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Tuesday, 28 July, 2015 - 02:23 (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

..:: My 2001 UK Subaru Impreza WRX - Red Mica

NOTE: This page is SSSOOOOoooo... out of date! Had the car just over a year now, and it looks quite different to the pictures on this page.. Also had a few changes under the skin! Soon I'll report on what all has been done to the car.. Not much left to do now.. It's been one hell of a project at a fraction of the cost it would normally be if I had a garage do all the work! Stay tuned! For a sneek peak check out the Lochindorb gallery! (actually event that's more or less out of date now too.. Someone please give me a kick up the ar*e!)


SIDC Member Direct Car Parts Shop

UK Spec Standard 2001 Subaru Impreza WRX Finished in Red Mica 40,000 miles!

Sourced from Sunnyhill Motors in Turrif, Nov 2006.

Black privacy glass fitted which looks sweet against the Red Mica body! Really can't miss it when you see it on the road!

No plans for any modifications at the moment but I'm sure it wont be too long.... :o)
(23/03/07) Nope hasn't taken long at all.. Few cosmetic tweaks here and there since I bought the car, Mud flaps, front grills, fog lamp covers, grill inserts and some vinyl graphics. But the proper modding has started. Front & Rear aluminium top strut braces fitted wont have much affect at the moment unless used in conjunction with other suspension upgrades..

Soon to have the prodrive 3rd decat pipe fitted along with a Prodrive WRSport backbox (ooh burble) can't wait!

Other semi-planned mods are to the suspension. A set of Prodrive/Eibach springs would be nice, stiffer drop links, possibly new Anti-Roll bars. After that getting the suspension geometry reconfigured is a must. May got for the rally Group N settings as opposed to Prodrive configurations which tends to give uneven tyre wear. Only other change would be ECUTek remap for the ECU once the decat and backbox are fitted which would hopefully give bhp a kick up to around 265bhp from 215bhp, and a drop in 0-60 from 5.9sec to 4.8sec (as if it isn't fast enough). The possibilities for modifying truly are endless with these cars. But my pockets aren't that deep *sigh*

Finally got the 3rd cat delete pipe installed today thanks to Wallace Performance in aberdeen for removing the origonal cat pipe which was held in place by very dodgy workmanship!


If you spot me, don't forget to gimme a flash and a wave!!!

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(Coming Soon)


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Nissan Leaf line-up set to expand
Nissan?s next-generation EV may include a new crossover model as well as the five-door hatchback

Nissan could add extra models to its Leaf line-up when the next generation of its electric vehicle arrives, according to a senior official.

The Sunderland-built hatchback has notched up more than 10,000 UK sales since it was introduced in 2011. However, its global figure is still some way short of the initial projections from Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn.

A successor is already in the works and is likely to have a much-improved battery life as Nissan attempts to quell the range anxiety still suffered by many potential customers. The next Leaf is likely to stick to the current car?s format of a five-door hatchback on a bespoke platform. However, Nissan executive vice-president Trevor Mann believes there could be room to expand the Leaf sub-brand to include other bodystyles. ?There could be more than one Leaf,? he said. ?We?ve always said it needn?t be one car.

?We?ve got the NV200 electric, too, now, but obviously we?re still studying other opportunities. What we?ve got to do is to make sure the market is right. We want to make sure that when we do the next one or we expand the line-up, we?re really taking the market intelligence that we?re gathering and using it. With our customer base, we have an enormous amount of feedback that we can recycle into what we do in the future.? 

Mann declined to comment on how Nissan could expand the Leaf range. However, the firm has enjoyed considerable success with its Juke and Qashqai crossovers, and this seems most likely to be the bodystyle chosen.

A higher-set seating position could also appeal to one particular sector of Leaf owners: older buyers who use their cars almost exclusively for local journeys. No timeframe has been given for the Leaf replacement, although Mann hinted that it could be different from the usual seven-year model cycle. ?The product life could change slightly because it?s an EV,? he said.

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BMW M cars by another name - used car buying guide

BMW 320is
BMW?s M division has produced generations of high-performance icons, but not every one of them has been called an M car

The cars of BMW's M division are famed throughout the world - but not all of them were badged as M cars. Here are a few which went by other names.

1 - BMW 320is (1987-1990)

Like the idea of an M3 but not being chased by B-road heroes? The 320is was the perfect blend of standard E30 shell and a 194bhp short-stroke version of the M3?s 16-valve four-pot, with its reduced 1990cc capacity sneaking it under Italy?s and Portugal?s 2.0-litre tax band. It even had the same Getrag dogleg gearbox and locking diff, plus ?BMW M Power? script on the cam cover.

Unlike an M3, however, it doesn?t feature a stiffened, lightened body. Pick a four-door, which came without a bodykit, and you have the perfect sleeper car from as little as ?15,000 if you trawl the classifieds in mainland Europe.

