To the uninitiated, this 1998 Subaru Impreza WRX might not seem that rare or special – but it’s actually not only the most valuable Subaru in Australia but arguably one of the rarest Subarus in the world.
It’s all got to do with that little badge on the back that reads 22B STi. A widebody coupe variant of the already spicy first-generation WRX STi, the 22B features a bigger 2.2L engine that officially makes 206kW (but rumours say it made much more than that) plus a bigger turbo; Bilstein suspension; a unique hood, front and rear fenders; a WRC-inspired front bumper and a unique adjustable rear wing.
The 22B was only produced between March and August 1998 and was released to commemorate both Subaru’s 40th anniversary as well as the third consecutive manufacturer’s title for Subaru in the FIA World Rally Championship. Only 424 were ever made: 3 prototypes, 400 for Japan, 16 for the UK and 5 for Australia. This car is one of those 5.
“Of those 5, one is still in Subaru Australia’s museum, another car went to 555 Racing to become a WRC competitor and three went to private collectors,” sellers Road + Track explain.
“This particular car has been kept in what can only be described as still-in-the-box condition. The car has been maintained its entire life by a Subaru dealership and has travelled a mere 3,514km from new.”
Now, do you get a handle on how bloody rare this thing is? It’s effectively the holy grail of 90s Japanese performance cars. They’re calling it “The Unicorn” and we reckon that is a totally apt description.
It’s worth getting this out of the way: some revheads might be familiar with a 22B which was recently sold by the Federal Government (and then auctioned off on Collecting Cars for over $300,000) after being seized under ‘proceeds of crime’ laws. This is not that car. That car was a Japanese import, this car was Australian delivered.
What this car is, is completely immaculate. It’s a time capsule; it looks like it has been never driven. The only discernible flaw is that there are a few dents in the top-mounted radiator’s core… But otherwise, it’s shockingly mint.
The really shocking thing about it is the price: AU$800,000. That’s an awful lot of money to spend on a 90s Japanese nugget, even one as pristine as this.
That said, there’s plenty of precedent for outrageous prices like that for JDM goodness. Rare variants of the already in-demand R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R such as the M·Spec Nür have commanded similar sales prices in Australia before, for example.
Still, 800k… That’s more than a brand-new Lamborghini Aventador, or around 17 current-generation Subaru WRX sedans. But considering how rare this 22B is, maybe it’s not silly money after all. Check it out here.