10,000th WRX STI buyer goes for a joyride with Molly Taylor

Subaru Impreza WRX and STI range from MY97 to MY06.

Aussie rally ace, Molly Taylor, has given Australia’s 10,000th WRX STI buyer, Bradley McManus a hot lap in her WRX…on dirt.

Australia has had a love affair with the WRX since 1994 but we wouldn’t see an STI variant until the limited-to-425 worldwide STI 22B was revealed at the Sydney Motor Show in 1998 (only five came to Australia). Australians went mad for the thing.

Subaru WRX STI 22B

Such was the pressure on Subaru that it relented and the following year released a limited run of 400 two-door WRX STI variants. They could only be had in WR Blue or White with gold wheels and they made 206kW.

But the interest was huge and with those beasties selling out almost instantly, and remember, the internet wasn’t really a thing at this time, Subaru decided to release another 400 WRX STI models but this time they were four-door variants, available in blue steel mica or white, with gold 16-inch six-spoke alloys, suede seat inserts and STI performance upgrades

The WRX STI became a permanent fixture from 2001 with the second generation WRX. And the third-gen variant launched in 2008, and added a second variant to the STI range, the spec.R. The WRX STI is currently in its fourth-generation and we’re eagerly awaiting news of the fifth-gen car.

Australians have now snapped up 10,000 WRX STI variants with Bradley McManus the buyer of the 10,000th car. Mr McManus was unaware of the momentous occasion until he arrived to take delivery of his STI and found it toting an extra $5000 worth of goodies, a five-year service plan and an invitation to go for a spin with Subaru Ambassador and former Australian Rally Champion, Molly Taylor, around a rally stage near Canberra.

Subaru Australia General Manager, Blair Read, said: “WRX STI really is the essence of Subaru performance and arguably the ultimate expression of race on Sunday, sell on Monday. Those iconic blue and gold colours along with champion names Possum Bourne and Colin McRae, win performance car lovers hearts to this day.  

“It’s the pinnacle of our performance range, combining exhilarating power with pure control.  A complete package – and it’s an absolute thrill to drive.

 “STI’s eternal appeal is demonstrated by the record-breaking sales success of the current generation, which at over 5,000 and counting makes it the best-selling yet.”  

Australian WRX STI key dates:

  • 1998 – Impreza WRX 22B STI on sale.
  • 1999 – One-off production run of 400 limited edition Impreza WRX STI two-door coupes, followed by 400 limited edition four-door Impreza WRX STI sedans.
  • 2001 – The STI variant became an ongoing part of the Impreza WRX range, on launch of the second generation.
  • 2008 – Third generation Impreza WRX STI launched, offering a second choice in the range, with both entry-level and spec.R variants.
  • 2014 – Fourth generation WRX STI launched, for the first time offering the rear spoiler as a delete option and subtly dropping the Impreza nameplate.
  • 2020 – 10,000th WRX STI sold in Australia.

WRX STI Australian Rally Championship titles:  

  • 1996 Possum Bourne and Craig Vincent
  • 1997 Possum Bourne and Craig Vincent
  • 1998 Possum Bourne and Craig Vincent
  • 1999 Possum Bourne and Craig Vincent
  • 2000 Possum Bourne and Mark Stacey
  • 2001 Possum Bourne and Craig Vincent
  • 2002 Possum Bourne and Mark Stacey
  • 2003 Cody Crocker and Greg Foletta
  • 2004 Cody Crocker and Greg Foletta
  • 2005 Cody Crocker and Dale Moscatt
  • 2016 Molly Taylor and Bill Hayes

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.