Plain Jane Pocket Rocket: 41k-Mile 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX 5-Speed

  • March 08, 2021
The Rundown
  • 41,300 Original Miles
  • EJ20 Turbo 4-Cylinder Engine (227hp & 217 lb-ft Torque)
  • 3,085 lb. Curb Weight
  • Unmodified Stock Example
  • Rust-Free
  • Fog Lamps & Rear Spoiler
Why We Like It

It feels strange to say that this simple silver sports sedan from Japan is rare. As an 18-year-old, it has finally earned the right to play grown-up and earn a seat at the table of the modern classics. This one is unique, though, because it hasn’t been ruined. A minority of people are waking up to the fact that driving has been dumbed down these days, and they’re rewinding their clocks to the millennium era from which this car hails. Spartan was always Subaru’s schtick, but simplicity can be a desirable trait. When the World Rally Experimental (WRX) landed on the scene, it lit a fuse under the asses of many unsuspecting enthusiasts, winning them over with a rowdy turbocharged flat-four and full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive. It may be more tinny than German offerings, but it’s significantly stiffer and more solid than the prior Impreza it replaced, which makes it capable of taking extensive modifications and the resulting abuse caused by them. For many shoppers, the sub-$25k sticker price just sweetened the deal. Looking back, it started a trend that continues to soldier on. The flared fenders, hood scoop, and wing-equipped Subies still remain a strong value proposition in the market.

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plain-jane-pocket-rocket-41k-mile-2003-subaru-impreza-wrx-5-speed00T0T jzHL2EWw7iCz 0jm0ex 1200x900The “bugeye” headlights on our silver subject car signal the pre-facelift era, while the rally style fog lamps almost match the headlights in size, with some owners opting for yellow lenses to differentiate themselves. The only modification noted on this example is the ‘06 Impreza wheels wrapped in some recent BF-Gs. They wouldn’t be our first choice, but they don’t scream inauthentic either, and they’ll be the perfect placeholder until you find some originals. When you only have to reverse ONE mod, the bar is set too low not to take care of it. If these cars weren’t so difficult to find stock it may be a different story. The interior seems to be in great shape, with the front bucket seats looking relatively sturdy compared to your average Impreza, the bolsters are notoriously squashable and the fabric thin wearing (it may be because most of them have 200k miles at this point?). The options list looks good, nothing else you would want and nothing you don’t need. Under the hood, that engine bay is pretty filthy, but it doesn’t look like a greasy gaudy dealer detail either. Some will say you don’t need to do the timing belt and water pump until 105k, but the owner’s manual also mentions 105 months. If it hasn’t been done, it’s already served double it’s time, set it free!

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Valuation Verdict

The market hasn’t exactly started seeing these as collector cars, however, the lowest mileage, cleanest, and least modified examples are starting to fetch more money than ever at auction. The driver condition cars are still trading hands as heavily as before and almost as frequently as the engine swaps. Hagerty’s #2 “excellent” price is $17,800 and a #3 is $12,500, while calling this car a 2+ seems fair. A year and a half ago, this car’s twin sold on Bring a Trailer and brought more $ but also had a quarter of the miles! Values have nudged up slightly since then, so we’ll take that into account and call this one close enough to fair market. We hope whoever takes it home keeps it tidy, original, and exercises it often!

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