To celebrate winning three World Rally Championship constructors titles between 1995 and 1997, as well as their 40th anniversary as a company, Subaru introduced the now iconic 22B in 1998. Just 400 units were produced for the Japanese market, 16 were supplied to the UK, and 5 to Australia, bringing the total production to a mere 424 cars.
The 22B used the EJ22 engine, which meant that displacement was increased from 1994 cc to 2212cc. The car was painted in a unique shade of blue and sported the wide body shape of the Peter Stevens-designed WRC car. The car had a unique bonnet, front and rear wings, a WRC-inspired front bumper, and an adjustable rear wing. During assembly, a WRX Type R chassis was taken off the line and the wings were replaced with the 22B STI versions. Bilstein provided the suspension and the brakes used 4-pot front and 2-pot rear STI calipers painted in red. The wheels were increased in size to 17 inches and the clutch was upgraded to a twin-plate ceramic clutch.
22B numbered plaque (196/400), Special STI upholstery with red stitching, Nardi leather steering wheel with red stitching, Leather gear knob with red stitching, Air conditioning, Diff lock control, Electrically adjustable and folding door mirrors, Electric windows, Intercooler water spray, Carbon-fibre STI front strut brace, Adjustable rear wing, Rear strut brace, STI door sill covers, STI pedals and foot rest, STI exhaust, 17-inch BBS alloy wheels, HKS turbo timer, A-pillar Boost Gauge and Oil Temperature Gauge, Karo carpet mats, Impreza boot carpet mat.
With looks reflecting its pedigree the 22B STI is no ordinary Impreza, this particular example boasting a mere 25k miles from new. The gleaming paintwork is without any unsightly blemishes or dings and a deep shine can be found to every panel. There is no road rash to the wide rear arches or bodykit and almost no stone chips to front end. Finer details such as the black plastic trims still look fresh, the headlights are crystal clear, and none of the rubbers have dried out with age.
The car looks undeniably sharp and factory standard all round, even the original STI exhaust system is still in place. A rear fog lamp has now been fitted below the bumper for UK road use, however this could easily be removed should the new keeper so desire. The car has only recently arrived from Japan and so the underside is in exceptional rust-free condition, a real testament to the unsalted roads on which it resided from new.
The interior remains in first-rate condition even on very close inspection. The STI-specific upholstery is free from any wear, with other commonly worn items such as the steering wheel, gear knob, and centre console trim also looking factory-fresh. A common issue with Japanese cars is that the seat fabric can discolour over time; this example has clearly been stored inside away from the sun when not in use, and so the black cloth is unfaded. The same is true of the red stitching on the gear knob and Nardi steering wheel. An HKS turbo timer is mounted below the radio and the driver’s A-pillar sports a useful boost gauge and oil temperature gauge.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The 22B was gifted a larger 2.2-litre flat-four than the STi Version V it was based on, although its claimed power output was still the same 276hp at 6,000rpm. The accuracy of this figure has often been questioned but an obvious improvement was the torque; the 22B’s hand-assembled engine generates 268 ft lb at 3,200rpm, giving it tremendous mid-range power.
Under the bonnet of this low mileage example you’ll find a lovely, clean engine bay. Everything appears stock aside from a Zero Sports radiator shroud, with only a little flaking to the original red paintwork as evidence of use. The car is accompanied by a superb Japanese maintenance history, as detailed in the plentiful paperwork. Since arriving at 4 Star the car has been fully inspected, serviced and has received a timing belt change for the new keeper’s piece of mind.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The car sits on its factory 18-inch BBS alloys that still present in their original coat of satin gold having never been repainted. Upon close inspection there is some light curb marking to report but little to detract from their otherwise excellent condition; we have left them unrefurbished to maintain originality. The wheels are shod in a matching set of Bridgestone Potenza tyres with all carbon fibre centre caps present and correct.
The 22B was first registered in July 1998. It is one of just 400 Japanese-supplied cars and has only recently been imported into the UK by 4 Star. The car has been well maintained from new, as evidenced by the original service booklets and accompanying Japanese paperwork. The original Impreza owner’s manuals are also present, along with the supplementary 22B booklets. There is documentation for the HKS turbo timer and Sony Minidisc player. The car has just been fully serviced and had the timing belt replaced. The inspection report shows a perfectly clean bill of health and the MOT is valid until January 2020.
- Mileage: 25,655
- Year: 1998
- MOT Expiry: January 2020
- Exterior Colour:Sonic Blue Metallic
- Interior Colour:Blue / Black Cloth
- Top speed:154
- Transmission:5-Speed Manual
- Engine Capacity: 2212cc
- Engine Configuration: Turbocharged Flat 4
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