∙Original minidisk stereo included (boxed) to complete the period interior
∙Interesting alternative to a Morris Minor or Ford Zodiac
∙Low-ownership car ∙Unmodified original EJ207 engine and vf30 turbo with a japanese manufacturer gentleman's agreement 280bhp and a 8200rpm redline
In the early Nineties, Subaru’s Impreza established itself as a god – that just happened to be as good as a daily driver. Its engine, designated the EJ20F4, was an only slightly modified version of the motor that had powered Subaru’s long-distance, high speed world record-making Legacy of 1989.
Boasting 240bhp from its turbocharged boxer engine – in Japan – the WRX was introduced in 1992. Europe got a 210bhp version. Saloon and estate versions were available. A higher performance 250bhp STi version was introduced in 1994.
Colin McRae winning the World Rally Championship in 1995 changed Subaru’s image overnight, but, allied to the performance, it was the company’s high build standards that made the car such a brilliant all-rounder.
By the time Subaru launched the MkII in 2000, the model had a cult following. The new car’s appearance – with those ovoid headlights – divided opinion, but its capabilities were never in doubt.
Originally a Japanese domestic market car, this example is a late production from 2001, that was imported new into the UK in 2003, the present owner buying it in 2009. Like many a WRX STi enthusiast, he has been eager to keep the car in a good state of tune and to tackle any performance issues as soon as they arise. He also installed upgrades; some fairly standard, such as the addition of a stainless steel exhaust, and some more subtle such as the substitution of a faster fuel pump.
The car benefited from rear dampers at the 30k service in 2010, with front shock absorbers, ball joints and a clutch following the next month. New tyres followed in 2013, though in recent years, the Sti has been driven very little.
As well as corroborating mileage with service points through the MOT certificates, the car’s paperwork emphasizes just how diligent and thorough the owner has been in keeping the STi on top form.
Hand-written notes outline faults and questions that needed investigating (ticked off when completed), while some invoices show tests done as well as bills for sundry consumables and fluid changes. Most all the invoices come from bona fide Subaru specialists and show significant amounts of money being spent – the exhaust; £650, the dampers and clutch; almost £1000 and the tyres; £500.
The latest major service came in January 2019 and cost £950. It’s useful to note that the cam belts were done at this time, the mileage on the invoice reading 45101. It has only driven a further 1058 since.
Originally a home market Japanese car imported in xxxx
Bought in 2009
Bills all from Subaru specialists
Ots of sundry bills oil changes plus notes listing issues (ticked off as they were fixed) that the owner wanted sorting
MOTs support mileage
RAC track star
Upgraded fuel pump
09 full stainless steel exhaust 650
Rear dampers at 30k service in 2010, then front shocks and ball joints and clutch £2k
New tyres in 2013 (not done a lot since
Jan 2019, full comprehensive service including cam belts £960 45101 miles
There’s a lot of black in this interior, which would show every bit of fluff and dust, but there isn’t any. The owner has kept this car very clean, including all the nooks and crannies around gear stick gaiters and small trays. It’s a small detail, but it lets you know how the car has been kept in general.
The seats have blue perforated inserts that give them a more purposeful and better defined look and give the inside of the car a sportier feel. All the seats retain a good finish – no sagging bolsters or frayed or worn edges. Even the driver’s seat is surprisingly free of wear.
Carpets and mats are similarly good, showing little signs of wear, save for perhaps a little rounding of edges. There is no evidence of water ingress.
Controls and handles are also very good. The gear stick, hand brake and Momo steering wheel show no handling marks or finger nail scratches, and the red stitching (subtly done and a nice touch) is neat and tight.
Altogether a cool and understated space – and practical too.
There’s a kind of suppressed drama about this generation of STi – corners a little more rounded and spoilers a little more muted. The car looks very good in (almost) understated silver with bronze wheels.
All panel gaps remain very tight with joins between metal and plastic likewise. There is no sag in that big front bumper and the car is symmetrical. The rear spoiler and the bonnet air scoop still sit perfectly in place. The paintwork remains consistent across all materials and shows a good gloss all round. There are a few very small blemishes, but you have to look very close to see them.
The only real marks of note are a couple of very small blisters in the paint; above the rear wheel arch on the near side, and just above the join with the rear bumper on the driver’s side. There may also be a slight discolouration behind the mud flap on the driver’s side. As already said, you have to be looking very closely to see these.
The underside of the car looks very robust, with no signs of significant corrosion or damage from road debris. All suspension parts appear to be in very good order, as does the stainless steel exhaust, which is of course quite recent.
That low front spoiler is free from grazes and the undertray behind it is also good. The bronze wheels are in very good shape. The outer edges of the front pair show one scuff on each.
The engine bay of the STi is a fairly busy place, though everything appears to be in the right slot. There is some oxidation on ancillaries and a little surface corrosion on some bolts, but everything looks to be in good condition and eminently serviceable.
The Impreza possesses a rare mix of qualities; raw power, sure-footed four-by-four handling, and take-the-kids-to-school practicality. All that will raise a quiet smile from a certain type of enthusiast.
This is a nice, un-messed example, owned by someone who wasn’t trying to prove anything in the power stakes, but did want the car to run exactly right – which it does. Probably the best kind of keeper to buy a cult icon from.
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