This is where the journey begins.
In 2013 I turned 22 years old, an age at which I found insurance prices declining rapidly on my then cars, a Toyota MR2 and Audi A4 Quattro. I’d always wanted to combine the practicality of the Audi and the fun of the MR2 – and what better car to choose than a 4WD, Turbocharged Subaru Impreza now that insurance costs made owning one feasible?
It helps an Impreza has been on my ‘dream car’ list since I was a very young too.
There was no way I could justify owning a fleet of three cars, so something had to go to make room (and free up some funds) for my future Subaru. With that, I sold my Audi (for a profit I might add), and in the Summer of 2013 I began my search. I had a minimum criteria I intended to stick to:
- 2003-2005 Newage ‘Blobeye’ Model
- With PPP (Prodrive Performance Pack)
- WRC Blue with Gold Alloys
- Sub 70k mileage
- Full Service History
- Current Tax & MOT
- £7k max budget
Basically, the standard checklist for a car enthusiast looking to buy a solid long-term vehicle.
Scouring the national classifieds became an almost nightly occurrence. I’d researched the pitfalls of owning such a high performance car and I knew what to look out for. I’d learned how to spot a red flag from a mile away.
I’m sure every Subaru enthusiast in the UK has heard of Scoobynet. Look past all the bullshit and bickering on the forum and it’s packed with solid advice and a decent classifieds section. This is where I learned what to look for in a decent used Impreza, and this is also where I found my car.
At the end of July I stumbled upon an advert listing a car that fitted my criteria to a tee; a 2003 WRC Blue Impreza STi with PPP, FSH, Tax, MOT and less than 60k miles. For £6500.
Now it turns out this was the second time this car was put up for sale. The first time it was up for sale it hadn’t had much interest, probably owing to the fact that it then looked like this:
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with how it looks here, but from a purists perspective with a budget to stick to, this wouldn’t have caught my eye. For these pictures the car was sporting a Front WRC Bumper, Rear WRC Wing, TSL Group N Exhaust, Prodrive PFF7 18″ Alloys and beefy 6-Pot AP Racing brakes. With a sale price of £9000.
Now, back to the revised second advert of the car in more ‘standard’ trim, it looked and sounded perfect to me. It had been returned back to stock with the exception of the rear WRC spoiler (it had been permanently bonded to the bootlid) – an eyesore for me personally, but certainly not a dealbreaker if the car really is as good as it looks.
Here are the pictures that were supplied on the listing:
So upon seeing the advert I immediately got in touch with seller, who sounded (via email) like a thoroughly nice guy. Luckily this was on a Friday so I would be available for a viewing as soon as the weekend hit. He informed me that somebody had wanted a viewing for later in the weekend, but he was happy to sell the car on a first-come, first-served basis. Fine by me! I told him I’d be there nice and early Saturday morning.
After a quick trip to the ATM to get enough for a small deposit, me and my father set off for Enfield, North London – a not-too-distant 80 minute journey.
After spending a good deal of time inspecting the car and conversing with the seller (who happened to be one of the nicest and most genuine guys I’ve ever met), I’d left a deposit. But not before coming to a deal on the car. You see, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snag myself the Prodrive PFF7 wheels that had been previously removed. These are a fairly rare and very sought after wheel option, so we settled on a deal to throw them into the sale for a total just shy of £7k. That should be a nice contribution to the deposit on the house he needed (I know what I’d rather have!)
Just for future reference, here is the seller’s first post on the Scoobynet forum introducing this very car, way back in 2011! http://www.scoobynet.com/scoobynet-general-1/874029-hello-from-london.html
Skip ahead a couple of days, I’d arranged some transport back down the motorway, paid away my savings and returned with my perfect Subaru. This was the sight that greeted me the next morning: