There’s a Subaru Impreza P1 listed on the PH Classifieds with just one owner in its logbook and 4,786 miles on the clock. Seriously.
For those not currently scrabbling to pick their jaws off the floor, let us quickly remind you why the two-door model still makes PH go all giddy. Not only does the P1 hail from an era of rallying that fans of a certain age will forever look back on with misty eyes, it can claim to have as close as any to offering punters a proper WRC car for the road. All it needed was harnesses and someone to your left shouting "flat over crest" and you’d essentially be ready for special stage one.
It could hardly be more of its time either. Lest we forget, this was an era when WRC was on terrestrial telly and Subaru and Mitsubishi and Richard Burns and Tommi Mäkinen were jousting for the championship. Few motorsport contests conducted in the last twenty years are as easy to conjure in the mind as the blue and yellow versus the red and white in the mud and snow and sand and gravel of faraway places.
Much of the appeal of rallying back then, aside from the entertainment of the championship fight, was the road cars it produced. Subaru and Mitsubishi’s rivalry extended far beyond the rally stage and into showrooms, with both manufacturers capitalising on the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” motto. Other entrants like Toyota, Peugeot and Hyundai made far less noise about their rallying success, and while Ford’s Mk1 Focus RS road car was a great car, it had very little in common with Colin McCrae’s WRC machine.
So when we look back, it’s the specials produced by WRC’s leading Japanese exponents that really gets the nostalgia pumping. Those of one stripe will probably yearn for a Mitsubishi Evo VI Tommi Makkinen Edition (like this one), while those of the other ought to be marvelling at the sight of today’s Spotted.
Co-developed in Britain by Subaru’s WRC partner, Prodrive, the Impreza P1 was produced in just 1000 examples. It was powered by a 280hp 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer engine - producing that iconic sound - and could accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6sec, meaning even 18 years on it could hold its own alongside comparable performance machinery. Burns is quoted in the car's brochure as saying the P1 is as "quick in a straight-line as a rally car" and the "turn is sharper"...
This car, chassis number 0065, is an early example. It’s completely unmolested and even comes with the original letter supplied by Subaru UK’s then marketing director Jon Nealon. Thrown in is a Subaru VHS tape that came with the car, two key fobs and two original sales brochures. Oh, and there’s a P1 umbrella that – for crying out loud – comes with the accessory brochure it was ordered from.
The car is a bloody time capsule. A £50,000 one.
SPECIFICATION - SUBARU IMPREZA P1
Engine: 1,994cc, flat four
Transmission: five-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 280@ 6500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 253@4000rpm
First registered: 2000
Recorded mileage: 4,786
Price new: £31,495
Yours for: £49,995