Subaru Impreza 22B-STI #29 of 400
ADVERT ID: 44943
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Subaru Impreza 22B-STI #29 of 400 – The incredibly special and coveted Impreza 22B-STI, bespoke, rare and hugely capable; #29 of 400 coming from a 23-year family ownership and in simply outstanding condition.
Built to celebrate both the marque’s 40th anniversary and its third straight WRC manufacturers’ title, the ’22B STI’ (Subaru Tecnica International) was billed as the production version of Subaru’s already iconic two-door World Rally Car. With its beefy front and rear arches increasing width by 80mm, a high-rise rear spoiler and the unique EJ22 engine, the 22B was as close to Colin McRae’s rally car as any mortal was ever going to get. It wasn’t so much an homologation special but more of a road-going replica.
Often misunderstood, the 22B in the model’s name is derived from the car’s ‘555’ WRC sponsorship. Five hundred and fifty-five is 22B in hexadecimal, the number base used in computer programming. At the time, the IT world was booming and the Impreza was the icon car for successful IT contractors in both the UK and Japan alike. ’22B’ is often incorrectly attributed to the engine capacity, which was increased from 1,994cc to 2,212cc. The ‘B’, meanwhile, supposedly stood for Bilstein, the damper supplier. Whichever way you look at it, Subaru created a truly fabulous machine.
Only 399 22Bs were built (officially billed as 400, but there wasn’t a #013) for sale to the domestic market. They pre-sold within 48 hours in early 1998, costing a shade under £40,000 at the time. A further 24 examples were built/allocated for overseas markets; Subaru UK officially imported just 16 22Bs, passing them on to Prodrive for modification, becoming ‘Type-UK’ cars. Another three 22Bs, known to have been issued with the ‘#000’ numbers, went on to belong to Dave Richards (of Prodrive), Colin McRae – an example Iconic Auctioneers sold in 2023 for £480,500 – not a Type-UK car interestingly, and Nicky Grist.
The 22B engine wasn’t simply a standard 2-litre bored out to 2.2-litre; the specially developed EJ22-engine was built around a separate casting with unique forged pistons. In addition to its EJ22 power unit, the 22B boasts a seam-welded bodyshell (supposedly identical in shape to the WRC cars), special gearing, a twin-plate racing clutch, strengthened drive/prop shafts, driver-adjustable front/rear diff and bigger brakes. The suspension utilised unique forged-aluminium lower links, rose-joined transverse links, inverted Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs, plus a fetching set of Gold 17” BBS alloy wheels.
Theoretically, Subaru were upholding their end of the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ between all Japanese car manufacturers including Toyota, Nissan, Subaru and Mitsubishi to limit all JDM production cars to 280bhp and 180kph in order to reduce road fatalities. However, as so many have found since, cars such as the 22B, R34 GT-R, Evo VI and Supra all seem to produce comfortably more than the agreed 280bhp, so whilst the 22B is officially listed as having an output of 276bhp, real world figures suggest the actual number starts with a three!
As one of only 399 examples, any 22B is regarded as rare and desirable however the car on offer here could be considered even more special; it is car #029 of the 399 JDM examples, but crucially was imported into the UK in 1998 (the same year as its manufacture) – so it really is as good as it gets without being a super-rare ‘Type-UK’ car.
Astonishingly, #029 is now being offered to the market following our vendor’s 23-year family ownership, his father buying the car in 2001 when it had covered a mere 2,300 miles. It was already registered ‘S2 WRC’ at this time and still proudly wears this evocative registration today. #029 has since formed part of a select private Collection, being serviced/maintained diligently and stored in a special facility. The car remains in factory-specification and has never been restored, despite how incredible its condition is, even the underside; it simply belies its 48,000 miles. Iconic Auctioneers are confident that there is unlikely to be a better example available to buy anywhere today.
With the ever-skyrocketing prices of ‘cream-of-the-crop’ JDM cars, and the 22B considered the zenith amongst its contemporises, this is surely the ‘halo’ car for any collection. Now is the time and here is the place to acquire a best-of-breed example; if you’ve ever wanted a 22B, this is a car not to be missed.
Interest around the 22B seems to know no bounds, even prompting Prodrive in 2022 to produce a 25-run homage version, each costing £552,000 (now being offered for sale at £850,000) to its highly coveted original. #029 is a fabulously original 22B, with the added cachet of being in the UK since its year of production, ensuring it is one of most desirable examples of its type – quite an opportunity.
RACE RETRO COLLECTORS’ CAR SALE 2024
Entries for the Race Retro Sale have now closed. The Classic & Collectors’ Car Sale will take place on Saturday 24th February from 12noon at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG. Viewing is available in person 9.30-5.30 on Friday 23rd and from 9.30am on the Saturday 24th. Our team of specialists will be on hand to answer any queries and if you are unable to make the auction in person our specialists are also contactable prior to the sale – their contact details can be found alongside the relevant lot. If you are just planning on visiting the Auction you will not require a show ticket, however if you wish to access the show you will need to purchase one. This can be done on the day or use our discount code ICONICAUC for £2 off per ticket. Bidding is available in person, online, on the telephone or via a commission bid. Bidding registration is now open.