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Saturday, 28 March, 2015 - 01:44 (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 out of date!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 (actually event that's more or less out of date now too..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!)

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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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Renaultsport eyes hot Captur and Kadjar models

This Autocar image shows how a hot version of the Renault Captur could look
Renault will follow the example set by Nissan and offer performance-oriented versions of its growing SUV line-up

Hot versions of Renault?s latest crossovers, the Captur and Kadjar, could be on sale within a couple of years if investigations under way at Renaultsport prove them viable for production. Renault bosses are said to be interested in the success and strong sales of Nissan?s Juke Nismo.†

Patrice Ratti, CEO of Renault?s independently minded performance division, which last year generated a £500 million turnover from production of 35,000 cars, said the company is investigating the idea now.

Ratti cited three ?areas for investigation?. Renaultsport must discover whether production of faster crossovers would be feasible where the standard cars are made. It must find out if appropriate performance changes could be made within a reasonable budget. It must also work out whether Renaultsport customers would want such models.

Ratti added that the company is proud of its reputation for building top performance hatchbacks and has just launched a sportier, RS 220 version of its fast-selling Clio RS 200 to counter criticism of ?softness?. As a result, any go-faster RS crossover would have to meet buyers? expectations.†

Renaultsport opened in 2002 and has grown its volume from 5000 to 35,000 cars in just five years. ?Our twin challenges are to stay on top in Europe, where competition is growing and to expand outside Europe,? said Ratti. ?We want to reach 50,000 cars by the end of†the decade, 50% of which are sold in emerging markets such as China.?

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Rover 2000 versus European Car of the Year finalists

The Rover 2000 was named European Car of the Year in 1964
The first European Car of the Year was the Rover 2000. Today, 51 years on, can it still teach the current crop a thing or two?

Mortefontaine, just north of Paris, 17 February. It?s the annual European Car of the Year (COTY) test event, with nearly every member of the 58-strong jury, representing 22 countries, gathered at the CERAM motor industry test facility to try out this year?s seven-car ranges shortlisted for COTY 2015 and pick a winner.

This year, however, there?s an eighth model, a car that doesn?t have to beat any rivals, because it already has. It?s a Rover 2000, the first car to be crowned Car of the Year, and it has returned to demonstrate just how much has changed ? and how little ? since the award began in 1964.

In the 11 October 1963 issue, Autocar in its road test rated the Rover 2000 as ?one of the outstanding cars of the decade?. There were many reasons for this, mostly centred around technical innovation, plentiful safety features (including four-wheel disc brakes), a feeling of quality, tenacious roadholding and a remarkable ride.

Such attributes are just as important today, although the new-century emphasis on fuel economy and emissions didn?t worry the judges so much back in 1964. Nor did panel gaps as wide as your little finger, the result of cladding a rigid base unit with entirely bolt-on skin panels.

The idea was to drive a Rover 2000 to CERAM, get several judges from several countries to make some sage observations about the state of half a century?s progress, remind myself of the attributes of this year?s crop (I, like Messrs Prior and Frankel, am among the UK?s six judges) and drive it home again. With luck, the Rover would continue to function for the full 750-mile round trip.

First, though, I needed a Rover, preferably a Series One, single-carburettor, manual-transmission version as per the 1964 winner. P6-model Rovers in this primordial form are scarce nowadays. The obvious thing would be to find a keen owners? club member, but where?s the commitment in that? So I found myself buying one, taking the view that at least one British COTY judge should own the first winner, given that it was British.

I found it in Leyland, Lancashire, which seemed a good omen. It was bought new in April 1967 by a retired aeronautical engineer in Gerrard?s Cross, Bucks, and he sold it 15 years later to his Lancs-based nephew. Sadly, the nephew died last year, so the family, with heavy hearts, put the Rover up for sale.

It has had paint but has seemingly never been restored, nor even welded, during its 76,000 miles, and it came with an impressive stash of spares. After a few weekends? pleasurable fettling, it was ready for its cross-Channel adventure. Via P&O ferry, of course. The tunnel would have been quite wrong for the 1960s vibe.

You daren?t cruise beyond the legal 81mph limit in France nowadays, a speed at which the 48-year-old Rover seems quite happy. The Autocar test said the engine becomes busy if pressed hard above 4000rpm, and nothing has changed there, but ?on the high top gear it hums along easily and contentedly at anything up to 90mph or so?.

Top whack was 102.5mph, with 60mph arriving 15.1sec after a standing start. By today?s standards, the acceleration is very gentle despite the overhead-camshaft engine?s healthy 90bhp.

