07 April 2022
After being impressed by OttOmobile’s previous Subaru Impreza release, Stephen Paul Hardy finds himself dazzled by its latest.
Following on from OttOmobile’s release last year of Russell Brookes’ Andrews-sponsored Vauxhall Chevette Gr.B from the 1983 RAC Rally (OT370), comes its latest offering that will again be of particular interest to British Rallying fans. Carrying registration plate X20XRT, it models Richard Burns’ WRC Subaru Impreza WRX STI (OT391) in which, on Sunday 25 November 2001, he became the first Englishman to win the World Rally Championship.
As well as being a fabulous model, it is also a rather poignant one in that just four years to the day after winning the WRC, Burns passed away at the age of only 34 years old, from a brain tumour. His untimely death prematurely ended a dramatic career in rallying during which many of his successes had been with the Subaru Rally Team – firstly between 1993 and 1995, then again between 1999 and 2001. Throughout that time, Richard Burns’ co-driver was Robert Reid - a partnership that kicked off in 1991 when they participated in their first WRC rally together.
Instantly recognisable in its yellow livery over metallic blue paintwork with gold wheels, this was the image that inspired a generation of Subaru rally fans - and several generations of road going Imprezas. What I really like about this latest version from OttOmobile is the fact that it is modelled in night-driving mode with a full set of lamp pods kitted out with HELLA lighting, with the distinctive blue and silver logo clearly visible in every light. Whilst perhaps not so romantically charismatic as the traditional bank of auxiliary lighting typical of previous generation rally cars, the pod systems enabled teams to quickly and (reasonably) easily mount/dismount the additional lighting as stages of a rally required. The way that the whole set-up has been modelled is totally consistent with OttOmobile’s track record for quality and finish of detail. In doing so, OttOmobile has delivered a model that not only looks amazing, but portrays a particular era in rallying history fully kitted out for night stages. The model’s hallmark Subaru metallic blue paint is, as we would expect, flawless and has a beautiful depth of sparkle and gloss to it. The overlying Subaru Rally Team and sponsor decals are similarly impressive, all present and authentic - and it comes as a pleasant surprise to be reviewing a model that carries UK registration plates.
Full interior detail includes roll cage, harnesses and fire extinguishers, with the same exacting attention to detail as the modelling of the car's exterior. Surely a Rally or Subaru fan’s ‘must-have’ this model is also a lasting memorial to Richard Burns who, by rights, should have still been with us notching up successes in a career much longer than it was.