Rally legends from Subaru and Mitsubishi from € 5,000

Arturo Rivas
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI + Subaru Impreza GT Turbo
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M it clip claw grabs a deep hanging cloud after the tops of the trees on the Aichelberg. She pulls a long cloak of gray swaths behind her like a train. The trail goes south but it feels like north. The fog in the valleys is the brightest thing that dark day will experience. You have to see the good: the weather fits the topic. It is only superficially about two Japanese cars that are in the Hall of Fame of the automobile in the same hall as Porsche or Ferrari, the roots of the myth lie in the deepest part of Britain, and you first have to tell about the people in order to understand them.

Awesome combination: Subaru and Colin McRae

50 km south of Glasgow, Scotland, a young man had grown up in the early 90s that had never been more fearless on four wheels . The bards praised his speed and his talent for making art sculptures out of cars very early on.

In a country far away in the east, a company with the heavyweight name Fuji Heavy Industries was struggling with its products beyond to make the rising sun famous and coveted. Only Europe hardly noticed the models of the Subaru brand, but with permanent all-wheel drive and boxer engines they offered clear unique selling points. Because the once similarly bland Audi brand made its way to the big boulevards with its Quattros on rally paths, the Japanese also entered the World Rally Championship in 1990 with the English Prodrive team, and Prodrive signed this McRae /p>

Middle class, middle class

Initially, the Subaru Impreza, introduced in autumn 1992, was a four-door sedan like there were countless . Middle class and mediocre. But in the world championship the near-series Group A regulations applied. From all-wheel drive to the rear wing - the gimmicks that weren't already built into the production car were not approved for sports. Subaru built a 5000 series of the Impreza with a two-liter turbo. In Europe, the model with 218 hp came on the market, recognizable by the attached rear wing, fat fog lights and large air scoop on the bonnet. With the rally debut in 1993, demand skyrocketed.

The story got the big boost in November 1995 when the young McRae crowned himself and the brand in WalesRally world champion touched down. Subaru became a cult brand overnight, and the legend also includes the anecdote that the sporty WRX models were at times among the most stolen cars on the British Isles, which is why an immobilizer with a constantly peeping alarm system was built in especially for England. The all-wheel drive was not only popular with thieves. The regulations allowed an improved evolutionary version every twelve months, and so the Japanese regularly added new goods. The wild youth of Japan was hungry for it, and so the riot rifles were also used to make money.

Mitsubishi is fishing for Tommi Mäkinen

Nobody understood this better than another heavy industry company that also sold cars under the Mitsubishi name and went largely unnoticed. This story begins in English rugby, where the Scot Andrew Cowan founded a company called Ralliart after his driving career, which acted as the official works team and pulled the Finn Tommi Mäkinen ashore in 1995.

Mäkinen was the only driver at the time that the great McRae respected, the Finn replaced him as world champion. His sports equipment was also a disdainful notchback box: the Lancer, a sort of Colt with a notchback, nothing to make motorists turn around. But the Lancer, which has been on sale since the end of 1991, already had wings and mighty air inlets for ventilation of a charge air cooler for its World Cup debut in 1992.

Rally victories increase demand

With the rally victories, demand also increased here. In the first evolutionary stages, Mitsubishi limited itself to the production of the required 5,000 copies, with the Evo V it was already 12,000. The proximity to series production became a selling point. Any proud owner could say they drive the same car as Mäkinen. Anyone who dismissed the huge mouth and the increasingly monstrous tail fin as an underclass accessory was taught that this was the genetic code of a winner.

And who didn't want to be like Mäkinen in those years. The Finn has won the Monte Carlo Rally and the World Championship four times. As a result. The sixth stage of his Lancer was also the most successful. With it, Mäkinen gave Mitsubishi the brand name and made itself a monument. What Arnold Schwarzenegger was to action film, Mäkinen was to rallying. Since 1999 he has had the official nickname 'Tomminator'.

Lancer Evo VI in Tommi Mäkinen Edition (TME)

Ludwig Gartenmaier is a rally driver himself. Trophies are piled up in the stairwell at home in Burghausen, Bavaria. He is a Mäkinen fan, went on pilgrimage at least once a year in the 90s to see the Master at work. There was no question that he needed the same type of car. He found his Mitsubishi Lancer, which is temporarily called Carisma in this countryunder the name of four-time German rally champion Hermann Gassner. It was a Lancer built in 2000, one of the last Evo VI examples, of course the Tommi Mäkinen Edition (TME), recognizable by the name embroidered in the Recaro seats with recesses for six-point belts.

