Lambo Doors: 1985 Subaru BRAT – Sold?

Apr 2021 | Classifinds, Truckin Tuesday

May 10, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

April 8, 2021 Update – After assuming this unique Subaru BRAT sold based on its deleted Craigslist ad, we just came across a new listing by the same caretaker.  The original pictures from last year, show the house across the street being built, while we’re pleased to report the current photographs show it’s been completed.  In addition to updated pictures, the seller reduced their asking price from last year by $5,400 to land at $9,500 currently.

January 7th, 2021 Update: We just confirmed the private seller of this ride deleted their Craigslist ad, so for now we’re calling this one “Sold!”

The Subaru BRAT has emerged as a fast-appreciating icon of the 1980s, loved by Subaru brand loyalists and casual observers alike. The concept – a small yet sturdy four-wheel-drive pickup – simply doesn’t exist anymore, seemingly making it even more beloved. This example could be considered restored, but it is oh-s0-much-more than that. Check out this heavily modified 1985 BRAT originally listed in October 2020 and then reposted in April 2021 on Craigslist in Wethersfield, Connecticut for $14,900. Comparing this price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool tells us that an “Excellent” condition model is valued at $15,800, but the custom touches may affect its market value slightly.

BRAT was short form for “Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter”, so you can see why Subaru stuck with the acronym. The story of the BRAT is as weird as it looks, with the bed-mounted bucket seats a clever way of side-stepping the silly and largely useless “Chicken Tax” that was applied to light trucks and remains enforced to this very day. Despite originating with the Johnson administration, the Chicken Tax continues to make the availability of light-duty pickup trucks limited at best, unless companies like Volkswagen and Isuzu all of the sudden decide to build their “forbidden” models in the United States. All of this, along with its charming demeanor, helps to explain why the BRAT remains a fan favorite among Radwood-era car enthusiasts.

Here’s a MotorWeek Retro Review we found on YouTube putting an ’82 Subaru Brat through its paces:

What stands out about this heavily modified BRAT is not just its Lamborghini-inspired “scissor” doors but also the fact that it was modified this way in the first place. These days, BRATs are typically treated to OEM-correct restorations, or turned into light-duty off-roaders using high quality suspension components. This example was supposedly lavished with both maintenance-related repairs and custom enhancements, including wild lime green paint, the aforementioned doors, custom leather seating surfaces and floormats, and a cocktail table in the bed – perfect for a beverage while sitting in the rear jump seats. Mechanically, the carburetor, alternator, braking components, exhaust, and fuel pump have all been replaced. While the BRAT will likely to continue rising in value, this one may do better as a stock example with nice paint. Good luck with the purchase if you decide to take this unusual BRAT home!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“A Classic 1985 BRAT is for sale. I’ve owned it for 15 years and restored it to the condition shown in the pictures. All rust was treated /removed. And parts were repaired, refurbished or replaced with new factory parts, custom parts or taken from other BRAT’s. I owned 8 BRATs and restored 3. Pics of others available on requested.

This BRAT is the GL model, the loaded model with all extras available in 1985, i.e. Butterfly T-tops, Tilt Steering wheel, 1.8L Flat Four engines, Rear Jump seats, and all gauges. It runs great and just drove it to this location, 200 miles. It has won numerous car show trophies. It is not just a great looking vehicle and a head turner everywhere you go, it is also a piece of history.

In addition to routine maintenance, the following major parts have been replaced, Brake pads, calipers, and lines. Carburetor. Alternator. Wheel bearings, seals, and cylinders. Exhaust System. Tires. Battery. Fuel pump. And many more.

The car has lot of custom extras with the main ones listed below. Most can be seen in the pictures.

EXTERIOR: Custom Lime Green paint. “LAMBO” Doors. Carpeted bed. Jump Seat Headrest hand painted. Hood Scoop. New/refurbished badges. Cocktail table (non-factory!), Powder coated wheels. Matching hand painted center hub caps. New Trim rings.

INTERIOR: Custom Reupholstered seats with Subaru Logo, and door panels. New headliner. New carpeting, front and back. Grant steering wheel. Nardi shift knob and E-brake cover. Pioneer stereo system installed in aftermarket slant console. Custom floor mats, two sets. Suicide knob. Custom door armrest and window cranks. Front lit colored dashboard.

Serious inquires only. Will consider reasonable offers.

Please note that this was not a professional Concours level restoration, but can be considered a very good cosmetic, drive quality, garage restoration. The pics were taken in October 2020 and are not meant to hide anything. There are blemishes in some areas and like any other purchase of this type, the vehicle should be seen and driven.”

Do you have a Subaru BRAT story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Lambo Doors: 1985 Subaru BRAT – Sold?

    Wow. ““Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter””. I’ll stick with “BRAT:. Love the doors.


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