Need A Place To Park Some Cash? How About This Subaru WRX STI 22B For Sale

At Garage Dreams, we are big Subaru fans.

Despite being a relatively niche player in the automotive industry, Subaru has amassed a loyal following on the basis of its no-nonsense approach to building cars that can handle the elements and take you just about anywhere you could ever want to go – on or off the road, thanks largely to their ubiquitous use of AWD.

If you come to New Zealand (if the borders ever re-open) then you’ll quickly notice that just about every second car seems to be a Subaru; at least down here in the South Island where a Subaru Outback laden with ski gear and mountain bikes is a common sight on the roads. In fact, one of the team here has a Subaru in his “fleet” … and it is used as the manufacturer intended, going anywhere there is adventure to be had.

From the Legacy, to the Outback, to the Forester and beyond, Subaru has had a great lineup over the years.

Of all of Subaru’s creations, none is quite so lauded as the WRX, particularly the WRX STI.

Alongside the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (or “Evo” for short) the WRX STI brought the world of rallying to the tarmac and could eat supercars of the era for breakfast when it came to “real world” performance on imperfect roads.

When it comes to the WRX STI, almost everyone agrees that Subaru’s pièce de résistance was the 22B.

Launched in 1998, the 22B was intended to be a limited-run road car that set out to recreate the look and feel of the Impreza World Rally Car from the mid 1990s. The 22B was named after the 2.2 litre engine under the bonnet (a bored-out EJ20 that was known as the EJ22).

Other modifications and improvements included:

  • Other drivetrain improvements to the turbocharger, intercooler, fuel rails and injectors as well as a reprogrammed ECU
  • Uprated driveshafts and gearbox hardening treatment to allow the car to cope with the extra power and torque (those who have driven the 22B all seem to comment on how much punchier the car is in the midrange when compared to standard cars)
  • Stiffer, improved suspension over the standard WRX STI (specially tuned Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs – some believe that the “B” in the name stands for Bilstein)
  • Twin plate clutch
  • Stronger brakes than the standard car
  • Widebody wheel arches
  • 17-inch BBS alloys
  • The 22B was based on on the JDM-spec WRX STI coupe, as opposed to the standard four door model

Our research indicates that only 425 examples were ever built (there is some confusion as to exactly how many were made; the edition number plate showing 400, while some claim only 399 were made for this run. However, there were some additional examples built for a limited re-release and export outside of Japan, as well as UK-modified Prodrive cars) the 22B is one of those vehicles that doesn’t come up for sale very often.

The 22B wasn’t cheap when it was new; a 1999 edition of Car And Driver magazine that featured a review of the car has the launch price in USD at $41,600 (that equates to around $71,000 in 2022 money). We found the original press release from March 1998 online on Subaru’s archives, and the launch price was around 5 million Yen, which equates to $43,130 USD at the time of writing – around $73,500 adjusted for inflation.

While the 22B was never cheap to buy on the second-hand market – when you could get your hands on one – they were somewhat attainable in the past.

For example, on the NZ-based Club Sub forums, we found a discussion thread about another 22B that was sold back in 2010 for around $50,000 NZD:

At one point in ancient history, the 22B was a “dream car” that was somewhat affordable.

These days, a good 22B (or even a bad one) will set you back many times that amount – if you can find one at all.

That’s why it was like Christmas come early at Garage Dreams HQ when a genuine 22B STI was listed for sale recently by a dealer here in New Zealand.

HVS Motors in Gore has a 1998 Subaru WRX STI 22B (number 244 of 400) listed for sale. This particular car was imported into New Zealand ex-Japan in July 2000 with just under 6500km on the clock.

According to the listing, the dealer purchased this car off the first New Zealand owner back in 2017, and has only put on a handful of kilometres since then.

You can see the mileage history here:

With a slice under 15,000km on the clock, this 22B looks to be in excellent, original condition – with the only modification being different tires from factory as the originals had perished with age.

The car is listed with an asking price of $600,000 NZD, which equates to $406,000 USD at the time of writing. The dealer is very clear in their listing that the intent is probably to sell this car outside of New Zealand (an overseas purchaser should theoretically get a discount of 15% off the sale price, owing to the GST being refunded).

We are the first to admit that the price on this car is steep; and kudos to the dealer/seller for being clear in their listing that the price is “outrageous” – as the saying goes, “don’t hate the player, hate the game”.

However, the market is the ultimate arbiter of value and price, and these cars are selling for huge money money – back in April 2021 an example with 40,000km on the clock sold on Bring A Trailer for $312,500 USD. This example currently for sale has much lower mileage and a sound ownership history. Considering the fact that the classic car market has only inflated further since April 2021, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine this car selling for a similar figure – if not more.

An American purchaser of this car would probably look to have it brought in under a “Show Or Display” exemption (similar to the Bring A Trailer example from above) or wait for the 25 year rule to apply from early 2023 – you can learn more about import exemptions and options on our article about why the Nissan Skyline is illegal in the United States.

Ultimately, if you have the money to buy this kind of car, then you’ll have the ability to get it into the country and on the roads no matter where you live!

If you’re looking for an excellent condition Subaru Impreza WRX STI 22B for sale, then we recommend checking out the full classified for this car on HVS Motors’ TradeMe listing.

The dealer is clearly open to international offers. If you’re reading this from outside of New Zealand and are a serious potential purchaser, then you can contact the dealer on sales@hvsmotors.com (please consider mentioning that you saw this car on Garage Dreams!)

If you’d like to learn more about the WRX STI, then read our first-generation WRX STI model history and buyer’s guide here.

All photo credits to HVS Motors

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