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Looking for an Impreza - Wisdom Needed Please


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Good Morning Chaps and Chapettes,

I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce myself. I’m Shaun, from
Wolverhampton and looking to take my first dive into Impreza ownership but
would very much appreciate if I could ask a few questions (apologies if I am
repeating what you may have heard before).

I have come across quite a few buying guides (they’re great and give a really
good insight into what to look for) and I’d like to think I have a decent
amount of general knowledge thanks to a childhood spent hooked on Gran Turismo
and WRC. That said I have a very basic mechanical knowledge and hopefully this
will allow to have a tinker and learn more.

Basically I’m looking to purchase a second car, currently have an E91 320d
Estate for family duties and the commute, don’t get me wrong it’s a lovely
motor and rear wheel drive is fun but after previously owning a Clio 172 and an
FN2 Type-R – I’m missing the joys of petrol.

I have about 2000 to 2500 to spend but this is where I need some advice.
Ideally I would like to start doing some Road Rallies, Hill Climbs, Sprints etc.
Now I realise that my budget will not allow me to get into those activities
straight away but I’d like to buy a car that I can work on and get towards that
point. I have seen quite a few classic turbo’s for the 1000 to 1500 mark which
would be well in budget and allow me some to change bits if necessary but in
your opinion what are the turbo models like? Obviously interior is not a
concern as I will most likely be taking most of it out but how do they drive? I
have seen 6 Second 0-60’s quoted but is this accurate? How good are they for
handling, suspension, brakes etc?

In my head I have always wanted an STI but unfortunately
I cannot see the budget stretching that far, is it worth waiting another year
or two and getting an STI or can a turbo provide a similar experience? I have
also seen a few WRX’s in the classic shape – a little more pricey but still
affordable, how do these compare to a turbo? There also appears to be the odd
bug eye WRX knocking about towards the 2500 end of my budget. Again how do
these compare? Would I be better off getting the newer shape or would I be running
into a lot of problems buying a cheap bug eye.

Another thing I need to consider is insurance, I’m 26 next month and have 8
years no claims. What sort of price would you expect me to be paying for what
say 1000 maybe 2000 mile premium?


I realise this is a mammoth post and if you have made it this far then thank
you for sticking with me. As I said I am new to the scene and would love to get
involved but just trying to make sure I can make the man maths work. Any help
and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.


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welcome shaun,


well the subaru is a ideal car for the events your thinking off, Engines are cheap enough now and can be changed in a day if your fast with tools and got the knowlegde


You would prob be best off looking for a crappy Shell classic uk turbo i would say, near as standard as possible! wagons are a bit cheaper (same floor plan etc just a bit bigger boot vertically) plus they are better in every way possible (not biased)



Well the uk is known for being a weaker engine, I have ran em at 340-350bhp which is what the limit is really on the gearbox, the gearbox in your case might be the best upgrade! you can change the box and driveshafts to a stronger sti unit for a few hundred quid.




if you got a cheaper car there are loads of nice spec cars being broke, for instance you can pick up a running 2.1 stroker for about 12-1500 quid! or a decent forged sti block for under a grand with a closed deck block!


After market parts workd is endless, Anti roll bars and suspension need to be upgraded tho! whiteline, cusco, bilstein do a lot of products and some by CDF racing are ok too!

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All the turbos are fast. The new age (bug/blob) are more refined to drive.

STI are a better base for performance tuning if that's what you are after. They will be more to service, insure Etc too.

With the classics you do need to watch out for rust.

insurance will depend on post code, mileage, the excess your willing to accept etc. why don't you type your details into go compare and see what you get back.

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Hi guys, really appreciate the feedback. As I'm just starting out and looking to expand my knowledge as I go along - modifications will be simple early on but that's not to say I won't catch the bug and want to push things further. To be honest I have always had a soft spot for the estate (again thanks to Gran Turismo) but with my daily being an estate I think I'd like to have a saloon. 


Very interesting that you guys think getting a turbo would be enough to start with though, definitely helps with the budget. To be cheeky what would you think of the below example:




Now to me that seems too cheap and I know the age old if it's too good to be true but do you think it could be worth a punt? Would any of you know what the Prodrive special edition is in reference too? I've tried to do some research but can't seem to find much about it. 


