HOLY GRAIL — THE 22B

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature -

Only to be whis­pered about in hushed tones, the 22B is the king of all that is bur­bling and blue. Just 424 of these wide­bod­ied coupés were built as a one- off in 1998 to cel­e­brate Sub­aru’s 40th birth­day as well as back-to-back WRC Con­struc­tors’ ti­tles in 1995, ’96, and ’97. Only three made it to New Zealand new, and we were lucky we got those, with the en­tire pro­duc­tion hav­ing been sold from the fac­tory within 24 hours of Sub­aru’s an­nounce­ment of pro­duc­tion. Apart from the scooped bon­net, rally-spec bumpers, huge rear wing, and fend­ers that widened the car by three inches, the main ac­tion oc­curred un­der the bon­net. The 22 rep­re­sents the en­gine type and size, which was a spe­cially built EJ22 flat-four en­gine, a 2.2-litre ver­sion of the nor­mal cars’ EJ20. With some work on the bore, along with forged pis­tons and a big­ger turbo and in­ter­cooler set-up, the 22B put out 208kw as stan­dard and made it to 100kph from a stand­still in less than five sec­onds. These are still im­pres­sive times com­pared with mod­ern-day per­for­mance cars 20 years down the track. Prices for the 22B have in­evitably stayed pretty steady through­out the years, with the lat­est sale recorded be­ing that of an Aussie 555-liv­er­ied car that changed hands for over A$380K.

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