A large portion of the classic and vintage car market is founded on brand history and a healthy dose of nostalgia. We're seeing prices for cars from the 1980s and 1990s, particularly from Japan, growing in value as enthusiasts who grew up during those times begin to find themselves burdened with pesky disposable income. If you possess heavy pockets, and fancy jumping on the Japanese collector-car train before it leaves the station, a sharp example of what is possibly the most desirable Subaru ever to roll out of the factory heads to auction in the U.K. later this month.
To commemorate its 40thanniversary and winning three consecutive FIA World Championship titles, Subaru went a little nuts and created a widebody STI coupe for the 1998 model year. The so-called "22B" was a tour-de-force of go-fast rally components, and is likely as close to a road-going rally car as there ever has been.
Power came from a 2.2-liter turbocharged flat-four engine, officially sending 276 hp to all-four wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. The front and rear bumper were direct derivatives of those used on the WRC car, while a large adjustable trunk-mounted wing helped keep the car on the straight and narrow. Brakes come from Brembo, and the suspension is sourced from Bilstein.
Just 424 of these rally specials left the factory, with 400 for the Japanese market, 16 for the U.K., five for Australia, and three prototypes. As you might guess from these figures, the U.S. was left in the cold, with the 22B never homologated for U.S. roads. Even if you were to manage the difficult importation of a non-street legal car, the 22B would not see public roads for the next seven years until it turns 25 in 2023, per U.S. laws that only allow import of foreign cars that are over a quarter-century old.
If you do live overseas, then this auction is great news. This 22B has just 2,500 miles since new on the clock, and is in impeccable condition. Auction estimates peg this piece of JDM history will see the hammer fall for between $87,000 and $100,000.Whether you plan to bid or not, take a look at this rolling piece of rally heritage in the gallery below.