There’s been a lot of talk about Subaru Impreza 22Bs of late. Auction results are getting ever more ridiculous, and we’ve seen some extremely special examples either go under the hammer or be prepared to do so - a 22B that used to belong to Colin McRae, plus the original 22B Prototype.
But don’t be too downbeat about the pricing madness. The great thing about the first-generation Impreza is there were stacks of special versions, and a lot of them are still reasonably affordable. Take the car you see here - a WRX STI Type R Version 5.
Much like the 22B, it uses a two-door bodyshell, and while it lacks the in-yer-face box arches of that car, the first-gen Impreza does just look ‘right’ sans the rear doors, doesn’t it?
Also mirroring the 22B, it has World Rally Championship provenance. The two-door Type R arrived from the STI Version III onwards, derived from the stripped-back RA with its close-ratio gearbox. Its shell became the starting point for all Prodrive-built World Rally Championship cars on the grounds of weight, size and stiffness.
Under the bonnet featuring the now iconic scoop is - of course - an EJ20 which produces 276bhp, sounds burbly AF thanks to unequal-length exhaust manifolds (something you didn’t get on the last lot of WRX STIs, sadly), and revs to nearly 8,000rpm. With production not even lasting a year, few of these were made.
We’re not going to pretend Version 5 Type Rs are bargains, but at the same time, £29,990 via Torque GT for the car you see here doesn’t actually seem that bad. Not when McRae’s 22B is expected to fetch as much as half a million quid. And besides, on the new market, £30,000 will barely get you a Volkswagen Golf in a decent trim level.
This Type R was imported in January 2019. Before being shipped over from Japan, it received a full service which included a fresh cambelt. It also received new brakes, tyres and even rust protection. With the clocks converted from metric to imperial, it’s now showing as 69,400 miles, which isn’t much at all for a car that’s well over two decades old. It’s a lovely example, and we want it badly.
Do you? Or would your money go to a different kind of limited-run Impreza? After all, there are plenty to choose from…