2004 Subaru Impreza WR1

24 Rarest Subaru Models You’ll Never See in Real Life

Subaru is one of Japan’s most charismatic and diverse manufacturers. The company has produced everything from SUVs to family and sports cars. It also has a rich history in motorsport, winning multiple world rally championships.

Subaru has also produced its fair share of quirky and curious vehicles throughout history. In this list, we will explore 24 of these, many of which are either rare now or produced initially in low volumes. 

Some have become real collector’s items in 2024, whereas others are unusual and unique.

Subaru SVX

Subaru SVX
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

One of the coolest of all Subarus is the SVX. This two-door, front-engine coupe spanned a single generation from 1991 to 1996. It superseded the aviation-influenced XT range, and as such, it sported aircraft-inspired ‘window-within-a-window’ side-glass configuration. It played a significant role in Subaru’s history, becoming their first-ever luxury and performance car, part of that thanks to the 3.3-liter H6 engine under the hood.

Subaru XT

1987 Subaru XT
Image Credit: Dogs.barking.duster.rolling/WikiCommons.

The XT is one of the most remarkable-looking cars Subaru has produced. When introduced in 1985, it was the most aerodynamic car on the US market, and aviation influences played a big part in its design. The wedge shape provided a low drag coefficient, and the digital dash was another aviation-inspired influence. That influence even extended to the joystick-shaped gear shifter.

Subaru Brat

Subaru BRAT
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Brat marked one of Subaru’s first real forays into the utility and pickup truck segment. The Brat is an ute-like compact pickup, with the company utilizing the Subaru Leone station wagon chassis as its platform. The Brat was only produced in the United States from 1978 to 1987, and under the hood was a 1.6-liter EA71 OHV H4 engine.

Subaru FF-1

Subaru FF-1
Image Credit: TTTNIS – Own work, CC0/WikiCommons.

The FF-1 was the first front-wheel drive car out of Japan and Subaru’s first car to use its four-cylinder Boxer engine. Produced from 1969 to 1972, the FF-1 came in two-door, four-door, and wagon forms, with the 1.1-liter EA-61 engine producing 65 hp and 61 lb-ft of torque. They are one of the rarest Subarus ever with such a short production run.

Subaru 360

Subaru 360
Image Credit: WikiCommons.

The Subaru 360 hit the scene in 1958, but reaching American soil took over a decade. A small, two-cylinder, two-stroke engine with 22 horsepower sits under the hood, and it achieved a staggering 66.3 MPG combined. Subaru sold just 10,000 examples in the United States, and this cute little runabout has become a real collector’s car.

Subaru Impreza Casa Blanca

Subaru Impreza Casa Blanca
Image Credit: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/WikiCommons.

The Casa Blanca would certainly not win any beauty contests. Based on the 1999-2000 Impreza, the Casa Blanca was part of a retro car craze in Japan during the early 2000s. While the front looks okay, the rest of the design lets the Casa Blanca down severely. Subaru would produce just 5,000 Casa Blancas, making this ugly duckling a real rarity.

Subaru Impreza S6 WRC

Subaru Impreza S6 WRC
Image Credit: Jaimie Wilson/Flickr.

The Impreza S6 WRC was a car driven by the late Richard Burns, and one chassis in particular shot to fame in 2021. The car would sell for over $600,000, with the specific car winning the 2000 Rally GB in the hands of Burns. It is a remarkable vehicle, made rarer thanks to the original paintwork on its body.

Subaru STI E-RA Concept

Subaru STI E-RA Concept
Image Credit: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/WikiCommons.

Subaru took the covers off this remarkable concept at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon, and the STI E-RA is easily one of its most radical concepts. Looking like a cross between a supercar and a Le Mans LMP1 racer, Subaru built the 1,072 hp EV to set a new lap record around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Four 268 hp electric motors form the powertrain, and Subaru hopes to set a time of around 6 minutes 40 seconds around the track.

Subaru FE Coupe

Subaru FE Coupe
Image Credit: Subaru.

The FE Coupe was all about efficiency. The coupe could average 50 MPG on the highway and 33 MPH in the city, thanks to the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. It only produced 67 hp, but the lightness of the car aided its performance, and spotting one in the wild in 2024 is an increasingly rare sight.

2021 Subaru BRZ GT300

2021 Subaru BRZ GT300
Image Credit: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/WikiCommons.

The BRZ GT300 was the car Subaru chose to enter Japan’s premier GT racing category, Super GT. The EJ20 received tuning to produce 300 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, and various aerodynamic upgrades added all the downforce required. Subaru upgraded the car in 2021, which would finally bring home a Super GT championship for the manufacturer.

Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B

Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B
Image Credit: tomyparkk/Flickr.

The spec. B Legacy had a short production run from 2006-2009, and it was a higher performance-based version of the Legacy GT. A turbocharged 2.5-liter engine produced 243 hp and 241 lb-ft of torque, with Subaru producing only 1,000 units. There were further upgrades over the Legacy GT, such as the Momo steering wheel, six-speed manual transmission, and a DVD-based navigation system. 

Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C Type RA-R

Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C Type RA-R
Image Credit: Ray Penber/Flickr.

One of the rarest forms of Impreza, Subaru produced just 300 units of this car in 2006. Under the hood is a 320 hp and 318 lb-ft of torque engine, and it is an even rarer Impreza than the very special 22B. The comically long name belies that the Type RA-R was a monster Impreza.

