One of the most historic jewels of the World Rally Championship is up for auction. It is the Subaru Impreza WRC from 2004 with which Petter Solberg and Phill Mills won the Rally Japan that year. Prodrive Legends has been responsible for restoring and leaving the unit identical to that of that date. The luxury of details is impressive. It will go up for auction next Saturday, May 22, 2021.
But let’s remember some detail of the Japanese rallie of fifteen years ago before moving on to the unit. Solberg and Mills led that rally from start to finish, winning 11 of the 27 scratch marks at stake. They beat Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, World Champions in 2004 aboard the Citroën Xsara WRC by more than a minute. The Japanese celebrated the eleventh of the 16 scheduled events in the WRC of that campaign.
Prodrive acquired the car privately in 2019, then sent it to its “Legends Department”. Its workers and technicians (some were the same as in 2004) have been in charge of restoring it. The goal was simple: to present the car exactly as it was during its 2004 Rally Japan victory.
Technicians removed the bodywork and paint making sure not to cause any damage. Afterwards, they measured and inspected the entire chassis to make sure it was still true to the original car in 2004. Indeed it was. Very specific areas of the car that needed it were repaired to maintain the authenticity of that year.
The car was sent to the original company who painted the car in 2004. In this way they could be sure that every aspect was authentic from the masking around the roll cage to the satin finish on the interior, which was originally left unlacquered to save weight.
Each sub-assembly was stripped and inspected. The suspension was crack-tested and rebuilt with new bearings and seals. The brake calipers were rebuilt but the brake discs replaced. The original fuel cell was worn and leaking so was therefore replaced.
The original Rally Japan livery was applied to the car by the very same person who applied it in 2004 to ensure every detail matched the original.
Attention to detail:
A template for the heat shielding in the engine bay, which varies from rally to rally, was made by the original manufacturer. Petter’s door pocket is exactly where he wanted it; the Velcro indicator for the spare tyre direction has been reproduced.
Petter’s door pocket is exactly where he wanted it; the Velcro indicator for the spare tyre direction has been reproduced. The seats were sent to Sparco to be retrimmed, a set of original tyres for the time were found, an original jack, period harnesses, and the FIA WRC camera housing on the roof was fitted. The correct steel and aluminium bolts for the front and rear door hinges were used
A Nokia 6310 phone was fitted, which was used in-period to communicate to the team in the service park. Prodrive even sourced the lucky charm given to all the Subaru team by STI on Rally Japan.
‘PRO-WRC 04008’ is accompanied by the aforementioned Prodrive Legends Restoration booklet containing all the info and pictures of the restoration along with more detailed stage results for rally Japan. It’s also accompanied by a history file, UK V5, the all-important FIA Gold Book and a spare parts package.
In summary, Silverstone Auctions are incredibly proud to offer such a special car to the market. This is the only Impreza that Prodrive Legends have restored so far and the attention to detail is quite simply unparalleled. It’s been restored to exactly how it ran at its most famous achievement in Japan and has been looked after recently by the very same people who prepared the car at that time.
Combined with the undoubted provenance of a famous Japanese manufacturer winning on home soil, means ‘PRO-WRC 04008’ now stands out as one of the best and most important examples available. Perhaps an unrepeatable opportunity.
The car is estimated to have a final price between 445,000 and 520,000 euros. On May 22, a ruling will be issued on the final price of this spectacular unit. As the days go by, you can enjoy all the images and features of the car by clicking HERE. Detail video: