For rally fans, few machines are as legendary as the Subaru Impreza 22B STi from the late 1990s. The car featured in this video looks like a 22B – it has the wide fender wings, the big spoiler, and the epic louvred bonnet that we know and love. It's not a 22B, nor is it a 22B clone per-se, as it's not built from a standard-issue Impreza of the day. In fact, it's the other way around.
The 22B owes its existence to this machine, because it’s an original Prodrive-built Subaru World Rally car that now lives a new life as a street-friendly rally warrior.
JDM Masters on YouTube brings us the amazing story of this ex-WRC machine, and it’s a very in-depth story. The video runs 45 minutes but it’s a goldmine of information and details on Subaru’s transition from Group A to WR in 1997. The result was the iconic two-door Impreza STi that was driven by such rally legends as Colin McRae and Richard Burns. Burns would ultimately claim the WRC championship in 2001 with his Impreza.
This particular car is indeed a former Prodrive-built racer. It was used initially by Subaru as a test vehicle and ultimately saw WRC stages with other race teams. The video doesn’t cover the car’s full history, but it’s lived an interesting life having been converted between left-hand and right-hand drive several times before ending up in its current right-hand configuration for its owner in Japan.
The steering wheel position could be the least interesting thing about this project. The car was purchased basically as a shell, without any running gear. To make it streetable, the complete powertrain from an S204 STi was found and installed, giving the car 320 bhp (239 kilowatts) and more importantly, a standard-design six-speed manual versus the original race-spec sequential box which wasn’t designed for daily use.
Gallery: Prodrive Subaru WR converted to street use
Beyond that, considerable effort has been made to outfit the car with original Prodrive equipment when possible. The suspension and brakes are WR spec, as are the seats and the six-spoke gold wheels. The interior was assembled with a mismatch of components for both originality and necessity – the newer powertrain requires its own electronics and a production-spec instrument cluster. The rear wing was sourced from another Prodrive Impreza and actually spent time on the car driven by Richard Burns. It even still shows wear from racing use, and we absolutely hope it stays that way.
Owning a 22B is rare by itself. Having an original race-used Prodrive Impreza that the 22B was based on? That’s a whole new level of brilliance, and we’re only able to scratch the surface of all the details included in this video. If you’re a fan of stage rally and Subaru’s glory days in the 1990s, we can’t imagine a better way to spend 45 minutes – except for behind the wheel of this reborn rally legend.