By Simon Bennett / 16th January 2019
Blue Subaru Impreza on quay side
I have and will always be a lover of one of the most iconic rally cars of all time, the Mk1 AVO and Mk2 Ford Escort RS2000.
My other favourites include the series one RS Cosworth and the more impressive Lancia HF delta Turbo and it would rude not to mention the Integrale.
These cars are impregnated in my memory simply by watching some of my rally heroes who competed in the Lombard RAC rally in the mid to late eighties, which Includes great drivers such as Stig blomqvist, Jimmy McCrea and four times world champion Juha Kankkunen.
Now if there is one car that strangely reminds me of those iconic cars mentioned above it’s the Subaru Impreza P1 why? because this car hails from an era of rallying that fans of a certain age will forever look back on with huge affection. The P1 is as close as any to offering potential owners a proper world rally car (WRC) but for road use.
Like the era mentioned above the Subaru and Mitsubishi was idolised too, because of rally drivers such as Richard Burns and Tommi Mäkinen who fought vigorously for championship status. I can visualise the blue and yellow Subaru and the red and white Mitsubishi now in the mud, snow, and gravel in those tough terrains.
Image result for Impreza Vs Mitsubishi Richard Burns and Tommi Mäkinen
For me though it’s not all about the entertainment factor of rallying, but more about the cars. I have mentioned above the Lancia Integrale Vs Sierra Cosworth in the late 80’s and I believe the Subaru and Mitsubishi’s rivalry in the 90’s were just as important in the rallying history books. This rivalry was not only left on the rallying circuits but extended far beyond into showrooms and enthusiasts lapped it up with both manufacturers capitalising on the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” motto.
Other recognised brands such as Toyota, Peugeot and Ford’s Mk1 RS Focus driven by Colin McCrae were great cars in this particularly period but the later was never going to compete with the legendary status of the Sierra RS cosworth so brilliantly driven by his father Jimmy in the 80’s
The P1 was Co-developed in Britain by Subaru’s WRC partner, Prodrive, where only 1000 examples were produced. The engine with its distinctive ‘Impreza sound’ is powered by a 280hp 2.0-litre turbocharged boxer design which could accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.6sec, meaning even now in 2019 it could hold its own alongside comparable performance cars and even some supercars.
In terms of nostalgia the original Impreza P1 is without a doubt going the same way as the MK1 & 2 RS Escort and just for the record, back in 1976 the Mk2 RS2000 was launched at £2,857 and now we all know you will not get much change from £20,000+ for a genuine straight car. Thats 700 times its original purchase cost!
The P1 was launched at £31,495 and today good, straight examples are fetching anything between £18,000 and £23,000, we have even seen a time warp example with 4500 miles for £49,000.
If the P1 reaches 7 times it’s original launch cost, that’s £220,465 and most would argue it will never be worth that! I wonder if we would have said the same for the MK2 RS2000 some 43 years ago and remember they were produced in the thousands not thousand!
Time to google P1 for sale? …. we’ll leave it there
Peace & Love

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