This 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi Is Ready To Fulfill All of Your Rallying Dreams

Rallying brought us the best, most breathtaking drives in motorsport history. But it also gave us more than that. Thanks to homologation rules, it forced manufacturers to bestow upon us, the regular, everyday folk, some of the most exciting cars in history - and one of them is the Subaru Impreza 22B STi, so let’s dive.
1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi 11 photos
Photo: Dylancain/Bring a Trailer
1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
The Impreza story begins in the ‘80s with the Subaru Leone. You see, in the 1950s, when Subaru was founded, Japan was still recovering from the war, and they needed economical cars - and that’s what Subaru built.

But, in 1980, they wanted to expand their image globally, and they decided to do that through motorsport, specifically rallies. At first, Subaru's performance was mediocre at best, only managing to snag one podium in the span of ten years. That didn't sit right with the team, so, in 1989, they switched over to the Legacy, but that was also disappointing.

The real change came in the early '90s when Subaru ditched that model in favor of the brand new, the smaller Impreza and hired Colin McRae - ever heard of him? With McRae at the wheel of a blue Impreza with 555 State Express tobacco branding, Subaru placed fifth in the teams' championship in 1993.

1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
Photo: Dylancain/Bring a Trailer
The regular, naturally aspirated Impreza was a good vehicle but nothing extraordinary. It was available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, with a few flat-four boxers to choose from. The real kicker was the WRX variant, which was initially available for the Japanese market.

The WRX stood for World Rally Experimental, and it brought to the table a few race-spec goodies. It had a viscous center locking differential, beefed-up suspension, and, the most significant detail, a turbocharger, taking horsepower up to 237 hp (240 ps).

Based on the WRX, you could opt to get the Type RA, which took the race car features to the next level. I’m talking about no anti-lock brakes, no air conditioning, and no power windows, all in the name of weight savings and better handling.

In 1994, another option was added to the lineup, called the STi (Subaru Tecnica International) - which was a more hardcore version of the WRX but nowhere near to the barbaric Type RA.

This first generation of the Impreza received a facelift throughout its eight-year span, with more power and better tech being brought to the table. But, in 1998, Subaru would unleash the best iteration of the Impreza, called the 22B.

1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
Photo: Dylancain/Bring a Trailer
And today, we have one of these cars to bless our eyeballs, and that’s a big thing. Why? Because there were only 424 ever produced, in a really short span, from March 1993 to August of the same year. The 22B was created as a celebration of Subaru’s 40th anniversary and their third consecutive manufacturer’s title in WRC.

The 22B got wider fenders, a functional hood scoop, a massive and functional rear wing, and the classic blue Subaru paint. Complementing that blue, you’ll find a set of 17-inch BBS wheels finished in gold and wrapped in Yokohama rubber. Completing the racecar outside look is a set of fog lights with STi-branded covers and a 22B STi rear badge.

Moving on to the inside, upon stepping in, you’ll find that you are sitting on the wrong side of the car. The 22B was built only for the right-hand drive markets (Japan, the UK, and Australia), and this particular 22B was brought from Japan over to the states.

1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
Photo: Dylancain/Bring a Trailer
The cabin features black and blue upholstery on everything. The seats came courtesy of Recaro and feature red stitching and an STi logo on the backrests. The STi branding continues on the steering wheel, pedals, and door sill covers. Speaking of the steering wheel, it is leather-wrapped with red stitching, and it fronts a 9,000 rpm tachometer and a 180 kph (110 mph). Also, inside the cabin, you will find a plaque that states that this 22B is number 135 out of the 400 built for the Japanese market.

Moving on to the mechanical side of things, this particular 22B has the Prodrive optional pack. That means it got Bilstein shock, a faster steering rack, and a carbon fiber strut tower bar. Stopping it on the tough rally stages are red Subaru-branded calipers over vented discs on all four corners.

Now, it’s time to get to the engine. Powering this rally beast is the EJ22 flat-four boxer engine. As the name implies, it has 2.2 liters (134 ci), out of which it supposedly puts out 276 hp (280 ps). But, at that time, there was this gentleman's agreement in Japan, capping power outputs to 276 hp (280 ps), in order to avoid a power war. That said, it is believed that these cars can get well over 300 hp (304 ps).

1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi
Photo: Dylancain/Bring a Trailer
Power is sent to all four wheels via a five-speed manual transmission and an electronically locking center differential that can be manually adjusted by the driver.

This particular 22B is up at auction in Pleasant Valley, Washington. It was brought over from Japan under the Show and Display exemption. It has 186,000 kilometers (115,000 miles) on the clock, and the price currently sits at 100,000 dollars. It also comes with a CarVX report and a clean Washington State title.

The Impreza is a massive part of rally history, and this particular model, the 22B, might be the coolest ever made - and I would do terrible things to own one.
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About the author: Călin Iosif
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Călin’s origin story is being exposed to Top Gear when he was very young. Watching too much of Clarkson, Hammond and May argue on TV turned him into Petrolhead (an automotive journalist with a soft spot for old pieces of... cars, old cars).
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