Subaru Impreza 22Bs Just Like This One Will Be U.S. Legal In 7 Years
Photography Courtesy of Silverstone Auctions
If you’re a member of the Gran Turismo generation, live somewhere it’s possible to actually buy and/or import a Subaru Impreza 22B STi—and have the means of doing so—why don’t you own one yet? If you’re in the U.S., let this article be your friendly reminder that you have seven short years before you’ll be able to import a 22B of your own.
Why the heavy praise for this turbocharged coupé? Homologation specials are at the top of the classic car market in desirability, ability, and, often, value—the Impreza 22B and its World Rally Championship exploits with Colin McRae behind the wheel cast a bright halo. When the car was announced for sale in Japan, it’s said the entire 400-odd run was sold out in only a few days.
Chances are, the hopped-up Subarus you see have been inspired by this car in some way, whether its owner knows it or not. The ’22’ comes from an enlarged, 2.2-litre horizontally-opposed flat-4 engine, ‘B’ is Subaru’s code for ‘Turbo’, and it’s one of the very few models from the marque to come with an STi badge up front in pink…er, “Cherry Red”. But its blistered fenders, larger rear spoiler, and chiseled bumpers should be strong clues as to the car’s performance.
Sure, its zero-to-60 mph time of 5-and-a-bit seconds isn’t that great, but 50-70 mph? Try 2.4 seconds.
As Subaru’s 40th anniversary present to itself (and its fans)—not to mention 1997 marking its third consecutive World Rally Constructor’s Championship victory—the company did everything it could to make this a special car. Its engine was hand-assembled, with stronger forged pistons, different (sodium-filled!) valves, and other high-performance tricks. Then it was given a better ECU, a water sprayer for its intercooler…
…Eibach springs, a quicker steering rack, Brembo brakes, BBS wheels, its track increased by 3.15 inches—and as many aluminum suspension parts as STI could install. So when historians look back on the early days of “performance” all-wheel-drive cars, you can bet 22Bs will stand proudly next to its rally brethren. That it also wears puffed-out body panels is a nice bonus.
This example has done only 2,500 miles from new, and was originally registered to the renowned boxer Prince Naseem Hamed and has been the only registered keeper. Wearing #307, it’s one of the rare examples to have been exported to the UK. Silverstone Auctions discloses in the listing that the car had minor damage when new, but that has since been repaired.
Once you do the currency conversion and realize that this car’s low estimate hovers at around $85,000 Usd., two things should come to mind. First, this may be the first Subaru road car (that we know of, at least) that may eclipse six figures when it comes to auction on May 20. Second, if you’re not bidding, you still have some time before the 22B is legal for import into the U.S.
Car and Driver called it, “The Subaru from hell,” and that sounds about right.
– One owner from new, legendary boxer “Prince” Naseem Hamed
~280 horsepower, 2,212-cc turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, five-speed manual transmission, independent front and rear Bilstein suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic Brembo disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,520 mm
Chassis Number: GC8071344
Engine Number: E122-000271