As we continue to celebrate the history of Subaru of America, Inc. covering the introduction of several groundbreaking models that defined Subaru of America's position in the market. From the versatility of the BRAT to our first foray into high-performance luxury vehicles with the SVX, Subaru continued to provide innovative vehicle designs to fit our evolving lifestyles.

America was emerging from its doldrums. With the Vietnam War and the fuel embargo safely past, the nation celebrated its bicentennial in grand style. By 1977, our spirit was reinvigorated and our gas was once again affordable. Americans were ready to hit the highways and seek adventure behind the wheel.

What a perfect time for the Subaru BRAT to make the scene. A memorable name that means Bi-Drive, Recreational All-Terrain Transporter, BRAT was a go-anywhere, do-anything way to make the most of fun, sun and the open road. It's what American drivers needed - a sporty, economical performer that helped build customer loyalty for a car company that was still the new kid on the block.

Gaining Traction

The BRAT became an instant hit with drivers who craved the ruggedness of a 4 x 4 with the comfort of a passenger car. Its fuel economy was tops among the competition, delivering the highest EPA gas mileage of any 4WD vehicle sold in America. And the MPV model won Off Road magazine's 1978 Excellence in Engineering Award. Even today, long after the last car rolled off a Subaru assembly line, people from around the world fill the Internet with pages dedicated to the BRAT.

Similarly, in the late 1970s, the BRAT - and Subaru - gained increasing numbers of loyal customers, people who identified with the model and the brand. Like America, Subaru entered the '80s stronger than it entered the '70s. Positivity reigned.

For most of the 1980s, President Reagan oversaw a renewal of confidence among Americans. After 444 long days, the hostages returned home from Iran. MTV filled millions of homes, and teens danced along to their favorite videos just as their parents practiced their moves a generation before with "American Bandstand." And from the heart-stopping "Miracle on Ice" in 1980, to the gold rush in 1984, American athletes were turning the Olympics into their own medal mint. It was at this time that Subaru and the U.S. ski team joined forces for a long, successful combination, making the DL 4WD Wagon the ski team's official car and Subaru an official team sponsor.

Subaru was gaining traction. Drivers knew they could expect both performance and economy from Subaru, and Subaru designers continued to push the design envelope. At the same time, America was adapting to the rapid advance of home computers that were, by the year, smaller, faster, better. Subaru followed suit. The XT Coupe debuted in 1986 as a technically advanced model. Its sweeping design evoked the image of an eagle and earned the distinction of the world's most aerodynamic car. The New York Times was impressed enough to call it "the ultimate in jazzy design." It was quite a departure from Subaru's "cheap and ugly" entry into the American market less than 20 years earlier.