BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine

This ex-Colin McRae Subaru Impreza STi 22B has sold for almost half a mill

Iconic rally-style Subaru auctioned for as much as a two-bed in England’s south-east suburbia

Published: 31 Aug 2023

One of the three prototype Subaru Impreza STi 22Bs ever built has sold for a whopping £480,500. S447 YOX, AKA chassis #000/040, was the late Colin McRae’s whip of choice – “getting him into bother” back when he was making history in the World Rally Championship in the 1990s.

Like the tagline of a well-known beverage ad, Iconic Auctioneers reckon this is 'arguably the most desirable 22B ever’. No exaggeration. This special Subie is as close to a replica of McRae’s iconic rally version as any car maker can get, so it’s no surprise it’s sold for so much. Not only is it immaculate but it’s clocked less than 8,000 miles. Woah.

Advertisement - Page continues below

The model was built to celebrate the marque’s 40th anniversary, and third consecutive WRC constructors’ title. Beefy arches and high-rise spoiler were coupled with the EJ22 engine: a 2.2-litre monster built around a separate casting. Officially capable of 276bhp (to keep within required Japanese limits of 280bhp), the 22B would comfortably achieve more if asked to. Many more. 

Apparently (nerd alert) the 22B is derived from the car’s 555 WRC sponsorship. We’re told the “Five hundred and fifty-five is 22B in hexadecimal, the number base used in computer programming.” Because the rise of Bill Gates was happening simultaneously, the Japanese brand wanted in on the trend of the day. Yeah, er, cool.

Only 16 of the 25 made for the overseas market (399 for the Japanese market) came to the UK. At the time, all 424 pre-sold within 48 hours, albeit at a mightily more affordable £40,000. That’s some serious capital gains, there, folks.

The seam-welded bodyshell (supposedly identical in shape to the WRC cars), special gearing, a twin-plate racing clutch, strengthened drive/prop shafts, driver-adjustable front/rear diff and bigger brakes all play into the pride and joy of the 22B STi. Those 17in gold BBS alloy wheels speak silent volumes too. Just. Look. At. Them. 

This example features a unique #000/400 plaque to commemorate the occasion. Prodrive’s David Lapworth and McRae’s co-driver Nicky Grist got the other two prototypes. Now some very fortunate soul, with some fortunately deep pockets, has 'arguably' bagged themselves a bargain.

We'll just settle in this corner here and console ourselves with the pretty pictures...

Images: Iconic Auctioneers

Advertisement - Page continues below

Top Gear

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

More from Top Gear

See more on Subaru

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine