News: The 32-mile Subaru prototype coming up at auction
Motor show display car with just 32 miles from new gets hearts racing
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