The kids don't need new shoes, right?
This is certainly not something you find for sale often. An extremely rare 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B STi is up for auction on Bring A Trailer with a current (as of this writing) bid of $155,555. There are already multiple bidders and the auction won't conclude until April 19. Don't be shocked to see this surpass the $200k mark by the time things are all said and done. But why is the 22B STi so darn so special, aside from the low build numbers?
Subaru of Japan built the coupe-only 22B STi from March through August 1998 as a way to celebrate the automaker's 40th anniversary and for winning its third consecutive manufacturer's title in the FIA World Rally Championship. Bear in mind the Subaru WRX STi wasn't introduced in America until 2004, but it had already begun to attract attention in our neck of the woods long before.
The 22B STi only increased Americans' desire for serious all-wheel drive performance fun. All 400 examples for Japan sold out in 30 minutes. The UK only received 16 examples and another five were sent to Australia. Under the hood is the EJ22G turbocharged Boxer engine whose displacement was increased from 2.0- to 2.2-liters. It produced 276 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 268 lb-ft of torque at 3,200 rpm. Every example came in World Rally Blue.
Flared fenders from the WRC car widened the coupe by about 3 inches. A unique hood, rear fenders, and WRC-inspired front bumper were also part of the package. And, of course, 17-inch gold-finished BBS alloy wheels and an adjustable rear wing contributed to its special status.
Some believe the '22B' name is derived from the 2.2-liter engine and the Bilstein suspension. However, the 'B' is really an internal Subaru code signifying a turbo engine. Total curb weight comes to just 2,800 pounds. It's understandable the 22B STi is considered to be the Holy Grail find among hardcore Subaru enthusiasts.
The one up for grabs is No. 156 out of the 400 units built for Japan. Needless to say, they're all right-hand-drive. Its current owner and seller imported it to the US barely a year ago under the "show or display" exemption, which explains how they managed to bypass the 25-year import ban. That means it can only be driven, legally, 2,500 miles per year when it's on its way to a car show.
There are roughly 25,000 miles on it and the sale comes with some cool literature like its Japanese service records. All import paperwork and a clean Montana title are included as well.