The Subaru BRAT is a two-door utility coupe, similar to the El Camino. The name BRAT stands for bi-driver recreational all-terrain transporter and was created to compete with the growing popularity of other small pickup trucks in the market.
The peculiar design of the Subaru Brat was motivated by a longstanding goal: avoiding taxes. By adding rear-facing seats to the pickup bed, Subaru could categorize the Brat as a passenger car in the U.S., exempting it from the 25-percent ‘Chicken Tax’ on imported pickups. This strategic move enabled Subaru to maintain a competitive price for the Brat, positioning it against small trucks from Japanese competitors such as Toyota and Datsun (now Nissan).
In addition to the distinctive seating arrangement in the bed, the Brat featured other unique elements. Unlike many pickups, it offered removable roof panels over the passenger compartment. The vehicle also included an optional center headlight concealed behind the Subaru emblem, designed for flashing to pass other drivers.