Exceptionally clean original 1987 Subaru Brat GL Pickup

Price: US $6,100.00 Item location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Condition: Used
  • Make: Subaru
  • Model: Brat
  • Type: Standard Cab Pickup
  • Trim: GL Standard Cab Pickup 2-Door
  • Year: 1987
  • Mileage: 122,582
  • VIN: jf3au53b6he500887
  • Color: Splendor Red
  • Engine size: 1.8L 1781CC H4 GAS OHV Naturally Aspirated
  • Number of cylinders: 4
  • Power options: Air Conditioning
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: 4WD
  • Interior color: Beige
  • Drive side: Left-hand drive
  • Options: 4-Wheel Drive, Cassette Player, CD Player, Sunroof
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1987 Subaru Brat GL Standard Cab Pickup 2-Door

A $5,000 starting bid on a Subaru Brat? With 122,000 miles?! And the reserve price is even more?! Wait; I think you'll see why after you look at the pictures and read about it.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Brat: Subaru built these little 4-wheel drive trucks from the mid 1970's to the late 1980's, with the last ones being imported to the US in 1987. While they rapidly gained popularity in the snow belt for their price and 4-wheel drive, they're most remembered today for the pair of rear-facing seats in the bed that allowed them to be imported as cars and thus avoid the Chicken Tax (Google it), giving them a 25% price advantage over other imported pickups. The trucks rapidly gained a reputation for mechanical dependability (their engines are still in high demand among home airplane builders) and ability to go just about anywhere in all weather, but they had an Achilles heel; they were built of 1980's Japanese steel and little factory attention was paid to rustproofing. Because of this, within a few years they virtually disappeared from the snowy areas where they were appreciated (and sold) most.

But the survivors are wonderful little vehicles. They have dual range 4-wheel drive that can be engaged on the fly, a hill-holder clutch that allows even novice stick shift drivers to start on a hill, removable targa tops that are about as close as you could get to a convertible in the mid-80's, and the same economy, handling and drivability as the Subaru sedans they were based on. The rated payload capacity (960 lb) is about 80% of a full-size ½ ton pickup and if, like most practical owners, you take those rear-facing suicide seats out of the back, the 5½foot bed is longer the most modern pickup beds. Plus the truck actually fits in urban parking spaces and squeezes through a lot denser forests than a full size pickup.

For those who already know about Brats: This is a truly remarkable survivor. The first owner, who bought the truck in California and later moved to Arizona, put on the majority of the miles and sold the truck after 17 years. The second owner had it for two years and drove it 160 miles, primarily using it as a show truck. I bought it 11 years ago, and after bringing it to Pennsylvania, carefully treated all body cavities and the underside with Eastwood Heavy-Duty Antirust, and have driven it sensibly since then. Here are the important details:

This truck has always been garaged and never smoked in.

The original Splendor Red paint is every bit as good as it looks in the pictures, with no evidence of fading, body damage, or rust. There aren't even any door dings. There are some stone chips on the hood and fenders (see picture), none of which have been retouched. There is some wear to the Brat decal where the cap flange touches it (see picture).

The bed has always been covered by a liner and is pristine (see picture). The stainless steel bed trim has been protected by the cap and looks like new.

The underside is also rust-free. All of the usual Brat rust traps, including the rear fender wells (note the spot welds visible under the paint in the picture), the sills, the door bottoms, and the floors, including the outriggers, are completely intact. The amber discoloration on the underside is from the Antirust coating.

The cap appears to have been on the truck since new and is in excellent condition.

The wheels still have their original paint, with a few spots of touchup, primarily where edges were scraped by tire mounting machines. The emblems on the center caps still retain their blue color.

The jack and tool kit appear to have never been used.

The engine and transmission are original and, as far as I know, have never had any work done on them other than routine maintenance. The original owner installed a radiator overflow reservoir, but I've never seen any antifreeze in it and the truck's temperature gauge has never gone above normal.

The dash is like new with no fading or cracks. The gauges still show fluorescent orange on the needles. The seats are in very good condition and show little wear with no cracks, tears or stains. The original carpet has always been protected and is in good condition. The window winders and door latches show none of the chalking that usually occurs in Subaru's of this vintage.

The original radio and cassette tape player work well. I added a wireless 12-CD player when I bought the truck. It produces a low-power FM signal that plays over the radio, and uses only pre-existing wiring, so it can be removed without affecting originality.

The factory A/C works well.

The T-tops work as they should and don't leak.

All instruments and warning lights work as they should.

High and low 4-wheel drive engage as they should, and the clutch and hill holder work well. Overall the truck drives like you would expect a 2- or 3-year old vehicle to drive.

The original owner's manual, key case, Monroney sticker, and detailed maintenance records from the last 13 years (and some earlier records) are included.

Oh, and in case you're wondering where those rear seats are: By 1987, enough fools had taken Subaru literally and used those seats and been injured in the process that Subaru decided the legal liability was worse than the Chicken Tax and deleted them...But just in case you don't care about originality and HAVE to have rear seats, I can sell you a full original set of seats, seat belts, and bed carpet. They've been in dry storage since I took them out of the first Brat I bought the day I brought it home from the dealer in 1985...

So there you have it: One of the cleanest, nicest Brats in the US (and certainly east of the Mississipi) that's been impeccably maintained for 30 years and would do well in the driven class of any car show or just as easily provide you with years of practical, economical transportation at a fraction of the price of the cheapest new truck on the market.

If you have any questions or need pictures of anything else feel free to contact me through E-bay or call me at 717-872-6687.

I'll expect a $500 deposit within 3 days of the end of the auction and the balance in the form of cash, a cashier's check, or personal check (once cleared) before the truck is released. If you intend to drive the truck home, I will be happy to pick you up at either the Harrisburg or Lancaster Airport. If you elect to ship the truck, I will work with the shipper to facilitate pickup.