2 - BMW 2002 Turbo (1973-1975)

You won?t find an M badge, but check out those stripes. A KKK turbocharger added 40bhp to the 2002tii?s 1990cc M10 motor, giving 170bhp and 130mph. It was far more than simply an engine transplant, though; the shell and suspension were stiffened and a bodykit proclaimed the car?s potency.

All 1672 that were built were left-hand drive and came in white or silver. You?ll pay £50k for a good one, despite the 2002tii being a sweeter drive.

3 - BMW 745i (1984-1987)

The fact that BMW won?t make an M7 frustrates barge fans, but if you seek a Seven with M blood in its veins, there?s a super-rare South African version.

The Cape?s 745i got the M1?s 286bhp, 3453cc twin-cam M88 unit, and unless you could spot the M5 brakes, there was no identifying this M wannabe. Only the Nappa leather and discreet logos on the dials gave the game away inside. If you can find one (only 209 were built), our guess is that you?d pay £30k-£40k for it.

4 - BMW 850CSi (1992-1996)

The elegant 850CSi has never been revered like its ancestors. Why? In 850i form it was about as exciting as a Jaguar XJ-S, but while the 550bhp M8 remained a prototype, at least the techno-wizard CSi made it out of Munich. This M car in all but name featured motorsport DNA in its 380bhp 5.6-litre V12, vast ventilated brakes (from the M5) and reworked suspension with rear-wheel steering.

Just 1510 were built. Look to pay upwards of £20k for decent one today.

5 - BMW 3.0 CSL (1971-1975)

The Coupé Sport Leicht homologation special was BMW Motorsport GmbH?s first road car. Aluminium panels and bucket seats helped to shed 200kg from the standard car, while a fabulous M30 straight six and uprated suspension completed the package. You could opt for a race kit on later cars, with rubber air guides on the nose and a huge spoiler.

You?re unlikely to find much for less than £50k, and a pukka ?Batmobile? could be four times that.

Alastair Clements

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A Ferrari FF, a Hawker Sea Fury and a decorated pilot

Lt Cdr Chris Götke suffered engine failure in Sea Fury VX281 during an air display. He managed to get the plane back to earth with minimal damage
A weekend in a Ferrari is a huge treat, but it's not quite up there with your childhood dreams

When Land Rover celebrated its 65th birthday in 2013, it held a gathering at a country house in the Midlands. There was a fabulous array of historic models parked around the place and a decent amount of open land to try out a few of the cars.

Just before lunch, a Royal Naval helicopter from RNAS Yeovilton put on a display over the grounds and then landed in front of the house. It was delivering a 65th birthday cake for Land Rover.

After the photoshoot was over, I found myself sitting next to one of the helicopter crew at lunch.

When I heard RN man Andy was based at Yeovilton, I asked him whether he knew much of the Royal Naval Historic Flight planes based down there, specifically the Hawker Sea Fury.

Turned out he often flew in the two-seater Sea Fury and the Swordfish biplane when the aircraft were on the summer airshow circuit.

Well, as much as I am deeply fascinated by the car industry, a man who flew Sea Furies put me straight into the realm of childhood fantasy. When I was kid, I didn?t have pictures of cars on my bedroom wall. I had a Sea Fury poster.

The Hawker Fury was just too late to see action in World War 2, but it was about the ultimate expression of the piston-engined fighter. A huge aeroplane, it was powered by the spectacularly complex Bristol Centaurus radial engine, which had two rows of nine cylinders and was good for 2500bhp.

I forgot all about Land Rovers because I was riveted by Andy?s stories of keeping the Sea Furies flying, of dropped piston rings and the loss of two Sea Furies in quick succession, first in 1989 (engine failure, ditched in the Firth Of Clyde) and then in 1990 (engine failure on take-off from Yeovilton).

Tricky things, those Centaurus engines. They?re immensely complex (have you ever seen an animation of how sleeve valves work?) and, when you see one in pieces, I can?t imagine how blokes armed only with pencils and log tables managed to bring them to life.

Anyway, I kept in touch with Andy and promised I?d visit Yeovilton (there?s a great museum at the airbase) when I had a nice car for a weekend.

Meanwhile, in June 2014, social media blinked into life just seconds after the RNHF?s two-seater Sea Fury VX281 had crash-landed at an airshow at RAF Culdrose.

It was a horrible few minutes before it became clear that the Sea Fury had been successfully crash-landed by Lt Cdr Chris Götke after the engine had suffered some kind of failure.

A relief, but another example of my favourite (and relatively rare) aeroplane was now wheels-up in a field, with the propeller blades bent around the nose.

This May, Andy called me and invited me to the RNHF supporter?s day at the airbase. A perfect cue to wrangle my first weekend in Autocar?s Ferrari FF loan car. Great, I thought, a chance to snap the Ferrari in front of the single-seat Sea Fury that?s nearly airworthy.

