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The History of Subaru and Colin McRae

“Colin McRae Subaru” are three words that comfortably go together, when you consider the context of rally driving and what our brand achieved through the sport. Colin Steele McRae was a Scottish rally driver who became the first Scot and the youngest person to win the World Rally Championship Drivers’ title in 1995.

Colin McCrae dominated the WRC era in a Subaru

How long did Colin McRae drive for Subaru?

A treasure to many teams, McRae’s run with Subaru was legendary, and extended from 1991 through to 1998. His performances with our very own World Rally Team enabled the team to win the World Rally Championship Manufacturers’ title three times in succession: in 1995, 1996 and 1997.


What Subaru did Colin McRae drive?

The Colin McRae Subaru journey was varied, with him driving a range of the brand’s models and for various teams across his timeframe with Subaru. The impressive line-up looked like this:

1991 — Subaru Rally Team Europe — Subaru Legacy RS

1992 — Subaru Rally Team Europe — Subaru Legacy RS

1993 — Subaru M.S.G. — Subaru Vivio Sedan 4WD

1993 — 555 Subaru World Rally Team — Subaru Legacy RS

1994 — 555 Subaru World Rally Team — Subaru Impreza 555

1995 — 555 Subaru World Rally Team — Subaru Impreza 555

1996 — 555 Subaru World Rally Team — Subaru Impreza 555

1997 — 555 Subaru World Rally Team — Subaru WRC 97

1998 — 555 Subaru World Rally Team — Subaru WRC 98

Subaru 555 Memories

The Colin McRae rally celebrations are incredible pertaining to any win, but Subaru fans will note how his time with Subaru Impreza 555 World Rally Car (WRC) really made waves. The WRC was a supped-up version of the Subaru Impreza road car, and replaced the Subaru Legacy RS in 1993. The car was debuted at the 1993 Rally Finland and won a total of five world rally titles, including three consecutive manufacturers’ titles, and two drivers’ titles.


When it comes to goals, they say you should start as you aim to finish. Consider then that Colin McRae became the Scottish schoolboy motocross champion at the age of thirteen, and reinforced his life’s many accolades with something as prestigious — albeit off the track. Colin McRae was appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1996 for services to motorsports in the Birthday Honours list.


In late 2021, the 1994 Subaru Prodrive 555 Group A World Rally Championship car driven by Colin McRae went to auction by Lloyds Auctioneers. It sold for a staggering $500,000 — believed to be one of the highest prices paid for a rally car. Fun fact! It’s understood the buyers elected to pay for the Subaru with around 7.5 Bitcoins following Lloyd’s decision to accept the cryptocurrency around three months prior.

Subaru Impreza

The Subaru Impreza is no stranger to the rally circuit, but it was 1995 that marked a turnaround for Colin McRae rally’s experience with Subaru. He dominated the season (along with Carlos Sainz), taking victories at the Catalunya Rally, Rally of New Zealand and Portugal Rally. At the last event — the RAC Rally of Great Britain — McRae clinched the Drivers’ World Rally Championship title.

This set the pace for another manufacturers’ championship in 1996 with the 555, but McRae lost the drivers’ championship to Tommi Makinen. An entirely new set of regulations forced Subaru to release the wide-bodied WRC97 for subsequent seasons.

How and when did Colin McRae die?

Sadly, Colin McRae died in a helicopter accident in 2007 near his home. Remembered fondly and with respect by many, another name you might recognise from the hall of racing greats is David Coulthard. In a tribute to Colin, David said that he was “an understated yet fantastically talented individual”.

Colin McRae: 5 August 1968 — 15 September 2007.

If you would like to know more about the Subaru WRX, WRX STI, or any of our lauded models and what Confidence In Motion means to us, call us on +27 11 608 0116 or email info@subaru.co.za. Alternatively, why not get behind the wheel yourself by locating your nearest dealership and booking your test drive today.

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