Subaru Impreza WRX – Mid Life Crisis

The design brief for the original WRX said it should look like its doing 100MPH even when standing still. I reckon they got that spot on. It looked very unique in British Racing Green.

OK…..the Subaru Impreza WRX is not exactly what many would consider an RV.  That said, it did have all wheel drive, it was made to drive really fast on dirt roads and, like any good 4wd, its heaps of fun to drive around.  I had always admired the plucky WRX for its explosive performance wrapped in a small, practical 4 door sedan.  When the opportunity to came to buy one at a reasonable price, I snapped it up.  What was to transpire was a remarkable. It was the beginning of 2 beautiful romances….!

You see the WRX was owned by my then friend and now wife, Kylie.  We new each other as friends travelling on the train into work every day together.  Kylie told our little group that she was selling her beloved Rexxie.  Cut a long story short, we discussed the price and I was soon the owner of the vehicle of my dreams.

The MY-99 featured the rear spoiler from the STi model. In my opinion, it was the best looking spoiler of all the WRX’s. All Rexxies should have a 5″ cannon exhaust…!

The vehicle itself was an MY-99 model which, for many WRX enthusiasts, is the best ever released.  It had the highest power to weight ratio of all the WRX’s and featured many features of the more expensive STi model.  The 2.0l boxer engine is a pearler with a very high pressure turbo charger pushing it to produce over 160kw.  That doesn’t sound like a lot but the WRX was light and its power to weight ratio enabled it to sprint from 0 to 100kph in less than 6 seconds.  The AWD grip meant that it took off from a standing start like it had been launched off the end of an aircraft carrier. It would embarrass many other performance cars of the day. But the straight line speed was only part of the story.  Corners were the WRX’s forte.  It would go around corners like it was on rails. I remember one time hitting a roundabout a bit quicker than I would have liked.  It was reversed cambered which really was a recipe for disaster.  To my astonishment, the WRX went around the roundabout with barely a squeak from the tyres.  Very impressive indeed.

One of the motoring world’s best ever engines. The Subaru 2.0 litre, quad cam, 16 valve, horizontally opposed boxer 4 cylinder engine with turbo charger and intercooler was good for 160kw.

The thing I really liked about the WRX was that it was still a very practical car to drive around as a daily drive.  It had a decent boot for a car of that size, when driven sedately, it would get fuel economy typical of many 4 cylinder cars of the day, and having 4 doors meant you could take a couple of friends around to enjoy the ride.  Even the ride quality, although necessarily hard, was not in the slightest bit uncomfortable.  The Recaro seats certainly made sure of that.

The one modification I made to it was to fit a custom performance exhaust system to it.  The system was designed by a local guy where he researched the best aspects of commercial systems and combined the components to get the best overall result.  This guy was a genius.  The exhaust totally transformed the WRX into an absolute beast.  It improved low down torque to such an extent that it was like gaining an extra gear.  The free flowing nature of the exhaust only encouraged the engine to spool up to its redline and beyond.  Best of all was the very satisfying soundtrack that accompanied the performance.  It sounded unbelievable…!

The interior was very much typical of all Japanese small cars of the era. Plain, functional and comfortable. Apart from the white backed instruments and the brilliant Momo steering wheel, there’s nothing here to suggest that the WRX was anything but a normal car.

One time I took a drive along the Great Ocean road and it was like 2 people from different times in history, got together to make the perfect road for the perfect car.  Boy….that was huge fun.

Unfortunately, I never really had enough time to use the WRX too often and after Kylie and I got together and started our outback travelling, the Rex spent too much time in the garage under cover.  It was time to hand the Rexxie over to someone who would get as much exhilaration from her was I did.  A really nice bloke from South Australia eventually became the new owner.

The irony of this is that Kylie got to sell the same car twice…!  First to me then, as my partner, to the new owner.  I reckon Kylie had this planned out all along.

Everyone should, at least once in their lives, experience the joy and excitement of owning and driving a real performance car and the WRX is one of the very best.  Small, cheap, reliable and practical with an infinite array of performance tuning options available, it has everything necessary to give you a real fizz when its in full song. If you have the means and one becomes available to you, I highly recommend it…!!!

Safe motoring…..

I really do miss my WRX. It was the perfect mid life crisis…!!