Could 77-year-old Ron Billingham be Subaru’s oldest and most loyal Impreza turbo fan? His British car dealer thinks so and with Ron taking delivery of the latest new-shape Impreza WRX STI — his sixth sporty Subaru — there seems every chance he could hold the title.
The sprightly septuagenarian from Reading, who regularly canoes and occasionally cycles, is one of the first new owners of the iconic performance flagship — now with a 300-horsepower “boxer” engine giving a theoretical 249 km/h top speed.
He has previously owned limited edition Imprezas such as the WR1. Other favourites include both 2.0- and 2.5-litre versions of the Impreza WRX — complete with Prodrive Performance Packs, of course, just for that little extra zip.
He has also owned a Legacy 3.0 litre spec.B Sports Tourer but found it lacked the Impreza’s response.
The retired managing director of a furniture design and installation company who has also owned Mercedes-Benz and Porsches said: “I’m no boy racer, mind, but have been in the past.
“The new STI is so much smoother-riding and refined but still goes when you want it to. Your mum could drive it to the shops with no problems yet when you select ‘Super Sharp’ mode it’s like lighting the afterburner.”