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Friday, 20 January, 2017 - 11:52 (UK)  

..:: The Subaru Impreza Story

1. The Subaru Impreza Story, as told by me
2. The History of the Subaru Impreza
3. Special Editions
4. Image Galleries
5. My 2001 Subaru Impreza WRX - Red Mica


..:: The History of the Subaru Impreza

Subaru is a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries. Which was originally Nakajima Aircraft back in 1917. It's wasn't until 1954 before Fuji Heavy Industries took on the challenge of building a road car. The name of this car was the P-1 (Nothing like the modern Subaru Impreza P1) which stood for Prototype-1. This name was later changed to the Subaru 1500. And here the Subaru was born. The name Subaru Closely translates to reference the star cluster Pleiades, which is the same famous star cluster that we see make up the subaru logo today. over the decades Subaru continued to build motor cars and in 1972 made it's first 4WD car with the Subaru Leone 4WD Station Wagon. From that point onwards Subaru made something for a name for it's self in the 4WD motor car department, almost like a trade mark. Think Subaru, think All Wheel Drive. However it wasn't until 1992 that the Subaru Impreza was born. So let's pick up the story from there.

1992

The Launch of the Subaru Impreza (Japan) The Subaru Impreza was developed after rule changes in the World Rally Championship (WRC) demanded a replacement to the Subaru Legacy which was previously used by Subaru in the WRC. The changes meant that a new smaller, lighter and faster car was required in order to compete in the WRC. So even from day one, the Subaru Impreza was developed for rallying.

1993

The Subaru Impreza reached the UK. Initially the Subaru Impreza was available in both Front Wheel Drive (FWD) and All Wheel Drive (AWD) versions. However the FWD was soon dropped in preference of the trademark Subaru AWD system.

1994

The Turbo Charged Impreza 2000 AWD reached the UK (Known as the Subaru Impreza WRX in Japan). Also in 2004, Subaru Technica International (STI) was born and we started seeing STI versions of the Subaru Impreza Turbo. The Subaru Impreza WRX STI meant much more than an extra badge on the body. The STI stood for a full upgrading of the Subaru Impreza Taking was was learned on the World Rally stages and incorporating developments into the road car. Many areas were upgraded for the Subaru Impreza STI versions. Engine, Suspension and overall performance and handling greatly improved over the standard car. Top speed was limited to 155mph and 0-62 came in at just 4.7seconds for the Impreza STI. These figures made the Subaru Impreza very sought after by the local boy racers. Albeit a bit more expensive than the your every day Peugeot 205 and Vauxhall Nova.

1995

Subaru won the World Rally Championship in a 555 WRC Subaru Impreza driven by fellow Scotsman Colin McRae. A brilliant achievement for both driver and manufacturer. Driver Colin McRae for being the first ever British driver to win the WRC, and Subaru proved that the Impreza was a World Leading rally car. To mark the success of Subaru winning the WRC championship that year, a special edition Subaru Impreza was released in the form of the McRae Series Subaru Impreza.

1996

Subaru took the manufacturer title for a second year in a row, and promptly released another special edition Impreza knows as the Subaru Impreza Catalunya.

1997

Subaru won a hat-trick of manufacturer championships and celebrated once again by releasing a new special edition Impreza. The Subaru Impreza Terzo (Italian for 3rd). Only 333 Subaru Impreza Terzos were made, as a mark of the three championships won with the Subaru Impreza. 1997 also saw a few changes to the Impreza road car. Interior styling was updated including an exclusive MOMO racing steering wheel. Meanwhile STI versions were given an newly designed rear spoiler. In Japan a special 2-door coupe Subaru Impreza was released which was used as the 1998 WRC car.

1998

The Subaru Impreza 22B. A label that often conjures up thoughts of what the ultimate Subaru Impreza might be. The 22B (Note: for the computer geeks out there, 22B in hex converts to 555 in decimal.) provided a 2.2l boxer engine, more hardcore styling all round including 2-doors instead of 4 and an adjustable rear wing made up just some of the key features of the 22B. Only 400 22B's were made in order to celebrate 40 years of Subaru and only 16 of those were destined for the UK. I've seen three in total!! UK versions also had tweaked gearing which was specifically optimised to UK roads. How cool is that!

1999

To celebrate the new driver lineup of Richard Burns in the Subaru World Rally Team, Subaru decided it was once again time for a special edition. This time the RB5 named after Richard Burns. Sadly in November 2003 Richard Burns was diagnosed with a form of brain tumour and later died on the 25th November 2005 from his illness. This makes the RB5 all the more special now. Only 444 RB5's were made, with the option of the WR Sport pack.

