Jay Nelson’s Subaru Brat Camper

I stopped by Jay Nelson‘s house in San Francisco Wednesday on my way to Santa Cruz (to check out the sliding doors on his shop — for the sliding doors I’m about to build on my curved-roof shed), and this was parked out in front. The body is made of wood, and there’s a copper roof which lifts up.

The vehicle is a Subaru Brat (which, in Subaru-ese) stands for  “Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter.” 4-wheel drive.

According to Autoweek:

“The BRAT came with one engine at launch, a 1.6-liter flat four mated to either a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. Two trim levels were offered, DL and GL. The GL had four headlights, the the DL had two. In 1981 displacement was raised to 1.8 liters while power grew from 67 hp to a whopping 73. In 1983 an optional turbo engine was offered with 93 angry Japanese ponies. Early models had a single-range transfer case; later models came with a dual-range unit. The strange Subaru Baja eventually came to continue the legacy, but only 30,000 were sold in the four years (2003-2006) it was produced.”

We are doing a new book, Hit the Road, Jack: Adventure Rigs, and Jay’s unique vehicles will be featured, along with those of Mike Basich and other creative builders.

Note: if you have anything to contribute, or know of cool road rigs, contact evan@shelterpub.com.

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