAT project:

Grille Guard:
  • Manufacturer – Jackman Wheels, El Cajon, CA
  • Available in white or black powder coat paint
  • Accepted optional winch kit (see the two small holes in the center top of the square tube)
  • Manufacturer – Jackman Wheels
  • 13" – same diameter as stock, but 1/2" wider rim width (5", I think)
  • Accept stock M&S tires
  • Used original-equipment lug nuts and center cap
  • Featured spokes individually welded to the rim, welded fully around the spoke for strength
  • Tested to SFI strength specifications
  • Available in white only from SOA
  • Trim rings optional
  • Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) option (I think)
Driving Lights:
  • SOA option
  • Manufacturer – Bosch (I recall the SOA lights were another brand)
  • Normally mounted to tabs on the roof bars
Air Deflector:
  • Manufacturer – Snug Top, Long Beach, CA
  • Intended to provide wind protection for occupants of the bed-mounted seats
  • Road testing proved the deflector effective at highway speeds (the designer, Alex Tremulis, a heavy smoker, was able to light a cigarette at 60 mph)
  • Radio antennae were not SOA products
  • The star clusters were not part of the accessory kit; they actually came from a 360 or FF1
BRAT Stripes:
  • Manufacturer – 3M
  • Offered in two colors to complement body color
  • Port of entry accessory-shop installed on all vehicles
  • Some vehicles were seen without the stripes
Roof Bar:
  • Not called “roll bar” for product-liability reasons
  • Available in two heights
  • Featured BRAT has “high” bar, intended for owners wishing to use the rear seats (the available “low” bar was for owners not intending to use the rear seats)
  • The low bar followed the roof line contour
  • The high bar and air deflector were complementing accessories
  • Manufacturer – Jackman Wheels
  • Available colors were powder coat white and black paint; the chrome/orange roof bar was special for BRAT #1
  • Roof bars had tabs for mounting driving lights