Subaru Impreza P1: Spotted


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
MPG: 25.2
CO2: 265g/km
First registered: 2000
Recorded mileage: 4,786
Price new: £31,495
Yours for: £49,995

See the full ad here.

P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (81) Join the discussion on the forum

  • blearyeyedboy 01 Aug 2018

    You know, it's a good time to stop to mourn the loss of the homologation special.

    No more WRC-related cars, no more BTCC-related cars... Such a shame.

    This is an extraordinary "frozen in time" example. The MK1 Impreza is going the same way as the MK2 Escort in terms of nostalgia, and in terms of prices...

    Sometimes I look at these and I think the seller's being far too optimistic with their price, but not this one. I think this will reach it's asking price.

  • rare6499 01 Aug 2018

    Sounds like pretty good value to me. There really can’t be many more round like that.


  • Prohibiting 01 Aug 2018

    One word, wow.

    I also think it'll meet the asking price by a collector.

    On the other hand, I've seen £15-20k leggy P1s for sale and thought 'not a chance.'

  • Zed Ed 01 Aug 2018

    Looked at trading in my turbo PPP for one of these at the time but couldn’t justify the additional cost.

    It was a sweet test drive though.

  • SidewaysSi 01 Aug 2018

    Does the automatic gearbox on this have steering wheel paddles?

View all comments in the forums Make a comment