2005 Subaru Forester STI

2005 Subaru Forester STI
Image Credit: Grant C./Flickr.

Large, performance-based SUVs are rare, and the Forester STI is one of the exclusive members of this club. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter turbocharged Boxer-four engine with 265 horsepower and 278 pounds of torque. The STIs came with an upgraded six-speed manual transmission, and the 0-60 mph time was an impressive 5.2 seconds. 

1996 Subaru Impreza Series McRae

1996 Subaru Impreza Series McRae
Image Credit: Andrew 2.8i/Flickr.

Subaru won its first WRC title with Collin McRae behind the wheel in 1996. The manufacturer produced a limited edition run of the Impreza, the Series McRae, to commemorate this. This 200-unit run was available only in the UK, with the EJ20 boxer engine under the hood producing 207 hp. The Series McRae also featured open-headrest Recaro seats.

1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi

1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
Image Credit: MrWalkr – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/WikiCommons.

The 22B STi is one of the most recognizable versions of the Impreza. The model was a 40th-anniversary celebration special edition, with Subaru producing just 400 units. The Boxer engine under the hood produced 276 hp, and it came with a fantastic five-speed manual transmission. When these crop up for sale, it is not unheard of for them to sell for six figures.

2000 Subaru Impreza P1

2000 Subaru Impreza P1
Image Credit: Andy Chetwyn/Flickr.

The Impreza P1 was another rare, UK-only version of the famous sports car. The P1 stands for Prodrive One, with just 1000 units produced in 2000. The Impreza P1 provided a big jump in performance over the base Impreza, with 276 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque on offer. The P1 was unique in that it featured AWD but was not symmetrical. The P1 uses a 60/40 split with a front-wheel-heavy layout.

2003 Subaru B9 Scrambler Concept

2003 Subaru B9 Scrambler Concept
Image Credit: 160SX (talk), CC BY-SA 3.0/WikiCommons.

Subaru unveiled the quirky-looking B9 Scrambler Concept at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show. The idea was to create an environmentally friendly roadster powered by a 2.0-liter SOHC flat-four combustion engine. Batteries boosted the engine’s performance, and the engine would provide additional control when needed and produce regenerative power for the batteries. 

2001 Subaru HM-01 Concept

2001 Subaru HM-01 Concept
Image Credit: CONCEPT CAR/Youtube.

The HM01 is undoubtedly not a beauty, but it was certainly an unusual concept. A small, four-cylinder 658 cc engine sits under the hood, with 43 hp and 43 lb-ft of torque. However, the HM-01 was also a hybrid, the power boosted by a 42-volt electric motor. The four-cylinder engine provided power for the front wheels, with the electric motor providing it to the rear wheels. 

1999 Subaru Fleet X

1999 Subaru Fleet X
Image Credit: oldconceptcars.

Subaru took the covers off the Fleet X at the 1999 Tokyo Auto Show. The aim was to create a “grand touring wagon for the 21st century” that was as light as possible. The composition of steel and light alloy panels formed its construction, and it weighed around 30 percent less than the Legacy wagon and had 40 percent better average fuel economy. A 16-valve naturally aspirated engine produced 180 hp at 6,800 RPM and 144 lb/ft of torque at 5,600 rpm, but sadly, this promising wagon never made it to production.

2003 Subaru R1e

2003 Subaru R1e
Image Credit: Eddie Phạm/Flickr.

The Subaru R1e was a quirky, cute little concept vehicle designed for ease-of-parking urban use. However, Subaru also intended the car to have sportier connotations, although the small electric powertrain didn’t complement that philosophy. The R1e was incredibly light, but a range of just 50 miles and a top speed of 65 mph greatly limited its potential. 

2019 Subaru WRX STI S209

2019 Subaru WRX STI S209
Image Credit: rwcar4/Flickr.

The WRX STI relieved some in America, finally bringing an S-line WRX STI to the market. Under the hood was a 2.5-liter EH25 turbocharged Boxer four engine with 341 horsepower and a max turbo boost of 18 PSI. The aerodynamic changes, such as the front splitter and rear spoiler, boosted the appearance, making the S209 a very aggressive-looking car. 

Subaru B9 Tribeca

Subaru B9 Tribeca
Image Credit: IFCAR – Own work, Public Domain/WikiCommons.

While Subaru produced the Tribeca from 2005 to 2014, they are becoming increasingly rare sights in the wild. The controversial styling and poor-performing EZ30 and EZ36 H6 engines played a part in this, and production eventually concluded due to poor sales in 2013. In its final year of production, Subaru sold just 732 Tribecas.

Subaru Baja

Subaru Baja
Image Credit: r Mr.choppers/WikiCommons.

The Subaru Baja, produced from 2002 to 2006, is a real rarity. The Baja was a combination of a regular passenger car and a small pickup truck, with various 2.5-liter H4 engines under the hood. Subaru had hoped to sell 24,000 per year. However, it could only shift 30,000 units over the four-year production run.

2004 Subaru Impreza W1

2004 Subaru Impreza WR1
Image Credit: collecting cars.

The 2004 Impreza W1 tribute celebrated Petter Solberg’s 2003 World Rally Championship victory. The manufacturer limited production to just 500 units, and it was easily recognizable from other Imprezas thanks to its new Ice Blue Metallic paint plus driving lamps and a stainless steel mesh grille.

Henry Kelsall

Author: Henry Kelsall

Title: Writer

Bio:

Henry has freelanced for over eight years now, mostly in automotive matters, but he has also dabbled in other forms of writing too. He has a lot of love for Japanese classics and American muscle cars, in particular the Honda NSX and first-generation Ford Mustang. When not writing, Henry is often found at classic car events or watching motorsports at home, but he also has a curious passion for steam trains.

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