A 1978 Subaru BRAT has done the unthinkable and sold for $46,198. Of course, it’s no ordinary example. This one bears only 2,500 miles on the odometer, a bunch of period accessories, and is said to have been owned by a former Subaru of America exec until this year. Still, this is previously unheard of territory for a classic Subaru.
The car is not without its flaws. The rear tailgate has a sizeable dent, and a the front left fender has sustained a smaller one on the wheel arch. It has likely lived in New Jersey, near Subaru of America’s headquarters, for most of its life and was sprayed with anti-rust coating on the underside.
The car also comes equipped with period trimmings, such as fog lights, winch, and brush guard bumper. It even wears era-appropriate Bridgestone tires (that probably need to be replaced). There’s even a bed cover, which are likely rarer than even low-mileage BRATs themselves.
The cabin is insanely mint, with flawless dashboard, seats, and door panels. The only deviations from stock are a wood-rimmed steering wheel, CB radio, and Clarion cassette deck.
The car also comes with loads of documentation, including a New Jersey manufacturer’s plate, microfiche parts sheets, and 20 Subaru-branded solar powered calculators. All these add to the provenance of the car, and are basically unobtainable without inside-man pedigree.
Original BRATs are rare even in Japan. In fact, they’re not even that sought-after there, or considered a significant player in Subaru history. Somehow, though, they’ve managed to lock onto the imagination of Americans who might not even be that interested in Japanese cars otherwise. Unless there’s a mint one sitting in a barn in Tasmania, this might be the finest and best-documented example in the world. Does that make it worth $46,000? I guess we have the answer. See the original auction on Bring a Trailer.
The steering wheel is probobly Personal DeepCorn. I own a thre spoke variant in leather trim.
According to Wikipedia, the BRAT was an export only model and never officially sold in Japan. Is that true? I watched this auction live in amazement that a BRAT could fetch so much. However, it is probably the finest and lowest-mileage example in existence. Congrats to the winner!
It is kind of interesting that there was never a JDM Leone Truck, or a 2wd variant anywhere in the world.
That is true. I found that odd as well, you would think with all of the Sunny pickups and Corona pickups that there would have been a market for them there.
Quite an example! I wonder what story is behind it.
On a more serious note: In another lifetime ago, I worked for banks repo’ing aircraft. The scariest jobs were not the abused ones but the ones that sat for so long. Rusted cam lobes & cylinder walls,, brittle seals that shrunk away from clamps. The banks wanted collateral of value so if it was too far gone, refusing was’nt a major issue.
That’s amazing. Even BRAT #1 has more miles on it (10,558, I went out on the exhibit floor and checked).