Buy This Stunning 1998 Subaru STI 22B and Relive the Good Old Days
In remembrance of the STI, scoop up this gem—provided you have lots of money.
With deeply troubling news of Subaru calling it quits on a new WRX STI, the only STIs available going forward will be old ones and it looks like one Australian STI owner is capitalizing on this fact. Spotted for sale on Collecting Cars is quite the special edition of the Subaru's rallying icon: A 1998 22B STI.
Commonly known simply as the "22B," this special edition two-door first-gen STI was introduced to mark Subaru's 40th birthday. Key differences include a wider body, an EJ engine with displacement increased to 2.2 liters from 2.0, and unique hood, fender, bumper, and rear spoiler designs. An officially quoted 276 horsepower goes to all four wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox, an electronically adjustable center diff, and a mechanical LSD in the rear. Bilstein suspension, an upgraded ceramic-disk clutch, and bigger 17-inch wheels further made it the ultimate STI. Four hundred were made for Japan while just 24 were made for "export markets," five of which were earmarked for Australia. According to the seller, however, this particular example was one of the 400 Japanese units but was imported to Australia in 2007.
Even in the pre-pandemic, pre-inflation, pre-STI-death times, this thing would no doubt trade hands for serious money. The bid as of this writing is already sitting at the Australian equivalent of about $262,000 USD. For context, that's almost nine times what you'd pay for the new WRX. And there are four days left in the auction for the price to climb even more.
This particular example shows 18,500 miles on the odometer, just 1,300 of which were added by the current owner since they imported it to Australia 15 years ago. Save for an aftermarket double-DIN head unit with navigation, it's apparently unmodified with claims of original paint all around. The sale comes with all of this car's original literature, jack, tool kit, and spare tire. Also being thrown in is this car's admittedly very cool New South Wales vanity plate that reads "FHI 22B," with the first half clearly meant as an acronym for Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru's former, legal corporate name. To casual observers, it probably won't even pop up on the radar as a vanity plate at all. But those who know will know.
That relative anonymity also arguably applies to the car itself. Sure, the blue paint and gold wheels will give it away as a bit more than just any old Subaru, but only the true rally geeks will know its status as a Subaru that's worth the same money as a brand new supercar.
If you've got the coin, this 22B should be a pretty good investment. The most legendary versions of cars they don't make anymore usually are.
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