It was a small gathering, beautiful old planes and tea and cake. I thought it couldn?t get better until I was introduced to Lt Cdr Chris Götke himself. Even though he had just been awarded the Air Force Cross for bring the Sea Fury down safely at an airshow, he was almost comically polite, modest and self-effacing.

So, here I was, in this childhood dream some nearly 40 years on. And then somebody said that unserviceable bits of old planes were on sale to raise funds. And there was one of the bent blades from Sea Fury VX281, signed by Chris Götke: "Offers over £1000."

Another supporter had offered £1500. Mad. Could I afford to spend £1600 on a Sea Fury prop blade? But then, I had a Sea Fury poster on my wall and I?d just met a Sea Fury pilot who managed to glide that a 12-tonne monster in and keep it one piece.

Even the Queen was so impressed she awarded him a medal.

So out came the credit card.

The next problem was getting this huge and extremely heavy blade back to London. Ah yes, the Ferrari. It?s a hatchback. Surely there was no chance of it fitting, but RN Andy and his son carried the blade to the car for a few snaps.

I lifted the tailgate, dropped one of the rear seats and the lads fed the blade in. It looked like there was no way it would fit, until we rotated the blade and the bent end turned out to have the perfect curve to run over the folded seat and into the rear footwell. It fitted exactly.

The car industry is the most fabulous thing in which to be involved. But the 10-year-old me had a poster of Sea Fury on my bedroom wall. I might have mentioned that already.

And now I?ve got a piece of a Sea Fury and the RNAS has a few quid towards buying a new Centaurus engine, so VX281 can get back in the air.


In praise of Britain?s motorsport marshals, and Brands Hatch

A weather beaten Brands Hatch on Sunday
A soggy day at Brands Hatch lifts the spirits - and highlights the work of some unsung heroes

Many motorsport fans will be perplexed by my decision to go to Brands Hatch last Sunday for the BARC Championships race day, partly because the immense Silverstone Classic was available as an alternative, and partly because rain was coming down for much of the day, making life on a grassy bank pretty hard work.

But here?s the rub: I love Brands Hatch, and have done since I was first taken there by some friends 22 years or so ago, and I also love club racing, simply because you can watch it without a care in the world about who wins and who spins. Ultimately, it?s a bunch of men and women driving as hard as they can before heading home to get on with their lives. Success in the MGOC Championship isn?t going to get Toto Wolff on the phone. As far as I'm concerned, paying £14 (kids go free) for the privilege of watching a bunch of racers have fun for six hours is pretty good value, come rain or shine.

The first thing that struck me is the eternal truth that marshals deserve more thanks and praise than they get. I know it?s been said before, and I know it?s as true today as it was then, but it simply can't be said enough.

Sure, marshals are clearly in love with club motorsport even more than I am, but while I paid my entry fee and had the opportunity to wander where I wanted, leave when I wanted and to take shelter when I wanted, they were on duty throughout. Given the weather, and the fact that there were some pretty inexperienced racers cutting their teeth in treacherous conditions, they were kept pretty busy, too.

Yet they went about their business with relentless hard work and good cheer. Cars went off everywhere. They sprayed gravel as they went, all of which needed clearing up. They got beached, which required some hefty pushing and towing. They shunted, which required conciliatory words and some hardcore lifting. No doubt there will be sunnier days, but there will also be worse ? and on each and every one of them anyone who likes motorsport should be grateful that the marshals are there.

While I?m at it, it?s also worth a note of appreciation for the facilities at Brands Hatch these days. Again, the changes since Jonathan Palmer?s Motorsports Vision team took up ownership of the venue have been well documented, but again they are worth repeating. On this soggiest, muddiest of days the toilets were clean, the canteen was open and everyone we met was courteous and helpful, despite no doubt wishing they were somewhere warm and dry. There?s now a kids' play area by the Kentagon to fill the quiet moments, and the paddock facilities are open, organised and welcoming.

In many ways these things are the basics for any venue charging the public to come in ? but for so long Britain?s racing circuits did none of them. Palmer and his team have lifted the game for everyone, and it?s one of the reasons why I?m happy to take my seven-year-old son to the track for the day, even in rubbish weather, and one of the reasons he?s now hooked for life. In time, their effort will pay back in pounds and pence, I have no doubt.

If you?re tempted to try watching at a club race meeting, I?d urge you to do it. There were no queues and no crowds ? just good company and a soggy picnic. It was a great day out. And if you do, just remember to say thanks to the marshals for making it possible.

2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe - new official pictures
Mercedes-AMG's BMW M4 rival packs up to 503bhp and gets from 0-62mph in under 4.0sec, and will make its debut at the Frankfurt motor show

Official pictures of the upcoming Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupé have been released, with the car expected to go on sale in early 2016.

