COULD 77-year-old Ron Billingham be Subaru’s oldest and most loyal Impreza turbo fan? Berkshire dealer Bulldog of Twyford thinks so, and with Ron taking delivery of the latest new-shape Impreza WRX STI Type UK – his sixth sporty Subaru – there seems every chance he could hold the title.
The sprightly septuagenarian who regularly canoes and occasionally cycles is one of the first new owners of the iconic performance flagship – now with a 300bhp ‘boxer’ engine giving a theoretical 155mph top speed and 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds.
He has previously owned limited edition Imprezas such as the ‘WR1’ and last year’s ‘RB320’ in memory of the late rally ace Richard Burns, also from Reading like Ron.
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.’
Bulldog Twyford sales manager Gary Moores said: ‘Ron is very knowledgeable about Subarus and a pleasure to deal with. He is an inspiration to us all.’