ME & MY CAR: The call of the 555
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Leading question: who is the best rally driver of all time?
I feel like I am obliged to say McRae here, but in reality, he was probably just the maddest (and by far my favourite). It would probably have to go to Loeb or Makinen.
What exactly are you driving?
It’s a bit of a mouthful, but its full title is a Subaru Impreza WRX STi Type RA Version 2 V-Limited. One of 555 built to celebrate Subaru winning the 1995 manufacturers title.
Why this particular model, and how long have you had it?
I’ve always loved the early GC8s after watching McRae and Bourne fling them around rally stages. When I saw this one come up for sale with a 95 per cent complete Rally NZ livery, I had to have it. That was almost four years ago. In that time it's done several Gumboot Rallies, a couple of grasskhanas, as well as a 7000km roadtrip of the country right down to Bluff and back. It’s coming up close to 50,000km travelled in my ownership.
What’s the best/most interesting part of your vehicle?
The coolest part for me would be having McRae and Ringer’s signatures stitched on to the seats, a very special little touch especially since McRae is sadly no longer with us. My favourite part of the car would be its rawness, full mechanical everything, no ABS, no traction control, it’s just you and the car.
What would you change if you could?
One day I would like to get the engine running similar specs to what the Group A cars ran, but that’ll only happen when I get bored with it, which I can’t see happening any time soon.
What do you always have in your car?
A fuel can. It can pass everything except a gas station.
What would it take to upgrade your car to the latest STI?
Having driven one recently, I would absolutely love one as a daily.
Money no object, what’s your dream car?
Hands down, the McLaren F1. No question.
What do you think of electric cars?
Definitely the way of the future, and for most people as a daily commuter, they are perfect. The instant acceleration is also an incredibly fun party trick. But for me, I would rather have a loud, slow, gas burner with character and personality any day.
What do you think of Mitsubishi Evos?
I would own one in a heartbeat, a Tommi Makinen Edition would be a pretty nice companion to have parked alongside the WRX. Might have to win Lotto for that to happen though.
Will you be going to the NZ WRC in September?
Absolutely! It’s been a very long time coming!