Monday, June 2, 2014

The End of an Era

After delays in shipping and a boat-load of patience, June got off to a great start!  The arrival of a 2015 WRX Base Model and a WRX STI Launch Edition at my dealership cured whatever "Case of the Mondays" you could've had.  Sure we've seen pictures.  Sure they've been out for a little while, but it's still exciting seeing these cars in the flesh.  It'll be my first chance to drive a new WRX with the 6-speed Manual instead of the Sport Lineartronic that we got to drive back in April, so I'm excited about that car too... but there's just something special about the Launch Edition.  It's not just the first and last WRX we'll get like this... it's the end of an Era for Subaru, which is hard to believe after two decades of Gold and Blue.

It's true.  When you water it all down, it's a Blue STI with Gold factory BBS Wheels.  You could get a base model WRX, get an STI wing, and get some aftermarket Gold Wheels and do the same thing for looks.  Sure, you'd miss out on the Blue/Black interior, but most people aren't really worried about that anyways.  To me, the car is more symbolic... not only being a limited release, but also the end of an era.  This car represents Subaru cutting the "Blue car with Gold Wheels" iconography out of the brand due to it's roots.

Ask any Subaru owner what Gold Wheels on a Blue car means and you'll get something to the tune of "Subaru's World Rally Team", "Colin McRae", "World Rally Championship", or any other rally heritage.  I have yet to talk to someone who says "Cigarettes", but that's exactly the reason why Subaru has made the Launch Edition STI the last car they'll make with this kind of livery.  The colors that made Subaru's World Rally Team famous are rooted in Benson & Hedges 555 Cigarette sponsorship.

Subaru continued to use the Blue and Gold livery on everything up until about 2013, when even David Higgins' WRX STI switched over to a Blue/White/Gray look.  Travis Pastrana, Bucky Lasek, Sverre Isachsen, they've all got Subarus... but the Blue and Gold has been done away with.  As a result, these Launch Edition WRX STIs are more than a pretty car with a pricey window sticker to me.  It's the last hurrah of the rally-bred heritage that the WRX is built on.  To me, the idea that "we need to get rid of Blue and Gold because of Cigarettes" is a poor excuse to rid this car of that classic livery.  After 20 years, those colors don't stand for an ancient brand of cigarettes... they stand for the history that the Subaru rally teams forged on the dirt, gravel, and tarmac all over the world.

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