Four-wheeled rally cars from the early 21st century don’t come much more covetable than this Subaru Impreza S10, because it’s the actual car in which Petter Solberg won the 2004 Rally Japan, having dominated the event from start to finish with 11 stage wins.
It was the eighth chassis to be built by Prodrive for the ’04 season. Its first outing with Solberg was at June’s Rally Turkey where it took third. After victory in Japan, the car went back to Prodrive for a full rebuild in advance of November’s Rally Australia – from which Solberg was forced to retire.
The S10 was subsequently driven by Colin McRae in the Bettega Memorial Rallysprint, and again rebuilt by Prodrive before being sold at the end of 2004 to a private team.
Two years ago, a prospective purchaser commissioned Prodrive Legends to check the car over, after which a deal was done and the owner had the firm return the old warrior to the condition it was in at the 2004 Rally Japan.
Remarkably, Prodrive had retained all of the car’s original documentation, including its build sheet for the rally. That meant everything, from Solberg’s preferred suspension settings to his seat position, could be replicated. The obsessive attention in the rebuild also included saving as many original body panels as possible (including the stone-damaged underfloor and wheel arches) with newly fabricated components being used only when essential.
The car was even painted by the same 2004 specialists, with the satin-finished interior again being left unlacquered as a weight-saving measure. The driver’s door pocket and waterbottle holder were returned to Solberg’s favoured locations, while other interior touches included the fitting of period harnesses and tyres, along with a roof-mounted FIA WRC camera housing. To finish the job, the exact Rally Japan livery was recreated and stuck on by the same person who applied the original.
The car is being sold complete with its FIA Gold Book, its UK registration document, a spare parts package and, importantly, one of the lucky charms that were dished out to each member of the Subaru team prior to the car’s famous victory. Is that original enough for you?
2004 Subaru Impreza S10
Silverstone Auctions, May 22
Forthcoming sale highlights
Historics, Ascot, May 15
A good hunting ground for those in search of the unusual. Offerings include a Lotus 340R, a 1966 Crayford Cortina Convertible, a very original Volvo-engined Marcos GT and a 1959 GMC flatbed truck that’s crying out for a new life as a race transporter.
Bonhams, London, May 19
This high-end sale will focus mainly on road cars with a sprinkling of competition machinery, among which you’ll find a 2012
Superformance Ford GT40 in Gulf colours and a beautifully presented 1964 Jaguar E-type semi-lightweight competition roadster in Briggs Cunningham livery.
Barrett-Jackson, Las Vegas, June 17-19
Barrett-Jackson has long been famed for ‘going large’ with its auctions that regularly run to more than 1000 lots – so prepare to be awed when it sets up in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Coronavirus forced the cancellation of last year’s edition, but the firm promises the new venue will deliver “the full Barrett-Jackson experience”. Yikes…
RM Sotheby’s, Milan, June 15
This sale is a new fixture for RM Sotheby’s. It will feature a tightly curated selection of no more than 30 top-quality cars, including the original 1980 prototype of the legendary Lancia 037 rally car. Commissioned through Dallara and built and developed by Abarth, it could fetch up to £800,000.