Ron Billingham wants to change my opinion retirees driving cars. The 77-year-old is being called "Subaru's oldest and most loyal Impreza turbo fan," and has just purchased a WRX STI Type UK.
Not to sound ageist, but I tend to get a little nervous when I see someone over the age of 70 in line for their driver's license. Maybe there are some scars from my past I have not dealt with. Maybe I have covered too many stories about accidents involving confused seniors. South Park did an episode on this, called "Grey Dawn", where the licenses of everyone over 70 are pulled after a string of "senior moments" lead to the deaths of many of the town's citizens.
Ron Billingham wants to change my opinion about all that. The 77-year-old is being called "Subaru's oldest and most loyal Impreza turbo fan." The septuagenarian has just bought himself a Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type UK.
Some might be inclined to feel a little nervous about Billingham being behind the wheel of a car with a 4.8 second 0-60mph time. To put us at ease, one Subaru publicist tells me that Mr. Billingham has never been caught by a speeding camera.
But has Billingham ever gotten a ticket for going too slow? Or for plowing through a farmers' market? That's what I want to know.
Billingham, a retiree and car enthusiast, said, "I'm no boy racer, mind, but have been in the past." He stuck with the new STI mainly because he thinks the ride is smooth and comfortable, and it is relatively low maintenance. He has owned six other Subarus, including the Impreza WR1, and the RB320. His Type UK edition gets 296 horsepower and has a top speed of 155 mph. Soon his STI will be outfitted with 18" wheels and tires. Billingham will purchase the Prodrive Performance Pack for the Type UK if it becomes available.
"Your mum could drive it to the shops with no problems yet when you select ‘Super Sharp’ mode it’s like lighting the afterburner.”
Let's hope he remembers not to light the afterburner and drive straight into a 7-11.