Self When new regulations without a series of homologations had long been in force in the World Cup, Mitsubishi stuck to the Group A concept until the FIA ​​motorsport association put a stop to it at the end of 2001. There was a transitional model called Evo 6.5, and based on this, the TME series version also operates unofficially as Lancer Evo 6.5.

600 PS would not have been a problem

Its two-liter turbo received a larger oil cooler for better engine durability, the fog lights otherwise integrated into the apron gave way to larger black gaps for ventilation of the Brembo brake system. The highlight is an inconspicuous switch on the transmission tunnel. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI has a water jet for the intercooler for extra bums. If he had ever been allowed to, as he could, 600 HP would not have been a problem, but in sport a restrictor blocked the air, and in series production the Japanese manufacturers have voluntarily limited themselves to a maximum of 280 HP for decades.

The Subaru Impreza also had that from 1994 in the final WRX STI expansion stage. The rally cars were blue back then, not because they were the colors of the company, but those of the sponsor, the 555 cigarette brand. Consequently, the rally Impreza was also called 555. Even when Subaru lost the sponsor, the blue stayed. The copy that Jens Dralle found was built in 99, from a third English owner, a rusty right-hand drive and an offer that the auto motor und sport editor could not refuse. He transferred almost 5000 euros for a silver copy, but at least got a license plate with three fives.

Turbo with commemorative tenth

It should be a car that offers maximum fun for affordable money, and both legends keep this promise. Even if the Subaru is not quite as powerful, the turbo pushes powerfully after two commemorative tenths. The steering and chassis are agile and precise. If desired, the Impreza can easily be provoked to drift on loose terrain, from which the viscous clutches on the center and rear axle differentials quickly free those who are rushing ahead. Admittedly, the concept of the slightly older Subaru stinks a bit against the Evo. The Lancer is not only optically the device with fewer compromises. The steering is even more direct, the response behavior more spontaneous thanks to the paddle wheel made of light titanium alloy. So much agility and acceleration were once looking for their equal for almost 80,000 marks.

But as it is with evolution, standing still means going backwards. Gartenmaier has 19-inch wheelsand undersized brakes were exchanged for the larger ones from the Evo X, an Öhlins chassis installed instead of the not too durable and hard series dampers from Toyo. And if you are not completely familiar with the nomenclature of the Lancer versions, you will get a reading aid: 'EVO VI' is written in giant letters on the flank.

Pragmatic sports equipment

My colleague Dralle also had a hand. The four-cylinder boxer typical of Subaru was brought to 265 horses by chip tuning. This allows the Subaru Impreza GT Turbo, like its more potent WRX variants, to accelerate to 240 km /h. The boxer could do a great roar, but that is drowned out by the wind noise of the air scoop at higher speeds. In the end, the Evo VI is the bolide with the wicked sound.

The interior of the Lancer, on the other hand, is completely unspectacular, that of the Subaru is almost rustic in its angularity. Dralle calls the charm of agricultural machinery, as if the car was launched at Land Rover and not at Fuji Heavy. The copy that appeared for the photo session is a bit more used and less protected. As a convinced Spartan, the Impreza has to do without air conditioning. To compensate for this, the Lancer lacks new-fangled bells and whistles like an ABS.

Former Subaru Impreza was still a bastard

The former Subaru Impreza was still a bastard that you could and had to kick, as if made for the wild McRae, whose star slowly began to decline as science and electronics made its way into the sport. Instead of hands-on riders, filigree workers were suddenly asked to work at the steering wheel. The Evo VI comes from this time, in which the rear axle already improves steering with torque vectoring and the rear wing can be adjusted by millimeters in order to bring up to 140 Newton downforce to the rear axle.

But it should yes, the encounter in deep Bavaria is not about a comparison test, but about the meeting of two legends. Whether Frodo Baggins, Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter, the really big stories are always about how an inconspicuous and overwhelmed hero grows beyond himself and makes the impossible possible. Seldom in automotive history have grayer mice moved out, and seldom have they come back with as much fame as these two.

That's how much Subaru cost Impreza GT Turbo and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI

The current market prices show a clear tendency towards the aggressive Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI. According to the market watcher Classic Analytics, in good condition it costs around 21,000 euros - compared to 9,500 euros for a Subaru Impreza GT Turbo in the same period. Vehicles with moderate maintenance are hardly recommended if they have been used appropriately. In state 4 there are 6,900 (Lancer Evo VI)or 2,800 euros (Impreza GT Turbo) in the list.

Subaru Impreza wins 29 titles

The Subaru Impreza won three brand world championships and three drivers 'titles (McRae, Burns, Solberg), the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo one brand world championship and four drivers' titles (Mäkinen). Both won the production car world championship for near-series cars in a total of 18 years.

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