1999 Also saw the release of another special edition. The Subaru Impreza P1, which like the Subaru Impreza 22B was a 2-door coupe model, and like the 22B it was only available in WR Blue. However unlike the 22B the Subaru Impreza P1 delivered a 276bhp out of the box, and supporting a whole load of new accessories such as 10-spoke OZ Titanium racing wheels, improved quick-shift gearbox, rear-wiper, new front wing/splitter, new fog lamps and a new exclusive rear wing. Unlike the Impreza 22B there were 1,000 P1's made. Despite this the Subaru Impreza P1 remains one of the most expensive Subaru Impreza's to buy today.

       

2000

For eight years, the Subaru Impreza remained more or less unchanged (externally) until 2000 where Subaru decided to update the Impreza for the 21st century. This change was met with mixed views. The appropriately labeled Bug-eye version by critics, was just that. Bug-eyed! One can only guess it was Subaru's attempt to make the Impreza all cute and cuddly. But this didn't go down well with the fans. Many NewAge impreza's promptly had their headlights replaces with WRC look-alike HI-Definition (HiD) lamps or the more aggressive looking Morette cluster. What was in favour of the fans was the globalisation of the WRX name. Previously only used in Japan, the WRX badge was now stuck to any Impreza with a Turbo!

2001

To celebrate Richard Burns's win in the WRC and the launch of the of the new model, Subaru decided to launch yet another special edition Impreza. This time the Subaru Impreza UK300. Once again just like the 22B and P1 the only colour available was WR Blue. The UK300 supported new prodrive styled spoilers of which the rear wing looked like was picked from bit of an airfix kit and not put together properly. Thankfully the front end was improved slightly, with the addition of improved HiD headlamps which made the car look slightly less like a bug. Yet no matter what they did, it was still going to be remembered as the Bug-Eyed version. 2001 also saw the arrival of the NewAge (Must stop calling it bug-eyed) Subaru Impreza WRX STI to the UK. Just like previous STI's, this was based on the WRX but tweaked a little by the Subaru Technica International (STI) team. If that wasn't enough there was also the option of a Prodrive Performance Pack (PPP). The Subaru Imrpeza WRX STI saw a few key changes over the standard Subaru Impreza WRX. This time, the addition of a 6-speed gearbox as opposed to the WRX 5-speed. Also a nice welcome was similar headlamps which were found on the UK300.

2002

It didn't take long before Subaru had to give in to pressure from fans and go back to the drawing board (literally) to come up with a new style Subaru Impreza. So in 2002, Subaru announced yet another NewAge Impreza. The MY03. Main difference here was the front end. More or less everything else stayed the same, but those bug-eyed headlamps were out and replaced with slightly less ugly ones. Also a bigger bonnet scoop was included. Not to be outdone, the Subaru Impreza WRX power was increased by 10bhp. Not surprisingly many Bug-eyed Subaru Impreza's were made available on the 2nd hand market as many owners wanted to change their driveway accessory for the new style Subaru Impreza.

Although Turbo versions of the Subaru Impreza were available in Japan and Europe from more or less day one. The US favoured their muscle cars and not these Japanese breed of performance cars. Which meant the Subaru Impreza Turbo's never "officially" reached US soil until the 2002 model. Any previous Subaru Impreza's were Imports. Unfortunately for the US market the famous 2.0l boxer engine had to go. The fuel regulations in the US meant that the high performance expected from the Subaru Impreza could not be achieved from the 2.0l engine with US fuel. Instead, the Subaru Impreza was given a nice new 2.5l boxer engine for the US market, in order to keep the power and performance up.

2004

Another Subaru WRC title win with Petter Solberg at the wheel. Once again sticking with tradition a new special edition was released, known as the Subaru Impreza WR1. I must admit the WR1 is one of my personal favourites, if only because of the unique Ice Blue colour. Only 500 WR1's were made, but Subaru decided to throw everything at it, including PPP and Driver Controlled Centre Diff (DCCD). The Subaru Impreza WRX STI also saw further improvements in 2004 with upgraded mechanics from the Japanese models. This new revised STI saw a new front diff, along with the DCCD system which was found on the WR1 and UK300 models. Nice!

2005

Towards the end of 2005. Again just 2 years after the previous model was replaced, Subaru decided to release another new bodied Subaru Impreza, the MY06. This time with new crystal rear light cluster and yet another new front end. The jury is still out about whether or not it is a hit or a miss. I personally think it looks Awesome. Almost as though Subaru have forgotten the last 5 years and gone back to the aggressive styling of the original Subaru Impreza from the 90's! I admit, it did take a few days to get used to, but after you see past the SEAT grill and BMW headlamps you soon realise that this is the sort of car you want other people to see you in, in their rear view mirror. (Admittedly briefly as you scream past them shortly after words :) Sadly the MY06 marked the end for the traditional 2.0l boxer engine. Instead we saw the introduction of the 2.5l boxer engine into the Subaru Impreza. A sad end which seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. But then think of what they can do with that extra 500cubic centimetres of space. Mwaahaahaahaa!...

