1996 Subaru Impreza WRX STI


  • Gorgeous example of first-generation STI
  • Completely original and unmodified
  • Imported to the UK 22 years ago
  • Very straight and solid


Motorsport can make a car - and the Subaru Impreza WRX is the perfect example. 

Prior to the model’s domestic launch in 1992, Subaru was a charming but oddball car company loved by farmers and those who lived off the beaten track thanks to its benchmark four-wheel-drive technology. It had dabbled in rallying, too, notably with the Legacy in 1991-2, through which the company began its association with Scottish rallying legend Colin McRae.

McRae would go on to be a figurehead for the company throughout the 1990s as the Legacy gave way to the Impreza and the car made a name for itself across the world’s rally community, making Subaru’s mid-size saloon something of an icon – a far cry from its competent but humble beginnings. 

The WRX model debuted in Japan in 1992, the name standing for World Rally eXperimental. The rally-inspired technology included turbocharging, stiffer suspension, close-ratio transmission and a faster steering rack than on a standard model.

The WRX name became a Subaru standard throughout the rest of the Impreza’s life, with numerous special editions and ever more extreme performance packages, but even in standard 240PS form it was a fabulous car to drive. 

This one is a first generation WRX STI (standing for Subaru Tecnica International), with 280bhp as opposed to the standard model’s 240bhp. It was built in 1996 and first registered in Japan, before coming to the UK in 2001. It was converted properly when it came, too, so unlike some imports it has an MPH speedo.

What appeals most about it, though, is its completely unspoilt originality. So many of these early cars were modified, chipped or otherwise “improved” by the modifying community during their lives, making a totally unbastardised example a rare thing indeed. This one is just perfect as it is.

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  • UK V5C
  • MOT May 2024
  • Four previous UK owners
  • Manufactured 1996, imported 2001
  • Some invoices and old MOTS
  • Clifford immobiliser (Thatcham Cat 1)
  • Some old MOT certificates
  • All original import and registration documentation
  • GC8-C series chassis number


  • Figure-hugging grey cloth sports seats
  • Pale blue inserts
  • Minimal wear to seat bolsters and upholstery overall
  • Good carpets, headlining and door cards
  • Original jack and spare wheel
  • Modern Pioneer CD-radio-USB head unit
  • Very good dash with typically Japanese feel and design
  • Three-spoke Nardi sports steering wheel
  • Minor wear to gear knob
  • Factory floor mats
  • Supplementary boost gauge and voltmeter on A-pillar


  • Classic Candy White
  • Gold alloy wheels in exceptional condition, with recent new tyres
  • Panels are all straight and dent-free 
  • Appears structurally good underneath
  • Rust-free rear arches and door bottoms 
  • Welded repairs carried out with localised paint to rectify previous corrosion, picked up on 2021 and 2022 MOT tests and subsequently professionally rectified so the car is in solid condition all over
  • Very good paint finish with all correct trim


  • 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
  • 280bhp
  • Five-speed manual transmission
  • All-wheel-drive
  • According to the vendor, the car drives very well indeed, with no declared faults or issues
  • Advisory free MOT
  • Incredible performance and tenacious grip 


The market for Imprezas is strong at the moment thanks to the sheer amount of nostalgia there is for cars of the 1990s among those who couldn’t afford to buy them when new. 

The biggest difficulty, though, is in finding the right car. With so many Imprezas being modified or given huge performance upgrades, finding a cherished, low-mileage and completely standard car is nearly impossible. 

We say nearly… because you’ve just found it. Here’s your opportunity. It’s not one to miss.

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This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1997
  • Make Subaru
  • Model Impreza WRX Sti
  • Colour White
  • Odometer 74,049 Miles
  • Engine size 1998
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Carmarthenshire
  • Location Wales
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
4 bids from 3 bidders
  • ma•••• £7,800 26/09/23
  • jo•••• £7,700 23/09/23
  • jo•••• £7,500 23/09/23
  • al•••• £7,000 21/09/23

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