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This classic Subaru S5 WRC could fetch £380,000 at auction

Big money, for sure, but also a bona fide (and utterly brilliant) rally car that just happens to be wearing Colin McRae’s old number plate

Published: 31 Jan 2023

Hey, remember when personalised number plates were a big thing? We never really got on board – possibly due to the industrial-strength stupidity of some of the combinations or just the fact that splashing money on a registration plate felt like a colossal chunk of money that we could more entertainingly waste on other things.

But there is, as there often is with hard and fast rules, an exception.

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P2 WRC is our kind of number plate. It’s not trying to wrangle a number 5 into an S, which is lovely. It’s short and to the point, spelling out what it is and what it does, which beats anything convoluted any day of the week. Oh, and the small matter that it was Colin McRae’s own number plate, and just happens to be attached to the exact kind of car that made him – and indeed the Subaru Impreza – a household name.

In true ‘If in doubt, flat out’ fashion, the original car that wore the P2 WRC plate was binned pretty comprehensively at the 1997 Monte Carlo Rally, finding a fairly stout tree that appeared to have no qualms about snapping the Subaru’s rear suspension. To Colin’s credit, it was his first race with an all-new car – at a rally that he was apparently not a huge fan of – and it was a matter of being just a tiny bit off line in an icy corner.

In any case, the number plate found itself on a broadly identical Subaru S5 WRC and used by various privateers around Europe. It delivered back to back wins in the Hungarian Rally Championship for the Mol Rallye Team in the late Nineties, and stayed in the fray until 2007. After eight years in storage, it returned for the odd rally win (the 2016 and 2017 Wethersfield Stages Rally, in case you’re curious) before undergoing a full engine and gearbox rebuild, RHD conversion (for its intended use in Irish rallies, apparently) and race prep.

So what’s on offer here is a race-ready Subaru rally car with proper history in its own right, wearing a bona fide link to a time when Subaru rally cars were a really big thing. And when a ‘VIP I’ personalised number plate sells for £285,000 by itself, does the £380,000 that Silverstone Auctions expects P2 WRC to fetch at the Race Retro Classic and Competition Car Sale not seem like something of a deal, considering you get a Subaru S5 WRC included in the bargain?

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