A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £189,000
Subaru's first venture on to the world rally stage was at the 1980 Safari Rally with the less than competitive Leone model, and the arduous African event would remain the focus of the firm's rally campaign for those first few years. In 1990, the commencement of what would turn out to be a highly successful partnership with the Prodrive of Banbury enabled Subaru to undertake a full international season for the first time. Despite adequate power from the Legacy 4WD's turbocharged engine, and the presence of Finn Markku Alen in the Prodrive works team, outright victory at international level continued to prove elusive, though Scot Colin McRae's back-to-back RAC Open Championships in 1991 and 1992 hinted at greater things to come. Following the arrival of the new Impreza Turbo model in 1993, Subaru made its long-awaited breakthrough in August of that year when Colin McRae/Derek Ringer in the Prodrive-prepared Impreza 555 won the New Zealand Rally, the marque's first major international success. The following season brought three more World Rally Championship (WRC) victories – two for McRae and one for Carlos Sainz – before Subaru finally achieved its long-sought goal of outright victory in the World Championship in 1995. In a closely fought contest, Subaru team-mates McRae and Sainz won five of the eight rounds between them – the split being three/two to the Spaniard – with the Drivers' Championship eventually decided in the Scot's favour by virtue of his greater consistency. Subaru also claimed the Manufacturers' title, a feat it would repeat in 1996 and again in 1997. Further Drivers' World Championships were secured in 2001, courtesy of the late Richard Burns, and in 2003 when Petter Solberg emerged triumphant. Subaru pulled out of the WRC at the end of the 2008 season citing the economic downturn then affecting the automotive industry for their withdrawal.
According to the accompanying Gold Book, the stunning Subaru Impreza WRC S12B (PRO.GDB.06.014) on offer here was campaigned in six rounds of the 2007 WRC driven by the legendary driver, Petter Solberg and some notable results include a worthy second place in Rally Portugal and a hard-fought third in Greece in the talented hands of the Norwegian ace.
The FIA Gold Book also notes entries during the 2008 season in the Rally Acropolis and Rally Finland with the up and coming Mads Ostberg at the wheel. Mad’s continued to campaign this car in two rounds of the 2010 season at Rally Finland (7th) and Wales Rally GB (9th).
In private hands in more recent times, our enthusiastic vendor has owned this very special car for the past four years and he has clearly cherished it under his caring ownership. FT56 SRT has enjoyed significant recent expenditure with ex-Prodrive employee and model expert, Graham Sweet, who has rebuilt the engine, Jason Bridge the gearbox and WRC Spares the turbo returning this important rally car to full health and ready to do what it was designed for. We understand that the car has only covered a few bedding-in miles since.
On a separate, rather more poignant note, this particular Impreza was demonstrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2007 by the late, great Colin McRae and, sadly, was to become the last car he ever drove in public.
Offered with a decent spares package (list available upon request), this amazing S12B (#014) continued to be developed during the whole of the 2007 season and with Subaru having decided during 2008 that this was to be their last year and turning off the financial taps, it's fair to assume that #014 is likely to be one of the most technologically advanced Impreza’s ever made.
Driven by some famous names, this car has real provenance and ticks all the boxes as a true collector’s car, either to cherish as part of a collection of WRC cars or better still, apply some graphics, find a crew, and return to the Welsh forests.
Video of the 2007 Subaru Impreza WRC