Digestible Collectible: 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS
Few people get dressed up for a test drive, but I had to be convincing and look respectable. I was an occasional college student at the time, somewhere between my freshman and sophomore years on the 10-year plan. I walked into the local Subaru dealer and waited to be approached.
I can’t tell you how I did it, but I ended up taking a new Impreza for a test drive, solo. Thank goodness, as my early-20s self had long dreamt of sliding a Subie around some gravel, with a handbrake pull to get the car to rotate. The polyester-clad salesman would have stopped the fun entirely too early.
If you bought a slushbox-equipped Impreza wagon sometime in 1998 from a dealer in Columbus, I’m sorry.
I’m reminded of this as I sit down for my daily car shopping, and this 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS appears before me. Though in general I don’t prefer white cars, this four-door RS looks so right in gleaming white. The basic alloys fitted to these later cars are perfect as well. I’ve read that the earliest 2.5 RS had serious head gasket issues, eventually to be corrected by the time this car came around.
I can hear a bunch of you furiously typing WHY NO WRX/STi? For me, it can be reduced to style. I simply love the lithe looks of the early cars, where the later cars look bulky and bulbous. 300-plus horsepower from a turbo is certainly appealing, however.
A couple years after drifting the wagon, I was actually in the market to buy a new-to-me car, rather than simply hooning with impunity, and I found a used RS at a massive used car lot just outside of town. They even had it in my preferred black with the gold alloys.
Jack’s mentioned this particular dealer — and their shenanigans — in the past, and naturally I was bitten. They couldn’t find the keys. We waited for a couple hours for a chance to drive this Impreza RS, but were spurned. I ended up buying a Ford Focus a few weeks later.
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
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