The temporary roof rack options on the Impreza are limited to clamp on models that clamp between the door sill and the roof, causing a gap in the seal when the door is closed. On the roof are two rain channels covered with black weatherstripping. I decided to investigate what was under that weatherstipping.
Wanting to carry my mountain bike on my Impreza, I started to look at roof racks made by the big two, Thule, and Yakima. It quickly became apparent that both companies on made a design that would sit on the roof with a pad, and then clamped to the roof, using the door sill clamp, rather than a fixed point mounting system. I decided I needed to research the offshore rack options, and discovered that Rola (www.rola.com.au), an Australian roof rack manufacturer made what appeared to be a set of racks that mounted without the clamps, but I could not locate specific details.
As we all know the roof of the Impreza has two rain water channels with a strip of weather stripping running down them. I had seen on other cars that there were actual rack mounts inside the rain water channels; some even have a flap in the weather stripping that can be flipped open to access the rack mounting points. My next step was to once and for all determine if there were mounting points inside of the rain channels, and the only way to do that would mean removing the black weather stripping. Like most things on the Impreza, moldings are pressed and snapped into place. Once I removed one of the weather strips, I did discover that there are what appear to be two mounting points under in the rain channels.
As you can see from the following images there are two mounting points for something under the weather stripping. The are spaced out about 29 inches apart, and each is approximately 3 inches long. Inspecting each mount they appeared to be securely fasten to the roof, but the fasteners did not appear to be a hard metal.
While it looked promising, after I priced a set of the Rola racks, delivered to the US, I just wanted in the mood to take $400 bet that it would all work, when there were less attractive, but a lot less money alternatives stateside to hauling my bike around.