1986 Subaru Brat GL

History of the Subaru Brat

Brat23The Subaru BRAT (an acronym for Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter) is a coupé utility version of the Subaru Leone, built from the late 1970s until 1993. Developed in Japan during 1977 at the request of the President of Subaru of America, the BRAT was designed on the basis of the company’s four-wheel drive “Leone” station wagon. It was first introduced for the 1978 model year and followed the concept of the Chevrolet El Camino and the Ford Ranchero.

US versions also had carpeting and welded-in rear-facing jumpseats in the cargo area—serving actually to circumvent a tariff known as the Chicken tax. Although the BRAT could fairly be called a truck, the plastic seats in the cargo bed allowed Subaru to classify the BRAT as a passenger car. This both left little cargo space, and it also caused a few fatalities in accidents. Passenger cars imported into the US were charged only a 2.5% tariff, compared to 25% on light trucks.

President Ronald Reagan owned a 1978 BRAT until 1998, which he kept at his ranch near Santa Barbara, California. The vehicle has since been restored and returned to the ranch, which is now owned by the Young America’s Foundation.

History of “Zeus”

A 1986 Subaru Brat STOMPER

 Brat2Zeus, the 1986 Subaru Brat was adopted March 2015 from Joanna from Eugene, Oregon. She had purchased it from the previous owner in 2010. Most of the work had been completed by Greg Callison during this time with the help of John. The only page I was able to find on the build was HERE.

Brat4 The Brat is equipped with an EJ25 liter EFI engine with balanced STi short block, 5 Speed Dual Range Transmission with Phantom Grip, Limited Slip Front Differential, Complete suspension swap from a 2002 Legacy GT that gave it power steering, 4wheel disc brakes, Rear Limited Slip Differential, 5 lug hubs and larger axles to handle the torque from the larger engine and tires, Modified front struts to Coilovers. All of this sitting on 4 inches of lift, 5 LT 215/75R15 mud terrain tires on Legacy alloy wheels. And custom front roo bumper with 2 inch receiver and set up for tow bar, and Aluminum skid plate.

Brat8 Brat7 Brat9 Brat5 Brat6 Brat10 Brat11 Brat12

Restoration / Paint


I have already begun the project earlier in 2015 by washing, detailing and performing any corrosion prevention. The Brat has 110,000 miles on the chassis with minimum corrosion to start. My friend John was able to locate a mint dashboard and engine hood in Reedsport, Oregon to replace the cracked and dented parts. Due to the 1986 models not having the rear seats, (post chicken tax) I was able to install the factory option and an overhead custom light bar by Inferno Fabrications of St. Helens, Washington. I also acquired a genuine 1980s Warn Industry Brush guard specifically made for the Brat to fabricate it to fit the custom bumper. My intentions is to install the Impreza RS hood vents and a Legacy Turbo scoop for more cooling, and have the vehicle professionally painted 569 Crest Brown Metallic to resemble the 80s-90s Stomper Toy. Below is a picture of my friend Chris’ 1986 GL Wagon which came in this color. It was only 1985-1986 Subaru had painted this color.

Brat15The wheels, front bumper assembly, overhead light bar will be powedercoated black. The Subaru Impreza 2.5RS vents and Legacy Turbo scoop will be fitted on the hood.  Windshield will require removal to facilitate minor corrosion treatment. The engine bay will be reprayed and the rear bed frame will be straightened.


Brat3 Brat19

The new hood, dashboard, fenders, headlight/grille from Reedsport, Oregon thanks to John

Brat24 Brat20 Brat19Brat22

The Rear Seats Installed

Brat14 Brat21

Thanks for viewing



Comments are closed.