Quicker than a V-8-powered dragster!

The Subaru BRAT was a cool, light-duty utility vehicle that the Japanese brand sold in various markets from 1978 to 1994. The BRAT wasn’t particularly powerful for its era and wasn’t very popular either. But its lack of power didn’t stop one Australian owner from turning his BRAT into a high-performance dragster. This seemingly standard BRAT ran the quarter-mile in only 7.95 seconds at a whopping 168 mph.

1,000 Freaking Horsepower!

Drag Brumby quickest Subaru EJ in the world. 7.95 @ 168mph #diversiongarage #diversiontuning #dragsubaru #subaru #dragbrumby #motec #friendsdontletfriendsracewithoutmotec #ej25 #garrettturbo #7secondclub #7secondsubaru

Posted by Diversion Garage on Friday, August 2, 2019

So what makes this BRAT insanely quick? It might sound surprising, but it doesn’t have a massive V-8 under the hood. This small utility coupe is actually powered by Subaru’s very own 2.5-iter flat-four engine. Obviously, the owner meddled with the unit more than a bit, adding a Garrett GRX42R turbocharger and a MoTeC M150 ECU. Coupled with other mods, the mill cranks out a whopping 1,000 horsepower. It’s also worth noting that the engine gulps methanol instead of gasoline. All that oomph is sent to the rear wheels through a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission with a 6,000 rpm stall converted with a nine-inch rear end sourced from Ford. Amazingly enough, the engine still features a stock block and crank.

Eight-second quarter miles are incredibly rare

A Subaru BRAT Just Ran a Quarter-Mile in Less Than 8 Second And We're Not Sure if This is Real Life
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This Subaru Brat is not a car you'd want to go against at the drag strip

It’s pretty amazing that this BRAT can do the quarter-mile in less than eight seconds, but it’s incredible for non-professional race cars as well. Dodge, who put a lot of effort into the Challenger Demon, only managed to build a nine-second car. At the 9.65 seconds, the Demon is notably slower than this BRAT. Hennessey’s upgrade takes it into the low nines, which is also at least a second slower. Most supercars on the market also need more than nine seconds to complete the run.

Essentially the BRAT competes with full-fledged drag racers and heavily modified cars. And most of those heavily modified racers are powerful by big V-8 engines, while others, like the Nissan GTR, feature V-6 engines. Only a handful of privately owned vehicles are able to complete the run in less than eight seconds, and all of them generate in excess of 1,500 horsepower, while some even hit the 2,000-horsepower mark.

So yeah, this Subaru Brat is as impressive as they get and it’s not a car you’d want to go against at the drag strip.

The Cool Little Japanese Ute

A Subaru BRAT Just Ran a Quarter-Mile in Less Than 8 Second And We're Not Sure if This is Real Life
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The BRAT was produced from 1978 until 1994

Introduced in 1978, the BRAT, also known as the Brumby in Australia, is based on the Leone, launched in 1971. Developed to match the demand for small trucks in the United States, the BRAT arrived with a big advantage over competitors from Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda: it had a four-wheel-drive system. The latter was borrowed from the station wagon version of the Leone. It came with options like a T-top roof, a spring-loaded hidden door for a side step into the cargo bed, and a spare tire under the front hood, which were very cool for the era.

Although imports to the U.S. ceased in 1987, the BRAT was sold in Europe, Australia, and South America until 1994. As an interesting fact, Subaru never sold the BRAT in Japan, its home market, so the truck became a popular grey import in the country.

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The truck was sold with two flat-four engines, displacing 1.6 and 1.8 liters. The most powerful version was turbocharged and delivered 94 horsepower. Transmission choices included a four-speed manual and a three-speed automatic.

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was the most notable BRAT owner. Reagan owned a 1978 model that he kept at his ranch in California until 1998.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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