When I returned from the Hot Wheels convention two weeks ago, I was proud of myself for sticking to one of my goals: fills holes in the collection without overspending. I had some good scores in the room-to-room buying, but didn’t have that huge score like I had in years past. That’s okay because filling holes on the cheap — I still spent several hundred dollars — meant I was completing collections like the Hot Wheels #Subaru BRAT where I had been one or two releases away for years.
The last car I needed for my Hot Wheels #Subaru BRAT casting collection was the 2013 #Boulevard release in matte olive green. It is not one of the harder-to-find cars from the line, nor does it go for a lot of money. I just had it in my mind that I didn’t want to pay more than $10 for it. That is how thrifty — and how patient — I am. I have literally been sitting on the last release I needed for this collection for several years. You can go on eBay now and grab one for a little more than what I paid, but for some reason, finding one for my target price was what I set out to do. Enough about the “how”. Let’s focus more on the “why”…
The #Subaru BRAT — pronounced brăt like a misbehaving child, not brŏt (short for bratwurst) — is actually an acronym for ““Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter”. It was sold from 1971 to 1994. This Hot Wheels casting is based on the first generation BRAT which was produced until 1981.
One of the more questionable decisions surrounding the 1:1 Subaru BRAT was the one to have two plastic seats in the bed as part of this 2-door trucks design. It was later discovered that Subaru placed these seats there so they could classify this truck and a passenger car reducing the North America import tariff from 25% to 2.5%. Now, the funky rear sets remain a fixture of a funky car/truck that falls in a class with other coupe utilities like the Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino.
When Hot Wheels designer Brendon Vetuskey designed the #Subaru BRAT, he went full off-road with this vehicle that came standard with 4WD. The first release of the casting came out are part of #The Hot Ones line in 2012. Despite the fact that the wheels are the same size on this release, the vehicle still has a bit of a rake as part of the casting’s chassis design. In addition to that, the casting also has side exhaust, a front brush guard, and off-road lights mounted on top of the all-metal roll bar. The Subaru BRAT was definitely made for Hot Wheels premium!
The majority of the Hot Wheels #Subaru BRAT releases have come in premium with it being in #Car Culture (twice), #Boulevard, #Cool Classics, and #The Hot Ones. And despite the yellow #Car Culture / Shop Trucks release having full deco, only the matte olive Boulevard release has painted roof lights. The #ZAMAC release from the first year of Car Culture remains one of the more underrated releases in the line.
In 2015, the Hot Wheels #Subaru BRAT was tooled for basic — complete with a plastic chassis. The deco on the first colorway in blue, however, remains one of my favorite on this casting because of the nod to Subaru’s racing history in that signature blue with gold wheels look. The second colorway for that year came in a metalflake pale yellow as part of the #Kmart Exclusive event cars for the Collectors Day held on Saturday, November 7th, 2015. Both variants feature the name of the casting designer (Vetuskey) and the graphic designer, Leeway Chang.
Two of the more recent releases of the Hot Wheels #Subaru BRAT came in basics as well. Earlier this year we saw the BRAT as part of the 2022 HW Sports 5-Pack. That release was the first time the #Baja 5-Spoke Wheels appeared on the casting which certainly gives the vehicle a more favorable off-road look compared to the classic #5-Spoke Wheels used on the 2015 releases as well as the red 2019 release from the “Off-Road Trucks” Themed Assortment.
One of my favorite looks of the #Subaru BRAT thus far came in 2014 as part of the #Cool Classics line. The red #Spectrafrost Paint shows off the beautiful casting lines designed by Vetuskey including the rivets in the fender flares and the deep recessed front grille. Of course this release suffered from being in the semi-premium tier — without full-detail and #Real Riders — but that wasn’t what the Cool Classics wasn’t about. If you want to admire this casting in-hand, holding the #ZAMAC #Car Culture release or this Cool Classics release will be your best bet. You’ll be infatuated by the tiny details Brendon accentuated like said rivets or even the tiny vents located on the hood and behind the doors.
The #Subaru BRAT is clearly one of the more underrated Hot Wheels castings out there as evidenced by my ability to sit and wait for the right price on the 2013 #Boulevard release. The same can’t be said for many of the other releases in the 2013 Boulevard line. Sure, I ran the risk of being priced-out of having one in my collection, but patience ultimately prevailed in this case and the casting collection is now complete!
Categories: Collection Update