While the dwindling supply of Samantha-style double entendres is perhaps something to be welcomed, the reduction in the numbers of unmessed-with classic Japanese cars is more worrying. Nobody in their right mind would go about modifying properly old stuff like Chippendale furniture, Michelangelo sculptures or Gutenberg bibles, but cars from the last twenty years or so remain constantly vulnerable to the serial messer's clumsy attempts at 'improvement'.
So it's very nice to see this lovely first-gen Impreza Turbo estate still looking more or less the same as it looked when it rolled off the Gunma line in 1996. With not a single 'I Love My Scooby' or 'Hoonigan' sticker to be seen, only the replacement of the fog lights with PIAA spots might bring a slight frown to a concours judge's brow. But that's being uber picky.
Shed has tried to pick out the 'scrape down one side' that is meant to be visible in the pictures, but all he's managed to come up with are a couple of marks to the middle of the offside rear door. Less ancient PHers with better eyesight may find something else.
Generally speaking though, this is a very presentable car with a remarkably fresh interior. The leather upholstery looks nicely worn-in and non-baggy, and the period-appropriate acreage of hard grey plastic is all present and correct. It even sports the towbar that is so useful for speedy touch-parking.
Although the PH ad puts it at 155hp, the EJ20 2.0-litre flat four turbo in this wagon should actually be running with something over 200hp, plus 214lb ft of torque. That's a nice mix for an engaging drive. Considering the performance it has, not to mention the four-wheel drive, mpg figures in the mid to high 20s aren't so bad. You might want to stick to the dear juice though.
The sills and arches will need regular monitoring - rust never sleeps, and old Japanese metal is one of its favourite delicacies - but they seem to be OK just now. The MOT, which was done slightly before Christmas, mentions the oil leak plus some brake binding and tyre tread distortion on the nearside rear wheel. A couple of years ago there was a much longer list of advisories, some of which related to odd tyre wear and tracking, a common bugbear with Imprezas. Others were related to front suspension wear which, again, is a familiar issue for owners.
More hearteningly, the 2015 advisories that were to do with heavy corrosion across the entire bottom of the car - from the sills and floor pans to the steering and braking components - didn't crop up on the subsequent (2016) MOT, and haven't since.
Our Shed is pure old school Subaru, and as such is not only a reminder of better times but also a desirable machine in its own right, especially in this original state. Grab one while you can, because when they're gone, they're gone - and they ain't coming back.
1996 Subaru Impreza 2000 Turbo, UK car.
208bhp and 4 wheel drive.
MOT December 2018
Good Service history, last oil change in June 2017
I have a lot of paperwork, most MOT certificates and service receipts
Service book with plenty of stamps
4 previous owners.
Unmodified car, with exception of fog light change to driving lights by a previous owner, to provide more light on full beam. I changed these to new PIAA ones last year as one of the original brackets had broken.
Mechanicals have never been modified or chipped as far as I know.
New back box exhaust and front tyres fitted last year.
I purchased this car from a friend in 2016, who'd owned the car for the previous 15 years. I intended to use as a stop-gap only but have kept it longer than expected. I've put on about 8k miles in the past year and it drives well but could do with some TLC. This car is almost 22 years old, cosmetically it is showing some small areas of rust, the door has a scrap on one side (visable in pictures). Electrics all work, including windows and mirrors. Car is fitted with air conditioning but has never worked in my ownership. Small oil leak from the engine since I've had it but never been an issue. Increasingly rare car, not many of these pre facelift "classic" Imprezas left anymore.
Car is available to view in Fleet Hampshire, just off junction 4A of the M3. Test drives available providing documented evidence showing coverage to drive other cars.