It’s no secret that we at CT are a bit fond of a good Impreza. We think we’ve found a peach this weekend in the form of a Version 7 wagon packed with factory-standard forged greasy bits from STI.
Inspired by the secretly awesome Impreza Gravel Express that the other Matt unearthed earlier this week, we trawled the technicolour depths of JDM history and found yet another superb way to spend your cash on the more practical shape of Impreza.
The Version 7 was the first model to emerge with new ‘bugeye’ styling after the golden era of the classic Impreza and all its rally success came to a close. The 2.0-litre EJ207 engine that evolved from the EJ205 (although the EJ205 continued in some markets for years to come) packed a big power boost over its older cousins.
With 280bhp to play with as far back as 2001, when Volkswagen’s flagship hot hatch had about half that power, the Version 7 was a serious player. Subaru commissioned its STI division to go nuts on the car, and nuts STI went.
Drive-by-cable throttle response, free-flowing cylinder heads and an 8000rpm redline made it one of the most exciting and responsive engines Subaru ever made. It sacrificed some of the US market 2.5-litre engine’s bonkers torque hit at low revs for sweeter top-end power and generally more fizz.
Other STI touches cover a VF30 turbo, a tough six-speed manual gearbox, top-mount intercooler, four-piston brakes up front, upgraded drive shafts and a Momo steering wheel. The steering rack was faster, the seats were STI blue, the suspension was STI-spec… the Version 7 was a big, angry tub of yes please.
Which is why we’ve been drooling all over our screens after finding this, a freshly-imported silver Version 7 wagon with gold wheels and 75,000 miles on the clock - although you’d never know it. The right-hooker from Japan has clearly had some serious love over its life; the underside of the chassis looks practically brand new in the photos posted by seller Hurst Cars in Bedford.
It looks to be in superb condition inside and out, so we suspect it has been enthusiast-owned since new. From the perforated seats to the red stitching across the wheel, gear lever and handbrake, we love it. Slightly odd is the incongruous grey-trimmed boot, but hey, it’s hardly a deal-breaker.
The packed engine bay looks very tidy. There’s a little (inconsequential) surface corrosion on the front anti-roll bar and a rusty bolt head, but otherwise it looks mint. Even the suspension looks pretty clean.
Unlike last week’s BMW Z4, this isn’t a cheap car. Given that some of the most collectible Imprezas are now £20,000+ cars, though, the asking price of £6990 doesn’t seem unfair. So many are out there in condition not even half as good as this one, and peace of mind is priceless. It may not be a rare car-spotter’s dream like the Gravel Express, but the want sure is strong.