The Subaru Impreza 22B Is a Celebration of World Rally Dominance

Car Culture 0 November 7, 2018 by

We got a sneak peek at the Subaru 22B coming to GT Sport at the FIA Nations Cup Asia-Oceania Finals. Now with the release of v1.29, we are getting the opportunity to check it out in the game. But what about the real thing? For this week’s Want, we are diving into one of the rarest Subarus around.

The story of the 22B begins in 1995. During that World Rally Championship season, Colin McRae tore up the standings. He earned an overall championship and Subaru came away with the manufacturers’ title.

The following two seasons were slightly less successful for McRae. He had to settle for second place overall in both ’96 and ’97. However, with his efforts and those of his teammates, Subaru still claimed the manufacturers’ title.

It was an accomplishment worth celebrating for Subaru. However, this wasn’t the only milestone for the company. 1998 also marked the 40th anniversary for the Pleiades brand as well.

With the intersection of these two events, Subaru needed its pièce de résistance. Cue the 22B.

In short, the 22B was essentially a rally car for the road. However, not in the way of the homologation cars of Group B. Instead, it took the best from the street car and mixed it with a healthy dose of racing technology.

The look was nearly the same as the rally version, just sans the 555 livery. It had the bulging fenders, huge rear spoiler, and a coat of legendary 74F blue paint to look the part. But to spruce it up a bit, Subaru added in a set of gold BBS wheels that made the car look perfect.

The 22B was more than just looks too. It also had plenty of power to back it up thanks to the EJ22 turbo flat-four under the bonnet. At 2.2-liters it was one of the largest engines fitted to an Impreza at the time.

Thanks to the extra displacement, the 22B put down 276hp — at least officially. Like many Japanese cars of the day, it fell under the “Gentleman’s Agreement”. Unofficially, the number is over 300 ponies, but there’s no real consensus.

With all that power and its light weight, the 22B was a rocket ship. Just how much is a bit of a mystery though. Times for 0-60mph are all over the board since Subaru never officially listed one. On the low end, it was somewhere around 3.9 seconds and on the high side, about 4.7 seconds. Either way, incredibly quick.

In addition to all that power, the 22B had a trick differential as well. Lifted more or less off the rally car, the driver could transfer power around as they saw fit. Couple that with the purpose-built Bilstein suspension and it ate up mountain roads.

Unfortunately, Subaru only made 424 22Bs during the 1998 model year. 400 of those stayed in Japan, while 16 went to the UK, five to Australia and three were prototypes. Due to this one coming up for sale is fairly uncommon and when they do, they come with a serious price tag.

This is where we find this example for sale by JDM Expo in Aichi, Japan.

According to the listing its car number 392 of the 400 in the country. It’s also a fairly well-loved example too with 56,940km (35,380 miles) on the clock.

There are a few unfortunate things about the car though, the main one being that it’s modified. Thankfully they aren’t over the top mods though and include things like an exhaust system and upgraded sound system.

The worst modification though is the wheels. For whatever reason, the owner of this car swapped the iconic gold BBS wheels with a set of OZ Racing Superturismo LM wheels. While not bad wheels by any means, it does take away a bit of the luster.

Thankfully, all the modifications are very reversible for anyone looking to make it original again.

Due to its rarity, the price tag is pretty steep at $115,000 plus the cost of shipping it from Japan. But considering this is the ultimate Impreza it might just be worth it for a super fan.

You can check out the video below to see it in action:

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