Subaru Impreza Turbo | Spotted

Subaru Impreza Turbo | Spotted

We write about Subaru Imprezas quite a lot on PH. There were quite a lot of them made over a good few years, after all, and a GB270 is quite a bit different to an RB320 – even if it’s all the same thing to most folk. Over 25 years or so, the Subaru Impreza (or just WRX STI, in the later years) became such a hero car for so many that its influence remains hard to understate. Don’t forget, either, that the modern super-hatch – 2.0-litre turbo, four-wheel drive, clever diffs and compact dimensions – was previewed by the five-door Impreza 15 years ago.

In 2022, it’s the ultimate Imprezas that get all the attention. It seems barely a month goes by without a new record sale price for a 22B, RB5 or P1 being set, and the numbers get scarier each time. It could well be argued, though, that the most significant version of all was the plain old Turbo. That was the car that revolutionised fast cars in Britain, after all, and formed the basis of the rally car. With around 200hp and weighing 1,200kg, the first Impreza Turbo would still be brisk today – it’s Fiesta ST power and weight – so it must have seemed absolutely berserk 30 years ago. Back in 1992, the Golf GTI Mk3 had just launched with 115hp – the Subaru was on another planet, for £17,499.

And while memories of the Max Power era have left an indelible mark, the reputation was made by the standard car. It was perfectly suited to what the British enthusiast needed: it was quick, compact, and practical, with a chassis that devoured B-roads like it was built for nowhere else. Then Colin drove one, and the legend was assured. The look and the sound of an Impreza Turbo would forever be iconic.

As a result, prices have been climbing of late, but there are still some smart buys out there. (Or the world of £50k RB5s and £200k 22Bs has made anything else look eminently reasonable.) Either way, this one is on offer at £12,995; more than might have been paid for a 1997 Turbo a little while ago, if some way from the most expensive 90s’ Subaru out there.

It’s a fine example, too, with just 78,000 miles on the clock and not a single modification. Look, it’s the truth – minicab interior, modest twin exhaust and standard bonnet scoop present and correct. This Impreza has recently been brought out of storage (which will help explain the low mileage) and treated to a thorough refresh – cambelt, water pump, radiator, discs and pads – ahead of a new MOT, so it should be ready to roll for a new owner. There’s a stack of history from before it was stored, too.

Downsides? It’s hard to think of many. There are probably as many people who like red for being rare as there are buyers wishing it was blue and gold. And the drive may not be quite as feverishly quick as memory suggests – but remembering that this is a 25-year-old car now should stand you in good stead. Carnoustie could be tricky to reach for some as well. But if ever a car looked worth the effort, the little red Japanese saloon may well be it.


Engine: 1,994cc, flat-four turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 210@5,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 214@4,000rpm
MPG: 29
CO2: 239g/km
Year registered: 1997
Recorded mileage: 78,000
Price new: £19,740 (1997)
Yours for: £12,995

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