At the test event, 52 judges (six couldn?t make it) have 51 cars to test, including the Rover. First to take the backward time travel is Tony Verhelle from AutoGids magazine in Belgium. I?ll luxuriate in one of the Rover?s two individual, leather-trimmed rear seats while Verhelle drives the track and photographer Matt snaps from the front passenger seat. We?re heading for the first chicane of several.

?This is a big steering wheel,? he observes. ?It makes it feel like an old car, but the gearchange is good and so are the brakes.? More bends. ?Yes, the handling is good. It inspires confidence.? And how does it cope with the cobblestoned section? ?What cobblestones? I didn?t feel them.?

Back at base, Verhelle considers what 50 years of development have achieved. ?There?s much less in the way of assistance and driver aids here, but this car drives more comfortably than most modern cars. I have a 1954 CitroŽn 2CV and today I?m angry with CitroŽn. They have lost their big attribute: a comfortable ride.?

Next up, Zsolt Csikos from Hungarian website ?It has a good turning circle,? he remarks as we thread our way past a sea of shortlisters. Into the first bend, with enthusiasm. ?There?s a lot of body roll, but the steering is nice and fluid and it weights up the right amount. I love the gearbox with its very short movements, and there?s lots of torque.?

A few corners later, we?re at the cobbles again. ?There are no rattles†at all. This suspension is incredible, and the seats are comfortable in the way French ones used to be.†I?m really overwhelmed.?

There?s a theme developing here: somewhere along the way, car makers have forgotten about true comfort while chasing ?sportier? handling. Yet the Rover, for all its body roll, is beautifully damped and very grippy. Now it?s the turn of Hakan Matson from Sweden. He writes for Dagens Industri and is the COTY president.

?It?s amazing how they fit the airbag into that small space,? he observes, pointing at the centre of the slender, almost skeletal steering wheel. ?I love this wheel, andthere?s plenty of room. I?m sitting†very comfortably.

?So much has happened since this car, but the new ones are still just a box on four wheels, still recognisably the same idea. Look at the wide, open dashboard on the CitroŽn Cactus, and the rectangular design motifs. It?s the same as in this Rover, really. I like the comfort of this car, and the details such as the markers on the sidelights, illuminated at night, so you can see the corners of the car.?

Peter Ruch from Switzerland is next. He masterminds Automobil Revue, that indispensable catalogue of all the world?s cars published at every Geneva motor show. He knows the Rover P6 a little, having driven a 3500 V8 version, and he takes to this 2000 straight away with impressive smoothness and flow. A BMW 2-series Active Tourer passes us. ?So now we?re going to chase him,? says Ruch with a worrying grin.

?This steering is more like a†ship?s, and there?s a little bit of body roll and lots of understeer, but it?s comfortable and a good cruiser. It doesn?t feel 50 years old. This dashboard is much more charismatic than a modern car?s. There was much more creativity back then.

?Today you are driven. In this†you are driving, so you concentrate much more.?

Finally, it?s Jaco Bijlsma from Auto Visie in the Netherlands, the magazine that came up with the original COTY idea. ?It has proper steering feel, and it?s less loose than I expected. And it?s a very nice design visually. Obviously, the safety, refinement and ergonomics aren?t as good as they are now, but this was very technically advanced for its time and the visibility is much better than in a new car. I like it.?

Comfort, driving involvement, the view out? not all progress over the past 50 years has been in a forward direction, it seems. And if history had taken a slightly different course, maybe Rover would still be in the top league of premium car makers.

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Closed road racing moves a step closer in the UK

Racing on closed roads could become a reality
UK government approves legislation that makes closed road racing a realistic prospect

The prospect of motor racing on closed roads in the UK has moved a step closer after the approval of a piece of legislation that will make it cheaper and easier to organise such events.

The government has approved a piece of primary legislation, called the Deregulation Bill, which contains a framework that eliminates the need for an expensive act of parliament to suspend the Road Traffic Act for each individual event.

Rob Jones, the chief executive of the Motor Sports Association, hailed the development. "?This landmark development is the result of a lot of hard work by a small handful of people behind the scenes, with vital backing from thousands of supporters within the British motor sport community," he said.

The UK motorsport governing body has been campaigning for several years for such a change.

The primary legislation still requires a final legislation to be passed before it becomes law, but the Motor Sports Association says it will work hard to ensure this happens as soon as possible following May's general election.

