This morning I learned from Lawrence, the current holder of Australia’s Most Tolerating of David Tracy Award, that the Subaru BRAT was known in Australia as the Subaru Brumby. Shocked and confused, I soaked my monitor with a rich and powerful spit-take of my morning energy drink made from three liquified chili dogs and an entire mango. Why was I not informed of this? And, more importantly, how did we Americans get our Subaru Ute named for an annoying little kid and the Aussies get a cool-ass feral horse? Who do I angrily write about this? The Ambassador to Australia, or their ambassador to us? Some ambassador needs to get yelled at.
[Editor’s Note: Jason was informed of this. I have the receipts:
That’s way back in August, shortly after I first got to Australia. JT’s memory — it’s waning! Then again, I never did write that Brumby Ag-Quip blog…-DT]
Look at that ad up there for the BRAT, and note the little mascot on the right: a strange baby, possessing both visual signifiers of angel and demon simultaneously; a peculiar and I believe naked representation of… what, exactly, youth and humanity’s inherent conflicted nature? He has horns and a halo and one of those arrow-tipped demon tails, so really there’s a 2:3 demonic signifiers to angelic signifiers ratio.
And the Australians get that rearing horse, which is, significantly, also naked.
I mean, I don’t mind the name BRAT, but I also didn’t know we had options.
It seems the BRAT/Brumby was also just called, creatively “Pickup Truck” for a while at least, I guess until whoever worked in marketing decided to show up.
Australians don’t suffer under the Chicken Tax, so they never got the bad-ass jump seats in the rear with the BMX bike-style handgrips like we got in America to fool everyone into thinking the BRAT was a four-seat passenger car:
Which is, of course, the one benefit of the Chicken Tax.
Here’s how the advertised the Brumby to Australians, by targeting the most lucrative demographics. Very mildly raunchy joke-loving pig enthusiasts:
… and rational consultants:
It should be pointed out that Ag-Quip has outlived the Brumby by quite some margin….
The term brumby was often used down here to describe inferior goods, as well as the feral horses. It definitely wasn’t a compliment.
“a cool-ass feral horse”
Unfortunately the Light horse link is broken.For those interested in this fascinating slice of WW1 history, search for “the australian light horse”, “Bill the Bastard” and especially the Jericho cup linked below.
This was an actual horse race arranged by the army to trick the Turks into thinking we weren’t interested in fighting.It worked particularly well because they allowed spectators and betting,and of course the aussie soldiers jumped in with enthusiasm.
The race itself is interesting just on it’s own.Check out the link above.
This ruse allowed them to move 34000 soldiers through the desert to get behind the Turk’s front lines.
*Edit. It seems there were more than 34000 .That was just the number of mounted light horse troops
My brain may be fuzzy but wasn’t BRAT an acronym? Cool article!
Yup. Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter.
I always thought it as a backronym
Pass the pig, Porky.
Sort of off-topic, but I’m really expecting Subaru to revisit the Baja/Brat type truck with the success the Maverick has had.
Don’t forget the Santa Cruz, at least around here in Phoenix Metro I see a lot of them. While some people diss the design of the Baja as just a converted Legacy, living with one is great, I haven’t wished for a pick up once, even picking up a 7 foot couch. The quicker they convert a Wilderness type Outback the better, otherwise they will be the “also ran” in a genre they kind of invented.
Having spent some time in Australia, I can verify that raunchy joke-loving pig enthusiasts make up a significant portion of the population, so the marketing team was probably spot on there.
Interesting, but the “oh God” from Adrian was spectacular.
As always, Adrian’s spot on.
The surprising thing is that it wasn’t called Leone Truck in Japan, or anything else – it was always built for export only. Also, there never was a 2wd model anywhere in the world.
One of my lingering childhood disappointments is that all of the toys and scale models of it seem to be of the first generation. Everyone except Tamiya’s R/C division (operating at what to 10-year-old me was a stratospheric price point, as unattainable as a real one) did the first gen and then lost interest. That was compounded a couple years ago when both Matchbox and Hot Wheels (separately, despite both being divisions of Mattel) did new tool 1/64 scale toys – of the first generation, again!
To be fair, “Brumby” doesn’t sound much better. Brumby sounds like a stuffy fusspot in an old British sitcom. “Oh sod off, Mr. Brumby, you posh git!”
As someone whose knowledge of Australian culture is limited to Crocodile Dundee and caricatures of Australians portrayed in The Simpsons, “brumby” sounds to me like it should be part of a weird insult. When I saw that word, I immediately had mental image of an angry guy with a fake Australian accent yelling “Go chase a wallaby, ya’ bloody brumby!!”
It is still probably a better name than Brat, though.
You could yell at a Hindustan Ambassador (if you can find one locally) but you probably wouldn’t want to: they might be considered a larger cousin of the Pao.
That baby is weird… I don’t know why the buck teeth are what stick out the most for me, but it is pretty troubling.
Perhaps Subaru selected the names based upon the national character of the two countries.
Is that BRAT/Bumbly up top on autopilot?
No – that’s the US version (labeled BRAT, has the rear seats) with the Brumby logo superimposed on it.
Note the lane position and the double-yellow to the left of the car.