As for insurance, I have tried a comparison site previously and the cheapest I could get was around the 550 mark. I realise this isn't a massive price but to be honest I thought stating the very few miles I plan to do in the car (less than 2000 a year) and it wouldn't be my main car I would be able to get even cheaper then that. Is this a sensible thought path or am I just dreaming a little? 


Again thanks for the input, I'm trying to contain my excitement and keep a level head so that I can hopefully make the right choice and find a cracking motor. 

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I've too often read an advert then been really disappointed when I've gone to see a car.

Looks nice. I do like the green and gold.

No mention of service history or any recent work done...those would be my first questions on the phone before making the trip

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I've seen a turbo at a dealership in Birmingham so I'm thinking of going to look at that on Saturday, get a feel for what I should be looking for and hopefully how they should drive as last thing I want to do is commit to a long trip down south only to have no real clue when I get there. 


The information on here is invaluable thank you guys and I think I've got a better idea of what I'd like now. Only problem is it might involve bending the misses' arm a bit more with the wedding budget  :D

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Thought I'd put my input in as I too recently got a uk turbo. Although it's not an sti still gives you the smiles you are after and puts shame to type r's all day long. Mine handles very good in my opinion with white line arb's and anti lift kit. Updated shocks and brand new Yokohama parada spec 2 tyres ;) running costs aren't a massive increase compared to my 325i I had previously. How ever insurance is crazy for me as I am only 23. But I work hard so I think I deserve some joys in life ! Basically what I am trying to say is a uk turbo is defonately worth it if you can get it for the right price ! (Paid £1400) and had offers of 800 for my private plate that came on the car

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Hi Weston that's awesome information thanks. I can't agree more about the working hard and having things to enjoy. I'm in the same sort of boat, I did have a 3 litre saloon 3 series and it was amazing but dogs and a child do not get on without a proper boot. I've changed my car to the estate and it's still a good car and means I can still have a little giggle every now and again on the way to work but I do miss having something with "real" power. 


Your's sounds pretty special to be fair. As your local could I be cheeky (if you're about) arrange to come and have a gander and a quick chat so I can have a look round a tidy example?


I'm still really torn between what I would like, I've seen a stripped out and caged turbo on the bay that I reckon would be a lot of fun but at the same time it's taking the risk of having a car that's been used and abused already.

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Yeah wouldn't be a problem mate I'm going away Friday for a week so I'll drop you a message when I'm back and come and show you around it. It has it's issues like any used motor , but I think I got a good deal. Yeah I'd love to cage her up and strip her down ;) lol but the misses and the kids won't agree to walk :( having another car for a daily would be ideal alongside really. Yeah I have the good fortune of few owners and a dr owning it for the longest time an spending a huge amount maintaining her

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Nice one really appreciate that, have a good break. Sounds like you have got yourself a proper cracking motor there mate. Hopefully I'll be able to join in the fun soon - can definitely feel the itch for one getting stronger. 

Hi Steve, I never really thought about the weight difference before. A blob is my all time ideal Impreza and the things I would do for a WR1 are not speakable. I'll keep an eye out for the things you've mentioned. I really do feel much more in the know and not a complete novice anymore thanks. 

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Afternoon mate, cheers for the welcome. 

Just to update you guys(if you were interested) I may have found myself a little project. I've come across a stripped out 98 WRX that needs a new engine. Seems like it's had some work put into it and once ticking over again should be some machine. I'm currently waiting on a mate for hopefully some info about an engine he thinks he can source but I was wondering if you guys have any advice?

Any good places for engines? bad places? Is it a job I can take on with some mates or am I bonkers?

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Well the project has fallen through due to the person who was supposed to be helping me with the engine swap saying he wouldn't be able to any more. As much as I wanted to attempt it there is just no way I would be able to get it done by myself. 

This leaves me on the lookout again and I think I know what I want, I like the look of a 94/5/6 JDM WRX. Been doing some reading up and them seem like a decent amount of motor. Seen a couple so just a case of seeing what prices I can do a deal for. 


Weston if your offer of showing off your car still stands then I'd happily take you up on it.

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Shame to hear it's not gone to plan mate. I'm actually having some issues myself at the moment. Over boosting and not holding boost. Quite annoying to be honest think I'm gonna take it to central subaru in willenhall.

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These things happen and I'm still very much in the market, just trying to find the right one  :D  Sorry to hear about yours, hopefully it's nothing major. I've been past them a few times, are they any good? Very local and handy if they are up to scratch.

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