A Brief History of Car Ownership

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Party Time

The next car I bought was a 1997 Impreza Turbo Estate with a Prodrive Performance Pack. This car was from the same school as the 106; lightweight (no solid thunk as you close a door), fun, and massively engaging to drive. The car had 120k on the clock when I bought it, and it had a pretty pampered life in London, getting washed more than driven.

Being an engineer, I appreciate a solid engineering basis, and Subaru had this in spades with the Impreza. Having now owned a Subaru, I regard their attitude to engineering in very high esteem. Want a solidly engineered car? Subaru. But then as a subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries, can it be any other way? Turbo was immensely fast in all conditions, wet or dry, empty or full of people and luggage. It had phenomenal grip through its bog standard Kumho 215 section tyres.

It has space for five adults and all their stuff plus a dog, and it would still pull like a train. A country gentleman’s carriage with room for the dog. My car even had a powered tow hitch, and came from Vale Motors in Yeovil, so it was probably used to tow a horse box. You just knew this car could do it all; towing one minute, fast driving the next, and going on holiday abroad for two weeks. In the whole time I owned the car, nothing went wrong with it.

In a moment of madness, I made the mistake of fitting Tein coilovers, which ruined the ride and made it unbearable to drive. I quickly changed my mind and swapped the suspension back to standard Eibach springs and dampers (ahh, that’s better).

In the end, I decided to sell the car. The rust was starting to show in patches, and I wasn’t driving it, so I passed it on to a young man from Leicester for £1500. I wanted the car to be enjoyed by someone who was actually going to drive it regularly. R81 WYD, god bless, you were great car.

Using good quality fuel really made a difference in the PPP’d impreza. Tesco ’99 and Shell Optimax gave a stronger boost which started earlier in the rev range. The Prodrive bolt-ons do give a significant improvement in thrust over the somewhat linear standard engine. If you have a vintage impreza 92-01, I would recommend the PPP if you can get one second hand (it’s a chip and a SS exhaust system)