King of Imprezas: 22B

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Often referred to as the holy grail of Imprezas, the 22B is a very special car. Created to celebrate both Subaru’s 40th anniversary and their 3rd consecutive WRC Championship, it’s a rare beast. Just 400 were built for the Japanese market and all were sold within (at conservative estimates) 24 hours. Another 24 were built for export markets (Europe and Australia, sorry America) and were so valuable that rally legend Colin McRae had to pay for his even after bringing Subaru their third consecutive WRC title.

The 22B was the closest that mere mortals could come to driving the unstoppable cars that McRae and Richard Burns piloted to WRC glory. 22Bs came with engines enlarged to 2.2 litres, widened (and now likely irreplaceable) body kits, a massive adjustable wing, Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs. Under the skin a whole host of rally magic was at work to make the 22B rocket ship on 4 wheels whatever the road surface. Subaru rated the cars at 276 horsepower, but there was speculation that this was a little modest. Japanese manufacturers at the time had a voluntary agreement not to produce cars in excess of 280 horsepower. The 2.2 litre turbocharged four in the 22B actually made around 300.

When I asked a friend of mine who really knows his Subarus how much a 22B would cost today, he laughed and stated simply: ‘You can’t find them’. You’ll likely never see a 22B grace the pages of Autotrader, as the ones that do come up for sale easily command auction prices. Costing three times as much as the next Impreza down the food chain when it was released, Subaru knew what they were on to. Boxer Prince Naseem Hamed’s 2500 mile example recently went to auction and brought £73,000, or about $108,000. Finding a 22B is one thing, affording one is another altogether.

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram Wednesday June 8th 2016.

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King of Imprezas: 22B

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