High prices and heavy hearts

Armed with the news of escalating values not only for early (and important) Subarus but also for most high-performance motorcars, our motoring man, Iain Robertson, reviews the situation and contemplates a solution that is to everyone’s benefit.

There is an unerring certainty that I was not alone in hearing the news, in mid-June 2017, that an Impreza WRC had been sold at an H&H Auction for an outstanding £235,750. Okay. It was a fairly special machine, being the R&D model developed by Banbury-based Prodrive that marked the transition from the prior Group A competition category into WRC.

Interestingly, the car never joined the Works rally team and had been entered in rallies by a privateer in the Italian Rally Championship, before being sold to an Irish competitor. Following a modest career, it was retired to a barn, until a collector discovered it and requested that Prodrive carry out a full restoration on it.

Despite rust issues and heaps of filler resulting from countless body repairs during its competitive life, the ‘001’ two-door Impreza had retained its original shell, a factor that clearly aided its sky-high value. Of course, an earlier auction result (May 2017) had revealed that the Sheffield-based boxer (how appropriate), Prince Naseem Hamed, had owned a very low-mileage 22B Impreza that sold for £73,125 at Silverstone Auctions.
While not suggesting that sitting on an Impreza is like sitting on a pot of gold, there are some genuine rarities in the market that are now capable of doubling, trebling and earning even more for their owners than may have been thought possible. The same thing applies to Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions and Tommi Makinen examples are already as prized as 22Bs.

It is undoubtedly a fascinating time for collectors and some enthusiasts are now entering the fray and investing the time and funds to either improve what they already own, or to buy into the market. Interestingly, the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth (in RS500 form) is celebrating its thirtieth birthday; even the Escort Cossie is having its 25th anniversary this year. While competition versions (either race, or rally) can command almost ludicrous prices from the collector scene, as almost any car carrying an RS badge does, similar issues arise, when it comes to restoration and upkeep of a potentially valuable runabout…if you even dare to runabout in it!

Naturally, selecting an appropriate ‘agent’, or facility, through which to carry out repairs, rebuilds, maintenance and on-going support is not that difficult and there are plenty of locations around the UK, where you can pay a small fortune, with a slim prospect of gaining a handsome return after the work has been carried out. After all, it is a gamble working with older models, for many of which the spare parts and original equipment are simply no longer available.

Of course, there are owners’ clubs and associations set-up to serve the demand…at a price, usually a hefty premium, albeit an understandable one, as remanufacturing to OE-spec is a remarkable psychological, let alone engineering science in its own right! If a ‘sky’s the limit’ job is what you desire, there are plenty of businesses clamouring for the task, some of which are very good at what they do. However, obtaining the commensurate product knowledge, combined with apposite artisan skills, realistic prices and an open-line of communication between customer and service provider is the only real option and Clinical Performance can satisfy ALL of those parameters.

Because Subaru became its market demanded product bias a few years ago, it is elementary to think that the company that owns ‘Scoobyclinic’ (Grayhart Ltd) might only work on that brand. Yet, its roots are in high-performance motoring, long before Subaru commandeered the headlines. As visitors to The Farm, the characterful location of Clinical Performance, will attest over the years, it was not unusual to spot an Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lotus, or other high-end motorcar either under wraps, or on a ramp, being attended to.

Employing one of the best automotive painters in England in its bustling paint shop, or some of the most efficient mechanics possessing both road and race credentials, or a dedicated team of restoration specialists, as well as engineers, Clinical Performance scarcely needs to boast of its achievements…although its satisfied customers are more than willing to post their social media experiences for a wider world to see.

Naturally, a story such as this is a means to publicise the strengths of Clinical Performance and make its name as easy to roll off the tongue as Scoobyclinic ever did, which is where the company stands at present. As a powerful resource centre for anything automotive from the Orient, its authority has already been stamped. However, opening the doors to Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Porsche and other high-performance models from the rest of the world’s marques is a positive development step for the company and one by which it will thrive and its customers will be immensely satisfied.

Just remember the remit: cost-effective, customer-caring, communicative, competent, controlled and capable; all the Cs for Clinical Performance that you ought to try for yourself.

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