Ex-WRC Impreza resets auction record, road-going 22B sells for $180K

WRC Subaru

WHILE the internet loses its collective mind over the auction prices of classic Porsches, there seems to be another automotive niche hitting a purple patch.

Rare ‘90s Subarus, that is. The most recent example to highlight demand is a 1997 WRC-spec Subaru Impreza, which has sold at auction in the UK for a whopping $387,000 Australian dollarydoos.

That six-figure sum reportedly resets the price record for any Subaru sold at auction. Before the ’97 race car went under the hammer, The Sun in the UK reported the most expensive Subaru ever auctioned changed hands for more than A$252,000.

It doesn’t seem to be a completely isolated incident either, with an example of the WRC97’s road-going sibling fetching an equally staggering sale price at a Japanese auction.

The 22B is, in layman’s, the street-legal version of Subaru’s WRC Impreza. Around 400 were built in 1998 and they’re revered today as a sort of unicorn by the Subaru community. So when an example with just 2,138km on the clock came up for sale in its motherland, international attention was guaranteed.

Frenetic bidding ended with a final sale price of ¥15.1 million, or a hair over A$181,000 at today’s exchange rate. It’s unclear where the winning bidder will move the car to, or whether it will remain in Japan.

While the WRC Impreza at the top of this story was tested by the legendary Colin McRae, it was never raced by him, and only used to acclimatise factory Subaru drivers to new regulations that were introduced in ’97.

It does however bear the chassis number 001, making it the first of its kind, despite never officially competing in the WRC as a factory car.

It did however compete in a number of rallies with privateers, and was put through its paces in testing for numerous hours, before going into retirement in 2007 – tragically coinciding with the passing of McRae.

Legendary MotoGP racer Valentino Rossi even got some seat time in the car, competing as a privateer in Italy in 1999.

Despite all that, having a pristine car to look at in such an iconic livery, would alone almost be worth the price of admission.

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