Part of World Rally Championship history and estimated at between £120,000 to £140,000
Intense bidding expected at the Silverstone Auctions Race Retro Competition Car Sale on 23rd February
A formidable 1993 Subaru Legacy RS Group A rally car driven by Ari Vatanen and Richard Burns is one the first consignments for the Silverstone Auctions Race Retro Competition Car Sale.
Registration: K555 BAT
Chassis Number: BC5019283
Engine Number: EJ2093PD07
Number of cylinders: 4
Year of Manufacture: 1993
RHD/LHD: Left Hand Drive
The ex-Prodrive model is up for auction on Friday 23rd February at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire as part of Race Retro, considered to be one of Europe’s premier historic motorsport weekends.
Unmistakable in its blue and yellow bodywork, ‘K 555 BAT’ was leading the 1993 Acropolis Rally in the hands of Vatanen, ahead of the likes of similarly world-famous rally racers Tommi Makinen, Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae.
Meanwhile, Burns raced it to a second-place finish at the 1995 Bettega Memorial Rallysprint in Italy.
In 2008 the Richard Burns Collection acquired the car and commissioned Subaru rally specialists Autosportif Engineering Ltd to return it to its original guise.
The process was overseen by ex-Prodrive guru Ian Richardson, whose specialist knowledge and original technical drawings meant that a brand new, authentic Prodrive-spec Legacy shell was made.
However, it retains many of its original mechanical components, its correct chassis ID plate and evocative number plate. It also boasts the correct ‘works’ engine, 6-speed gearbox and suspension set-up.
Joe Watts, classic car specialist at Silverstone Auctions, said: “We’re thrilled that this Subaru Legacy RS Group A rally car driven by Ari Vatanen and Richard Burns among others is now available for new ownership via Silverstone Auctions at our Race Retro Competition Car Sale.”
“Vatanen and Burns are among rally motorsport’s pantheon of all-time greats, so we expect some intense bidding when it goes under the hammer.”
As a World Rally Championship 'Group A' rally car, the Subaru Legacy RS was in use during the formative years of the famous Subaru World Rally Team, from 1990 until the début of the Impreza '555' in 1993. The Legacy was the first Subaru rally car to utilise the flat-4 'Boxer' engine and came to prominence after Subaru’s motorsport department (STI - Subaru Tecnica International) moved its base from Japan to England, with David Richard’s 'Prodrive’ taking Subaru to new heights within international rallying.
The Legacy RS was developed during 1989 and homologated in January 1990 in accordance with the current Group A regulations. The 2.0-litre turbo engine produced circa 290bhp and 392 Nm of torque with all that power and torque being distributed to all four wheels through an 'X-Trac' manual gearbox and subsequently through a viscous coupling centre differential and limited slip front/rear differentials.
The Legacy’s rallying career started strongly, with its maiden podium coming in 1991 at the Swedish Rally, where Markku Alen finished in third place. Ari Vatanen and Colin McRae debuted with Subaru Rally Team Europe’s Legacy at the 1991 Lombard RAC Rally, with Vatanen finishing in fifth place and McRae crashing out. 1991 saw the 23-year-old McRae capture the British Rally Championship title driving a Legacy RS, scoring four BRC wins during the year and securing his first British title.
In the 1992 Championship, Subaru Rally Team participated in only seven of the fourteen rounds, preferring to demonstrate the car's ability on gravel, however, Vatanen and McRae were signed up as full-time drivers. Wearing its now distinctive blue and yellow colour scheme, along with a new title sponsor, State Express 555, the all-new Impreza 555 was almost ready to enter competition when the Legacy RS finally scored its first and only WRC victory. It was in August 1993 at Rally New Zealand, where McRae managed to hold back Ford’s Francois Delecour. It wasn’t only the first WRC win for the outgoing car but also the first ever WRC win for the future world champion who went on to become one of the most popular rally drivers ever.
During its competitive career from 1990 to 1993, the Legacy RS scored one victory and five WRC podiums but, here at home, won three consecutive British Rally Championship titles driven by Colin McRae and Richard Burns, setting a foundation for one of the most extraordinary stories in the history of the WRC.
‘K555 BAT’ really is a part of this amazing Subaru rallying story and has a fascinating history. In 1993, as the latest specification works entry, it was leading the Acropolis Rally driven by Ari Vatanen, ahead of Tommi Makinen, Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol, Colin McRae and Juha Kankkunen, but on Special Stage 21, it was crashed and badly damaged. After the rally, it returned to Prodrive and was re-shelled in-house before being sold to the Italian team ‘Procar’ and was subsequently driven by Trelles, Navarra and Liatti. Whilst in Italy it was also driven by Richard Burns at the 1995 Bettega Memorial Rallysprint, achieving a second place overall.
In 2000, the car was purchased by Hugh Dunne and returned to the UK to be used on the IRC. Following this, it was sold to Alastair Cavenagh who in 2001 oversaw its re-shell again, this time into a new 'Safari-spec' Impreza shell (not uncommon for Legacys), with the work carried out by Subaru rally specialists ‘Autosportif Engineering Ltd.’ of Bicester. In 2008, the car was acquired by the Richard Burns Collection who commissioned Autosportif to completely rebuild the car and return it to its original guise. This process was overseen by ex-Prodrive man Ian Richardson, who was able to call upon all his specialist knowledge and the original technical drawings to produce a brand new, authentic Prodrive-spec Legacy shell for the car.
The very special car, retaining its correct chassis ID plate (PRO/STI/01.112 Type: BC5019283) plus its famous and evocative original number-plate, has a continuous owner/rebuild history and is today presented in the same gravel specification and livery as per the 1993 Acropolis Rally, utilising the correct ECU, many original mechanical components, and the correct 'Works' engine, 6-speed gearbox and suspension set-up. This formidable machine has only covered approximately 100 kilometres since this exacting rebuild and would make a worthy addition to any collection.