Even though Subaru hasn’t competed in the World Rally Championship for years now, it still boasts about its rallying pedigree in its products today; a fact underlined by last weekend’s WRX launch.
It shows just how much of an impact Subaru’s years in WRC had on its audience, while also showing the marketing and engineering benefits of hitching your wagon to a competitive beast like the world’s biggest rallying championship.
Inevitably, this has seen the prices of Subaru’s old World Rally beasts skyrocket in recent times. Just a few months ago, a former Richard Burns Impreza sold for more than $800,000. Now, another Impreza with WRC pedigree is wanting a new home.
The car in question is a former Petter Solberg machine from the Norwegian driver’s 2005 season. Sporting the ‘blob eye’ front fascia, it is known as ‘PRO.05.007’; the first three letters designating that it was built by factory Subaru outfit Prodrive, 05 designating its year, and 007 designating which chassis in sequence it was.
While it didn’t quite deliver a championship for Solberg, it did play a small part in his second-place finish in the standings … beaten only by some guy called Sebastian Loeb. Such was the amount of money spent on the series that this car was only used in a handful of events, recording a best finish of fourth at Rally Finland.
While it’s noted as being in excellent condition, the power of the internet means we can quickly find out what kind of mishaps happened to the car in period. Ten seconds of searching, for instance, found us the above footage of it getting abused at Rally Finland; the bootlid and rear-wing assembly having gone astray mid-stage.
Listed for sale with UK auctioneer site Collecting Cars, it recently failed to sell at auction, having been bidded to over $420,000. Although it isn’t a title-winning car, we suspect that some backroom negotiation will see it change hands soon. Cars with this level of provenance don’t tend to hang around for too long.
“Given its rally car status, over the years it has of course suffered from panel damage on stages, with various replacements. However, the shell itself is understood to be original, and is fresh from a total restoration, so now presents as-new,” Collecting Cars explains.
“A restoration was undertaken by Melvyn Evans in 2016, plus an engine rebuild in 2019, and refurbishment of the gearbox and actuator within the last two years. Following further competition use, it was given another complete bare-shell restoration last year, which was completed in November 2020.
“Re-finished in the iconic blue and gold Subaru WRC colours, exactly as rallied in 2005, it would make a superb addition to any collection of competition vehicles, or an eminently usable car for a variety of Tarmac or off-road rally events.”