Despite the dizzying array of special edition WRX and WRX STIs to have emerged over the years, we reckon most Subaru geeks would agree one being head and shoulders above the rest: the 22B. Petrolheads of a certain age will fondly recall that moment when they logged in at just the right time on Gran Turismo 2’s used car showroom for one to appear. It was virtual gold dust, just like the real thing.
Subaru only made 400 to celebrate two things - the company’s 40th anniversary, and its third World Rally Championship title on the bounce. 23 years on, these cars are producing ever more astonishing auction results, with the latest weighing in at a whopping £171,500. Or if you’d prefer, near enough a quarter of a million dollars.
The car to have gone under the hammer via Silverstone Auctions is one of 16 ‘Type-UK’ cars officially imported here. The small batch was sent to Prodrive, the company behind Subaru’s WRC programme, for tweaks. The changes included a lengthened final drive ratio, lower bumper ‘driving lights’ to replace the standard 22B’s blanking plates, and UK-spec rear light clusters. Of those, only 12 were sold to the public, Silverstone says.
The 22B seen here is the 16th and final Type UK, sold new at a Hertfordshire Subaru dealer on 13 March 1999. The second owner arrived in December 2001, with the third and current keeper taking the keys in February 2004.
During his tenure, it’s received a few modifications including a PPG helical synchro-kit and a new exhaust system, with all the stock parts included in the sale for anyone wanting to return the car to stock. The original Bilstein suspension is present and correct and in fine fettle thanks to an overhaul by Bilstein itself in 2018.
The Impreza has been well used, but it’s far from leggy, with 49,000 miles on the clock. Since only 10 of the Type UKs are thought to remain in existence, it was always going to receive a lot of interest on the auction block. It wasn’t a surprise to see the 22B blow away its £140,000 upper estimate.
It isn’t, however, the most expensive 22B we’ve yet seen. One sold a few weeks ago on Bring a Trailer in the USA for $312,555 (a fitting final three digits, we’re sure you’ll agree), which works out at around £221,000. That’s despite the car coming with a ‘show or display’ title, which means until it can be properly registered after reaching the ripe old age of 25, it’s limited to 2500 road miles a year.
Another was listed by a dealer in the US for an even more eyebrow-raising $370,000, although we don’t know how much it changed hands for. In any case, 22Bs will likely be on an upward trend for a while. Anyone without a few hundred thousand pounds kicking around will be better off digging their Playstation out of the loft and firing up GT2.