Subaru Impreza Buying Guide (GC8)
As with all Subaru models the Impreza offers bullet proof reliability if serviced correctly and tuned intelligently, even in six figure mileages. All examples of the Classic Shape Impreza are at least 6 years old now so careful inspection is required especially considering the cars performance. Accident damage, lack of proper servicing and badly tuned examples are all there to catch the unwary buyer.
Subaru Impreza Buying Guide (GC)
Fortunately there are many scooby specialists in the UK who will happily carry out an inspection for you for a fee of around £150. The best buys are to be found with private sellers who have
maintained their cars well and have owned the cars for a few years. However it may well be faster to buy from a BIMTA approved dealer. Be sure to get a good warranty that covers any engine problems. It is worth asking the buyer what they are running the car on as ALL classic STis must be run on super unleaded (98 octane plus) without it, engine damage can occur.
A car with this performance is always going to be expensive to insure but there are many Subaru Impreza Insurancespecialists who can offer relatively low premiums for modified and imported
examples compared to the main high street insurers. Minimum security requirements for these vehicles is likely to be at least Thatcham category 1 but investing in a higher rating security system is likely to lead to even cheaper insurance. Its worth getting a few quotes for insurance companies before buying just to check the premiums are affordable. Parts and servicing are also likely to be expensive so price this into your budget.
Subaru Impreza Buying Guide – Engine
Although STis have uprated engine internals they still need to be cared after in the same manner as the WRX motors. Oil changes should be carried out every 7500 miles although more regular changes are not a bad thing, new spark plugs, brake fluid, transmission and diff oil should be changed every couple of years or 24,000 miles and the cambelt should be changed every 45,000 miles.
Listen for knocking coming from the engine as this could indicate piston slap or bottom end damage and the turbo should run quite quietly if the cat is still in place. And last but not least, smoke free. Turbos must also be allowed to cool down after hard driving and watch for a fluctuating idle which could be a symptom of a blown mass air flow sensor or sticking wastegatesolenoids. If a boost gauge has been fitted, check that the boost pressure is not exceeding 17-18psi.
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Subaru Impreza Buying Guide – Exhaust
The standard exhausts are fairly long lasting but most owners will have probably have replaced the original exhaust with a stainless steel aftermarket performance exhaust system, due to their performance and their very reasonable prices. Hayward and Scott to name just one. If the cat is removed on the Impreza you are looking at buying make sure to get the old cat from the seller, if its not available budget this into the price, as you will need one come MOT time.
Subaru Impreza Buying Guide – Gearbox/Transmission
A powerful car with 4wd is always going to punish the gearbox especially so if it has been modified. Its not uncommon for a clutch to last as little as 40,000 miles. Clutch judder is common when the car is cold. The Subaru gearbox is extremely tough but when the gearbox is warm do the usual checks to ensure that all gears engage easily with no crunching, listen out for any whining at all whether it be from the gearbox itself or from the diffs. Popping out of gear is almost unheard of, but accelerate hard from low revs in each of the gears to make absolutely sure.
Subaru Impreza Buying Guide – Brakes
The OE brakes and pads are not amazing and most owners uprate the pads, discs, lines and fluid to uprated items. DOT 5.1 fluid is common, especially if your going to take the car on track. As with any car brake hard from speed to ensure the car pulls up straight and smooth with no judder. Rear brakes can seize if a car is left standing.
Subaru Impreza Buying Guide – Bodywork
Accident damage is a real possibility on these cars, vulnerable areas include the front end, front and rear wings. Check the underbody thoroughly for rust as a lot of car will not have been undersealed. The bonnet is also vulnerable to stone chips, budget the repair of this into the purchase price.
Subaru Impreza Buying Guide – Wheels and Tyres
Subaru Impreza Buying Guide – Interior
The electrics are general sound although the cheap interior plastics can look tatty over time.
Subaru Impreza Buying Guide – Suspension
Worn anti roll bar bushes can be diagnosed by knocking coming front the front suspension. It has been said that the best suspension available for the STi is it the original STi set up. So replacing does necessarily mean having to go down the performance suspension route although this may work out to be the cheapest option.
Choosing your Impreza
If you are going to use the car as a daily driver then a fairly standard STi may well be the best choice but if you intend on taking it on track regularly then a Type RA may well be the one for you. Although the Classic Impreza can be had for under £4000 it is best to pay as much as you can afford, £5000 gets you into high quality examples. At the end of the day always buy the GC Impreza on condition not mileage. Buying heavily modified examples can be a bit of minefield so its best to get these looked at by a Subaru Tuning Specialist who can advise you accordingly.
£3500 1994 M STi saloon 80,000miles
£5300 1997 STi III saloon 76,000miles
£23,995 1998 S STi 22B 21,800miles
Other Subaru Impreza Buying Guides and Advice
Impreza GC8 Owners Reviews – Parkers
Modified Car Insurance – Other Impreza owners experience of getting insurance and claiming
Subaru Impreza Suspension Kit Manufacturers
Impreza Tuning Packs
Japanese Car Importers
Track Day Organisers
Import Car Insurance Specialists
Subaru Impreza Tuners
Subaru Impreza Insurance
Performance Car Specs 0-60, Power to Weight and more