The Subaru Impreza Turbo was one of the most successful rally cars of the 1990s. Now's the time to buy one, and re-live those Colin McRae rally fantasies
When Subaru launched the original Impreza Turbo 2000 back in 1994, for performance car buyers, it was a revelation. Four-wheel drive, 208bhp turbocharged engine and fantastic Japanese reliability – all for considerably less money than the equivalent Escort Cosworth or Lancia Delta Integrale.
The Impreza really is a great car to drive too. With a proper symmetrical four-wheel drive system, throaty flat-four turbo engine and a chassis set-up supple enough to deal with bumpy UK roads, it has got a lot going for it. It has some proper rallying heritage too. Built in an era when the World Rally Championship had some influence over road car design, and you could go to a local dealer and buy a road going version of Colin McRae’s rally weapon.
Unless you’re familiar with the Impreza Family, and all of the different models, it can get a bit confusing. The UK Market Turbo 2000 was essentially the same as a basic Japanese WRX model. There are a number of special editions, like the P1, RB5 and 22B, which are already considered collectible. UK cars will be the safest bet, as you know exactly what you’re getting – whereas Japanese market cars can be difficult to decipher in terms of spec and history.
Values have been on the floor for years now, and due to the relatively large number sold throughout the 1990s, have been the bargain performance car for anyone who could afford the insurance. Over the last two years however, things have started to change. You can still just about pick up an Impreza Turbo for less than £1000, but it will be a Wagon, and most likely needing a bit of work.
I’ve personally grappled with the thought of buying an Impreza Turbo for the last couple of years, and even in that short time frame I’ve seen a significant shift in the values of nice, honest-looking saloons. Currently, with the budget of around £1500 you can just about pick up a reasonable saloon, and for £2500 a genuinely nice example could be yours.
Japanese classics have always lagged behind their European counterparts when it comes to values, but the Impreza was always a cult car in the UK, and will always have a following. The fact that numbers are thinning out will ultimately mean nice original cars become much more sought after – and it’s already happening. Now really is the time to buy...
Take a look at Subaru Imprezas for sale in the classifieds
Five different Group A homologated cars to consider
- Toyota Celica GT-Four
- Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
- Lancia Delta Integrale
- Ford Escort RS Coworth
- Mazda 323 GTX
Words: Matthew Hayward