2006

Towards the end of 2006. Subaru / Prodrive announced the realease of a new Special Edition Impreza. Sadly without recent success in the WRC. This time the special edition was to celebrate the life of previous Subaru WRC Champion Richard Burns who sadly died 12 months previously due to a brain tumour. The New Special Edition Subaru Impreza was to be named the RB320. That's 320bhp and a limited number of 320 to be produced. Essentially the RB320 is a 2006 model Subaru Impeza WRX STi PPP with just abotu ever add on you can think of, along with bespoke prodrive/blitsen dampers, exclusive obsidian black paint work, black alloys and full dront grill set. All in all making the RB320 very exclusive and ver agressive looking with only small markings on the passenger, drivers doors and boot lid of a small orange RB320 logo. The rest of the car is very much black in respect for the late Richard Burns. A true trubite to a great champion!

       

2007

I have yet to come up with a word that describes Subaru in 2007. At the time of writing Subaru had recently announced the drascically redesigned 2008 model of the Subaru Impreza (You can see some photos here) Make your own mind up about what you think of it. My initial thoughts are yuk.. And I have to say my thoughts are still more or less the same. The car does NOT look agressive as it shoudl and just looks like any other family hatchback on the road. a fair pecentage of the Impreza's appeal has always been it's agressive shape and styling. Even teh bugeye version admitedly wasn't welcomed by many had the trademark styling that for every other angle you knew it was an Impreza and more importantly a car to be reckoned with!. This new one doesn't do much for me I'm afraid. Doesn't excite me when I see pictures of it like previous styles. The same recipie is still there usign the same 2.5l boxer engine from teh MY06 models, a new intercooler has been shoved in. Power remains teh same at 225ps for the WRX model, awd as standard of course :). However the tyres are narrower than previous versions. Also it's worth noting that at time of writing there are no plans for a WRX version or saloon version for the UK. Instead we'll have the basic models then a jump up to the STi's I see this as a mistake as the WRX hits a just about affordable market for most peopel who cant afford te £25k price of the STi. However somethign new for the MY08 Impreza will be the introduction of a 170bhp Diesel Impreza. Thats right diesel. Should be interesting...Watch this space...

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2017 Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375 review
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Used Mercedes | Life with a 190E - part 4
Mercedes 190E There's still work to do regards the cold starts, but the old Merc proves a brilliant long-distance companion once thoroughly warmed-up

This update should be beginning with a smug account of how the 190E now fires on the key in sub-zero temperatures, but as much as I'd love that to be the case, it isn't quite there. Indeed, there's more work to be done in this department.

That's not to say there hasn't been some progress. I sourced a new coolant temperature sensor and swapped this myself - a very simple job - and the situation seems to improved slightly. Instead of multiple turns of the key before catching, it now (usually) catches on the first turn, but settles to a very lumpy idle before quickly warming through.

So, it suggests the problem might be more than just the sensor, and that's exactly what I said to mechanic Jamie at Simply Automotive in Poole as he heaved open the 190E's bonnet, looked through outstretched arms at its puny 1.8 and sucked his teeth. Clearly, I'd driven it to him, so a cold start wasn't possible, but we did dismantle the airbox and get to the fifth injector, which was working just fine.

After various circuit checks and with little else we could do there and then, I booked the car in to be left with him for a longer period in a couple of months and jumped back on Google. Another possible cause seemed to be the car's over voltage protection (OVP) relay, its 10 amp fuse often blowing and not providing enough oomph when it's most needed. Of course, there are also question marks surrounding the fuel lines, pump and filter, all of which will be assessed soon.

But let us not be too concerned with such a trivial issue - what about how the 190 performed on a trip down to Dorset? The answer: an absolute dream. With the engine and gearbox warm, the 190, even in its entry-level 1.8-litre automatic form, felt completely relaxed up at motorway limits, its ride improving even further with speed.

And, as my phone's sat-nav revealed the M3 was backing up and diverted me first onto the A303, then onto the fast-flowing A354 south of Salisbury and finally the snaking B3078 out of Cranbourne, the 190E's handling was called into question. You'd probably imagine my bias would lead to glowing descriptions of bewildering agility and involvement, but in fact, it feels very much like the 24-year-old car it is. The new Avon tyres offered decent grip at around seven-tenths on Wiltshire's slimy surfaces, but the car's steering and body control were far less assured.

