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.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

One Response to Jay Nelson’s Subaru Brat Camper

  1. Lloyd,

    I would be most appreciative if I could have a conversation with you either by email or phone.

    All the very best,
    Howard
    Cell: 619.980.4586
    Land: 858.454.2628

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