Saturday, November 12, 2005

Could the Bantam/Courier be a new Brat? What is a Brat?

The Subaru Brat, sold in this country for about a decade. A trucklet, available with either front or all wheel drive. It's big claim to fame at the time was the bed mounted rear facing seats. Something that would never be allowed today, with safety concerns and regulations. Based on the Subaru GL sedan and wagon, it was a sort of cult classic, very 80's. Click the link above to see an enthusiast website.
Now in my previous post, I had mentioned the Bantam/Courier from Ford, and said it could be the next Brat. I then realized that's it's been about 15 years since they were sold here, hence the link above. Now you will notice the same theme here, a car based small utility truck. Rare in North America, but common around the globe. The only ones I can recall being sold in the US were the Subaru Brat and Volkswagen Rabit pickup. The closest American competitor was the Dodge Rampage trucklet based on the Omni O24.
Subarus were the only one available with the optional all wheel drive, and would often be seen with these little push bars and camper shells for the rear passengers. I never actually recall seeing anyone ride in those seats.
Subaru attempted to re-enter the "truck" market in 2003 with the Baja, again car based, this time only available with the all wheel drive and more upmarket than the Brat. Based on the Legacy Outback sedan/wagon.
Now, the Bantam/Courier is not available with all wheel drive, to the best of my knowledge, but since it shares lineage with the EcoSport, I assume it could be done. So this could be the new Brat for the 21st century.
As much as I'd like to see this little trucklet come to the US, I'm not sure. Although if Toyota does bring the Tb trucklet based on the Xb wagon/van (?) then Ford would have the ability if they chose to come out with an instant competitor. Even without the all wheel drive, this vehicle could be fun and economical. And it's available with the Diesel Dura Torq Engines.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere recently that these plans are in trouble because of the weak dollar, squeezing profit margins on imported vehicles from places like Brazil.

Ben K said...

We had the Brat but here it was called the Brumby, which is a wild horse. Much tougher than Brat.

It just occured to me that a Brumby/Mustang pair would be a winner for Ford.us. ;)

NLPRacing said...

I'll take mine with a diesel please!

Big Ford Fan said...

NLP a diesel with all wheel drive may be a fun little runabout. Maybe even without the all wheel drive. A "truck" that gets 40 mpg would be useful to say the least.