The C63 Coupé will be the third variant in the new C63 family to launch, following on from the saloon and estate variants already on sale, and is expected to make its debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Mercedes-Benz?s performance car division is preparing to take the fight to the BMW M4 and a host of other recent go-fast coupés with the brutish 503bhp twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8-powered C63 Coupé, which is planned to go on sale in the UK this November.

The C63 Coupé wil make its Frankfurt debut alongside standard versions of the new C-Class Coupé.

Pricing for the eagerly awaited M4 rival is yet to be made official. However, prospective customers can expect to pay a premium on the recently introduced C63 saloon, which starts at £59,795 and rises to £66,545 in range-topping S guise.

The saloon and coupé share the same rear-wheel drive platform, driveline and electronic architecture. However, the C63 Coupé will have bespoke suspension tuning, revised elasto-kinematic properties, a lower centre of gravity and specific camber rates ? among other detailed chassis changes confirmed to Autocar by a member of AMG?s engineering team.

These revisions are claimed to provide the C63 Coupé with even sharper driving traits than the already highly praised C63 saloon. Our source said: ?We?re confident the new C63 Coupé will set the standard in its class. Performance-wise, it is a big step forward. Building on what we have achieved with the C63 saloon, it betters the old model in every vital discipline.?

One key development is the adoption of electromechanical steering in place of the hydraulic set-up used on the previous C63 Coupé. A mechanical locking differential will also be included as standard, with a faster-reacting electronically operated differential included on the top-of-the-line S model.

Power for the new C63 Coupé comes from AMG?s M178 engine, as unveiled in the latest C63 saloon. In a move mirroring that of its four-door sibling, the 4.0-litre petrol unit - a direct relative of the M177 engine used by the flagship GT sports car - will be offered in two states of tune.

In standard guise, the 90deg V8, whose turbochargers are mounted up high between the cylinder banks for optimal packaging, is set to deliver 469bhp and 479lb ft of torque in the C63 Coupé.

With added boost pressure and other power-enhancing tweaks, output will rise to a rather more serious 503bhp and 516lb ft in the initial range-topping C63 S Coupé.

By comparison, the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 petrol engine used by the first-generation C63 Coupé delivered 448bhp and 442lb ft of torque as standard. An optional Performance Package increased power to 480bhp, with peak torque remaining at 442lb ft.

Among the performance coupé competition, the Lexus RC F comes closest to matching the new C63 Coupé for outright firepower, with its naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 delivering 471bhp and 391lb ft. The BMW M4?s twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine kicks out 425bhp and 405lb ft.

Channelling the C63 Coupé?s reserves is a revised version of AMG?s seven-speed SpeedShift automatic gearbox. It uses a wet clutch in place of the torque converter for speedier shifts via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. As in the four-door C63, the traditional shift lever is replaced by a column-mounted stalk.

The performance of the gearbox, dampers, throttle and steering can be adjusted by moving between four different driving modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. An additional Race mode is included on the S model.

In keeping with its added performance potential, the C63 Coupé takes on a distinctly more muscular appearance than its forebear. This is particularly apparent towards the rear, which is dominated by substantial haunches over the rear wheel arches. The result gives the new coupé an instantly more aggressive stance than its predecessor.

The front-end styling is closely related to that of the C63 saloon. However, the C63 Coupé departs quite radically from the windscreen back. Distinguishing features include a more heavily raked windscreen, frameless doors, unique rear side windows, shapely C-pillar treatment, a heavily angled rear window, short boot deck, horizontally set tail-lights and a substantial bumper assembly complete with integral diffuser and four trapezoidal-shaped chromed tailpipes.

Even so, the new look is not exclusive to the C63 Coupé. Elements of the exterior design will also appear on a new C63 Cabriolet that is also currently under development at AMG?s skunkworks in Affalterbach, Germany.

As with the C63 saloon, the C63 Coupé has grown in size. Despite the car?s increase in dimensions, Mercedes-AMG sources confirm that it is lighter than its predecessor. An official weight figure has yet to be revealed, but the reduction is said to be in line with that of the latest C63 saloon, which is 15kg lighter than its predecessor despite greater levels of standard equipment.

This has been achieved through the adoption of Mercedes-Benz?s new MRA platform, a floorpan that makes more extensive use of hot-formed high-strength steel as well as increased use of aluminium within the chassis and new driveline.

With added power and less weight, AMG insiders say, the C63 Coupé will be capable of cracking 4.0sec for the benchmark 0-62mph sprint and achieving a top speed of more than 186mph, although, in line with other AMG models, it will be limited to 155mph. It will need to be this quick to get the better of the M4, which is claimed to cover the 0-62mph dash in 4.1sec on its way to an identically restricted 155mph.

Watch our drive of the saloon version of the C63 AMG.

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