Aston Martin sues Fisker over Thunderbolt design

Fisker showed off the Thunderbolt in March 2015
Aston Martin takes issue with Henrik Fisker's Thunderbolt and issues legal proceedings against the designer

Aston Martin is suing Fisker over its Thunderbolt prototype, saying it is an unauthorised copy of Aston?s designs.

Aston has described Fisker?s conduct as ?wholly unacceptable? and has taken issue with several elements of the Thunderbolt?s styling, including its logo.

?This lawsuit centres on Henrik Fisker?s creation and promotion of automobiles that Aston Martin contends infringes Aston Martin?s rights, by an improper and unauthorised attempt to exploit and free-ride off them. Aston Martin regards such conduct as wholly unacceptable and reserves all rights available at law to challenge it.?

Denmark-born Henrik Fisker is a former Aston Martin design boss and was responsible for the DB9 and the V8 Vantage. He left in 2004 to form Fisker Automotive, which was responsible for the Fisker Karma, a plug-hybrid that was launched in 2011. Fisker Automotive filed for bankruptcy in November 2013.

Fisker revealed the Thunderbolt at the Concours d?Elegance in Florida in March this year. The car is described as a concept and is based on the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish but did not have Aston Martin?s official endorsement. Despite this, Fisker said he would build the car to order if the demand was there.

He also said that some elements of the car?s design would not make it to production†if it were to be made. Production cars would not feature the 11.6in curved infotainment screen of the concept, and it would get†minor styling adjustments.

?I wanted to create an elegant, beautiful GT sports coupť, with pure emotional sculpture that would stay timeless,? said Fisker at the time of the Thunderbolt?s launch.

The lack of endorsement has now caused issues. Fisker has not yet been available for comment.

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Peugeot's 208 GTi 30th Anniversary special honours a legend

The Peugeot 208 GTi 30th Anniversary edition gets 205bhp from its four-cylinder 1.6-litre turbocharged engine
Peugeot's hot new 208 GTi 30th Anniversary special acts as a homage to the triumphant original, but does it live up to expectations?

Did you see the recent TV ad for the 208 GTi 30th anniversary edition? The one where the little car outguns an aeroplane, conquers frozen lakes and snowy mountains and throws itself around and even over the top of a pursuing helicopter before arriving at its destination with the driver unruffled and ready for other types of conquest?

It?s based on the original promo for the 205 GTi, an example of which features in it, being overtaken by this new special edition 208.

It?s undeniable of course that this 208 would overtake the 205. Yes it?s a only a little shopping car with a tiny steering wheel and a curious colour scheme, but in this version it?s got 205bhp to play with (205? Ha!). We might get misty-eyed about the 205 GTi, but it wouldn?t see which way the newer car went.†That, I?m afraid to say, is progress.

Or is it? You see although this tarted-up special is undoubtedly quicker, on the road it?s a twitchy little devil. Yes it might be quick in a straight line, but only if you can keep it in one - use its power liberally and, despite a Torsen diff, it has a heck of a job to put it all down.

On top of that it has a super-stiff ride that on a bumpy British B-road is so bad it felt like it was about to break my spine. Drive it on a motorway in a crosswind and it begins to feel decidedly unstable, too. Then add in an awkward clutch and an unexpectedly long-throw gearchange, and it doesn?t take long to conclude that, although this 208 can be made to go fast, driving it in such a manner is not really very nice at all. † †

The standard 208 GTi might not leap all over the road with quite the voracity of this special one, but it?s not without its faults either. What makes this more of a pity is it doesn?t seem so long ago that Peugeot?s chassis engineers were at the top of their game, producing such great road cars as the 309 GTi, the 106 GTi, the 306 GTi-6 and, especially, the 405 Mi16 4x4.

Years ago I had a 1.9 205 GTi. In many ways it was awesome: it had enormous grip, looked great and handled well, even when provoked. It was much more pleasant to drive than this 208 and, through dint of being able to drive it comfortably up to (and even beyond) its limits, it was probably faster point to point too. No fewer than 21 years on, I still remember it giving me one of the best drives of my life, driving solo late one wet night on a deserted A264.

However, countered against that, its build quality was iffy and its unassisted steering was slow and heavy, with too much self-aligning torque. Later on I tried a version with power-assisted steering and a quicker rack, and it convinced me that that was the one to have.

Equipped thus, the 205 deserves its iconic status. I doubt whether any version of the 208 GTi will ever become an icon, or if in 30 years we?ll even remember it at all, despite the swish advert.


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