There's more good news, though. For many years, it seems, the poor car had been parked using its wheel trims, rather than its mirrors, as guides, and they were a real mess. So, while I was in Poole, I thought I'd drop them into Trimtek who, for £100, sanded them down and resprayed them. I think you'll agree from the pictures above, they did a brilliant job. 

Indeed, stand 10 paces away and the 190E is looking better than ever. On closer inspection, though, its oxidised paint needs serious attention, and there are plans afoot for that. It isn't perfect to look at, true, but nevertheless, when somebody reversed into me over this last weekend I was still pretty heartbroken. Luckily, the resulting dent was fairly small, only a little paint was taken off and for now the other driver is willing to pay. Let's hope it stays that way. I'll be back with more soon.

Read Part 1 HERE

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If the concept is anything to go by, the A120 will send drive to its rear wheels through a dual-clutch automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles. An earlier image of the concept?s cabin offered a glimpse of what the production car?s interior will look like. 

A 1955-unit Premier Edition-badged A120 run will be made in order to celebrate the car's launch. They will be available in 12 countries before right-hand-drive markets are offered the car some months later. A £1700 deposit secures one of these early cars, which can be specified via the Alpine app. Three colours are available; black, white and blue.

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It will go on sale later this year, priced between ?55,000 and ?60,000 (between £46,750 and £51,000), making it a direct rival to the Porsche 718 Cayman.

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We've found combined savings of £28,735 on the five vehicles featured below, so take a look below then click the links to read our full road test verdict on each model. All offers are valid until 19 January.

Audi TT Coupé - Pay £27,169, save £4111

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A saving of £4111 over list price is available from Uknewcars.com on the Audi TT 2.0T FSi Sport Coupe. The price you pay is £27,169.

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Pay £7311 less than list price on the BMW 530d M Sport Step Auto Estate with Whatcar.com, to bring the price you pay down to £39,309.

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Opinion: the bumpy road on the way to becoming a classic
Opinion: the bumpy road on the way to becoming a classic "Not only do automotive fashions change, but technology also moves on"

It is a fact proved beyond all doubt that everything goes through an absurdly naff phase while on its way to becoming a classic.

All right, it hasn?t been proved at all; it?s my opinion, but hey, 2017 is just as post-truth as 2016, so I?m presenting it as fact on the basis of overwhelming empirical evidence. Or some evidence, anyway, hand-picked by me, to support my argument.

Take Brutalist architecture, those concrete-dominated edifices in urban areas, largely of the 1960s. Lots of people liked Brutalism when it was new, although it?s worth pointing out that quite a few people didn?t, too. So when, after a while, mostly in the 1980s and 1990s, those who weren?t entirely convinced by it in the first place started to complain about the crumbling concrete and how much more friendly things would look with, say, a glass or mock Tudor frontage, the writing for some Brutalism was on the cold, sometimes damp-stained and often graffiti-covered walls. So off theses places went, knocked to the ground. The Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth; that car park in Gateshead off of Get Carter.

Walk along London?s South Bank today, though, and the Hayward Gallery in particular, and the South Bank Centre in general, look terrific. Did they have a naff phase? If they did, they have come out the other side of it, thanks to the patience of those who?ve looked after them. Perhaps it?s because they?re arts centres anyway and that those in charge can resist the temptation ? and there once was a plan to cover the whole lot in glass ? to dilute the initial brilliance and have instead nurtured the buildings well. That?s not to say everyone in Portsmouth didn?t appreciate the Tricorn, whose bigger problem was the way it was used and maintained. Portsmouth City Museum even had an exhibition on it. Sadly, 10 years later it was demolished.

But this phase, where things look tacky and dated and the temptation is there to do away with them rather than give them the nurturing they need, happens with all kinds of things. Dunlop Green Flash trainers. Doilies. The prawn cocktail. Level 42. I?m pretty sure it happened with David Beckham and John Major.

Let?s not pretend that cars don?t suffer it too. The other day I saw a Mk2 Ford Granada estate and it looked magnificent. Before last week, the last time I thought one looked magnificent was in 1985, when I was 10. Between then and now, I?ve thought they were fairly ropey old things. But now I can imagine wanting one.

There are cars still in that dip, at risk of being Brutalised to death. I think the first Ford Focus, an early adopter of Ford?s ?new edge? design language, is thickest in it. The 1996 Ka might already be on the way out. The problem with cars is that not only do automotive fashions change, but materials, surfacing and edging technology also moves at such a pace that they just look dumpy or outdated. But as they gain rarity, they gain breathing space around them and it?s possible to see them for what they were in context ? what rules they broke at the time.

Patience is needed. London?s South Bank received it. In thousands of scrapyards, there are millions of future classics that did not.

       

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