Rally icon's old car becomes most expensive Subaru on the planet
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Ex-Colin McRae Subaru commands record price
'90s nostalgia is starting to become a thing, and as such many products of the era are skyrocketing in value and interest (Beanie Baby collectors, rejoice). Cars are no different, especially anything Japanese. In that regard we can thank video games like Gran Turismo and movies like The Fast and the Furious for helping Japanese cars from the era.
We can also thank the World Rally Championship, which experienced a bit of a renaissance during this mid-'90s early-'00s period. At the centre of it all was the battle between Mitsubishi and Subaru, spearheaded by some of the most popular drivers. People like Petter Solberg, Tommi Makkinen, and of course the late Richard Burns and Colin McRae.
Photo / H&H Auctioneers
McRae in particular became exceedingly popular through his no-compromise driving style. He would float cars through corners with tenacity that few other drivers could match — at the cost of crashing more often than many others. But this was part of the mystique. You knew a car in Colin's hands was travelling through the stages as fast as it could possibly go.
And it was with Subaru that Colin forged the bulk of this reputation — a reputation that rubbed off on Subaru's racier products, and helped this particular Subaru [pictured above] set a new money record for most expensive Subaru sold.
It sold for £230,625 (NZ$414,958) at a recent auction — a figure that makes it the most expensive Subaru on the planet according to The Sun, having eclipsed the previous record holder by around NZ$100,000.
The story goes that the car sold wasn't actually a car McRae competed with. Rather, in its factory capacity, it was McRae's humble test car made just before the 1997 WRC season, which helped Subaru and the Prodrive team develop their highly successful WRC97 platform.
Although, it did get out and about for the odd rally. Auction house H&H Classics noted in their pre-auction description of the car that it had raced as a privateer machine in the WRC and in other European categories. Though, that didn't necessarily mean it had a boring history...
“The eWRC-results.com website records Chassis 001 winning the 1998 Boucles de Spa Alphonse Delettre Rally in the hands of Gregoire de Mevius / Jean-Marc Fortin before being sold to Procar of Italy,” says the auction house.
“Seemingly victorious on the Rali Vinho da Madeira, Rally Cyprus and Aviano Rally in 1999. That same year apparently saw it piloted by none other than nine-time motorcycle champion Valentino Rossi to eighth place on the Rally di Monza.”
While it wasn't able to create a legacy all its own (terrible pun there), the WRC97 Imprezas it helped spawn certainly did. McRae recorded more rally victories than anyone else that season (naturally, a string of DNFs denied him of title glory), and even one Possum Bourne snagged a couple of top-five results in New Zealand and Australia.
It's ironic in a way that the record-breaking seller is utterly mint inside and out. Free of any torn bodywork or stone-chipped front panels.
Nonetheless, that's what helped it earn its own slot in the record books.