All good things must come to an end. While the past year of Impreza ownership has not been cheap by any means, it was everything I expected it to be and then some. The drive was so much more engaging than I'd anticipated; the appreciation shared by strangers and its infinite ability to make me smile.
Every journey was an occasion. I'll really miss looking out over the bonnet scoop with the Boxer burble echoing around me. My fondest memory has to be taking my dad for a drive and letting him have a blast around some of my local roads in Kent. It was his and my grandfather's motoring passion throughout my childhood that led me to buying the car after all.
My ownership of VK53 NCA wasn't as extensive as PHer tahicks2003 five-year tenancy, but with an ever-growing wish list of cars to buy and a wedding to pay for, it was time to bid farewell. If I'm honest, I was dreading the prospect of selling a Subaru Impreza. Whilst every owner I've met has bucked the stereotype, I couldn't help but feel that it's the sort of car to attract time wasters.
Still, I posted my advert up in the PH classifieds and waited for the phone to start ringing. That was 10pm at night and by lunchtime the following day, I'd received an email from a chap in France regaling me with a story about how he'd only just imported a Honda S2000 from the UK a couple of weeks earlier, only for someone to crash into him and write it off.
Within 48 hours Tanguy had transferred the funds to me and booked his flight to come over with his dad and pick up the car before setting off on the 750-mile journey back to Montpellier. While it wasn't easy saying goodbye, it made me happy that the car was fulfilling someone else's life-long dream of Subaru ownership - one inspired by their dad, too. Therefore, it seems fitting that I leave Tanguy to finish my last fleet article.
As a child, an Impreza was my ultimate dream car. I have fond memories going to watch them at the Rallye des Charbonnières being only five years old. After my wrecked S2000 I decided it was an opportune moment to look for a Subaru. It might seem crazy to look for a Subaru in the UK as you can find plenty in France, but they are way more expensive and buying a clean fully stock example without breaking the bank is impossible.
It's getting more and more usual, thanks to lower exchange rates and French people coming to terms with the fact that owning a car with a steering wheel on the wrong side is not that bad! That is why more Frenchmen are now coming to the UK to buy cars.
The weekend arrived at last and I was off to the UK with my dad. The night at the hotel before was the longest of my life! Ben nicely came to pick us up from the hotel and bring us home to take care of all the paperwork. It was great to experience British B-roads on the drive back. As expected the Impreza was lovely and in perfect condition all around. The fact that Ben worked at PH was truly reassuring.
It was finally mine and we were off to the Eurotunnel, ready for our (very) long journey down to the Mediterranean Sea. The first impression I had driving the car is how big the scoop is, it was very distracting for the first few miles. Just by looking at it you know that you are driving a very special car.
I've driven more than 3,000 miles with the car already and I am absolutely in love with it! I plan on keeping it as long as I can and even though I might do a few small mods to it, my goal is to keep the possibility to bring it back to OEM spec.
Car: 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type UK
Run by: Ben Lowden
On fleet since: July 2018
Photos: Tanguy Malnis-Roussel