While the number of Popsicle-green car-based mini pickups with Lambo doors can probably be counted on the thumb of one hand, that’s just what today’s Nice Price or No Dice BRAT is. Let’s see if this custom truck’s price is a deal — or whether it rates another kind of single-finger salute.
Do you ever feel like you’re the world’s only non-bonkers person? OK, maybe not quite that solitary, but do you often find yourself to be in the minority on certain topics? It seems that yesterday’s 1999 Volkswagen Eurovan put many readers in that awkward position.
Prices on the German-built people carriers are just crazy these days, inexplicably dragged up by their Transporter predecessors. Few of you, however, were having it, even though the seller of yesterday’s van promoted its $6,500 price as the cheapest you’ll find on Craigslist. High mileage and some mismatched wheels served to undercut that boast, as the van fell in a 62 percent No Dice loss.
Kermit the Frog famously lamented the tribulations of life that came with being green. Today’s 1985 Subaru Brat is very green, but unlike Kermit’s concern about the color blending in, this Brat was built to stand out.
Subaru introduced the BRAT (a tortured acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) to the U.S. in 1978 and sold the model here until 1987. This one has all of the coolest features you could get from the factory: side-opening T-top roof, side step ahead of the rear wheel arches and a pair of all-weather jump seats in the bed for intrepid passengers who value hindsight. On top of all that, this BRAT has seen some serious — or let’s be honest, not so serious — customizing. Those include faux hood scoops, GMC-style side trim and most notably, scissor-hinged doors.
There’s more, including custom upholstery and what looks to be an ah-ooo-ga horn under the hood. While admiring that, you might also take note of the color-matched air-cleaner housing and the cool way its shape conforms to the spare tire efficiently living in the engine bay. The engine beneath that spare is a 1.8-liter SOHC boxer four; it makes a determined 73 horsepower. That’s coupled with a five-speed manual and Subaru’s AWD, which before this model year had gained a dual-range transfer case.
The ad notes 91,500 miles under the tires, and it has a clean title. The pictures show all the extensive customizations, including color-matched upholstery on the seats, a necker’s knob on the wheel and a small portable cocktail bar behind the jump seats in the bed. Those seats, by the way, let Subaru classify the Brat as a passenger car rather than a light truck, thus escaping the infamous 25 percent “chicken tax” that the Feds levy on small import trucks. Of course, those seats wouldn’t pass muster with NHTSA these days, so consider them a nod to America’s Wild West past.
Is this a show-quality trucklet? Apparently not. The seller comes right out in the ad and quashes that notion. You will also note a dent at the leading edge of the hood in the photos as well as what appears to be a dead headlamp. Those could be easily fixed, but who would have the time while already enjoying the Lambo doors or a refreshing mocktail (remember kids, don’t drink and drive) in the bed? You apparently wouldn’t have to worry about the mechanicals while enjoying the BRAT’s aesthetic pleasures — the seller notes that those have been maintained at the same level as the body and interior.
The asking price is $9,500, and before you all start a fistfight over who gets to be the first in those cool back seats, let’s vote on whether that’s a deal or not. What do you say, is this custom Brat worth that $9,500 asking? Or, does that price have you thinking that Kermit was right?
H/T to Matthew Blessing for the hookup!
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