News: The 32-mile Subaru pro­to­type com­ing up at auc­tion

Mo­tor show dis­play car with just 32 miles from new gets hearts rac­ing

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - www.bon­

A1997 Subaru Im­preza STI pro­to­type with just 32 miles on the clock is ex­pected to fetch up to £75,000 when it goes un­der the ham­mer at Bon­hams’ auc­tion at the Good­wood Mem­bers’ Meet­ing this Sun­day (19 March) at 2pm. While tick­ets to the meet­ing are al­ready sold out, the auc­tion is still open to mem­bers of the pub­lic in­ter­ested in plac­ing a bid.

The iconic rally sa­loon is based on the 1997 works team spec­i­fi­ca­tion and was the first pro­to­type for the 1998 pro­duc­tion WRC car (type 22B).

This par­tic­u­lar model was used as a dis­play car at the Tokyo Mo­tor Show in 1997 ahead of the re­lease of the pro­duc­tion ver­sion in March 1998. The car is not road le­gal, but Bon­hams says there is no rea­son why it couldn’t be reg­is­tered in the fu­ture.

The car has been owned by a pri­vate col­lec­tor for 20 years and was kept in a stor­age fa­cil­ity and con­tin­u­ously main­tained to keep it ‘as new’. The owner is now sell­ing up ‘in or­der to change and up­date his col­lec­tion’.

While it hasn’t been driven for the last 20 years, it does run and fea­tures a 276bhp 2.2-litre tur­bocharged flat-four en­gine mated to a ce­ramic/metal clutch four-wheel drive trans­mis­sion. The car also fea­tures Eibach springs, Bilstein dampers and BBS forged al­loy wheels.

Since its ar­rival on the scene in the early 1980s, Subaru’s rally pres­ence has helped to give the Ja­panese brand a profile out of all pro­por­tion to its rel­a­tively modest mar­ket share.

Subaru’s part­ner­ship with Pro­drive in the 1990s re­sulted in win­ning the New Zealand Rally with the Im­preza in 1993. Subaru then won its first out­right WRC vic­tory in 1995, help­ing to ce­ment the Im­preza as a mo­tor sport hero to clas­sic fans.

A spokesman for Bon­hams says: ‘It is ex­tremely rare for a ma­jor man­u­fac­turer to re­lease a unique pro­to­type for sale; in­deed, most are bro­ken up or crushed af­ter their de­vel­op­ment tasks have been ful­filled. This ul­tra­rare Subaru Im­preza 22B- STI Lim­ited Edi­tion Pro­to­type rep­re­sents a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity for the dis­cern­ing col­lec­tor.’ Tom Sey­mour

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