1998 marked 40 years of Subaru and the marketing people in Japan wanted to celebrate the company’s success with a car like no other.
So was born the 22B
“The result is a sports coupe that seeks to deliver the highest level of performance for road use
said STi President Mr Yamada”
Subaru of Japan produced The widebody 2-door, Impreza called the 22B STi The 22B was used to commemorate both Subaru's 40th anniversary as well as the 3rd consecutive manufacturer's title for Subaru in the FIA World Rally Championship. On the release of the sales, all 399 sold out after 30 minutes to 48 hours depending on reports. The limited edition road going WRC car was announced to the unsuspecting world at the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show. It would be based on the newly released Version 4 Type R Coupe but would have a larger engine with more torque and the bodywork would be highly modified to give it the appearance of the current WRC rally cars of then current drivers, Colin McRae and Pierro Liatti.
The 22 in 22B represents the 2.2 liter engine, and B is Subaru of Japans representative letter for “turbocharged”.
It must be noted that the 22B STi that is supposed to be #13 was never given the plaque. Subaru of America imported #13 to be used as a press car. Three 22B STis were given the #000 plaque, 2 went to the World Rally car drivers for Subaru at the time Colin McRae and Nicky Grist, with the third going to David Lapworth of Prodrive
The Subaru Impreza 22B had the EJ22 engine as opposed to the regular EJ20 engine.The block was bored and The displacement was increased from 1994 cc to 2212 cc. It is a closed-deck design. The heads (valves, valvetrain and such) were lifted from the STi Version 4 engine. It produces 350 PS (345 hp/257 kW) at 6000 rpm and 363 N•m (225 ft•lbf = 37.0 kgf•m) of torque at a lower engine speed of 3200 rpm. The compression is 8.0:1 Its fuel rails are custom units, required to match the demands of such a high performance engine. It retained the same stroke as the stock 2.0 litre engine, Which gave the car a torque curve that wasn’t even a curve. It is a steep climb and table like flat line, when plotted on a graph. The performance of the 2.2 litre engine gives the car the feeling of much more power and said to be the closest thing to driving a wrc car. It has around 70bhp more than its 2.0 litre brothers.
The turbocharger is an IHI RHF 5HB (the internal company usage code is VF23 This turbo is a large roller bearing unit, providing huge volumes but with very low inertia properties which is due to the bearing design.
Every car was hand made, starting with a lightweight 2 door WRX RA shell and then cutting off the rear arches. The new widened fenders were welded in their place and the front of the car received similar appendages to cover to massive wheels and extra track. The dimensions of the car were now virtually identical to the car watched by millions, in the hands of Subaru’s new driver line up, Richard Burns and Juha Kunkkenhann. The rear spoiler has the same adjustable foil as the WRC car, for increasing down force on twisty tarmac events.
The brakes fitted were the standard Subaru 4 pot calipers with 292mm discs on the front and a new rear 2 pot caliper with larger vented disc on the rear. Both were painted in a bright red colour, looking very distinctive through the gold BBS wheels.
Production process During its transformation the bodyshell, parts and engine are removed from the standard Impreza production line no less than 6 times, and 3 different facilities used for modification.
1. The car started off as a shell from an Impreza WRX STi type R version 4 Coupe.
2. STi then modified the front and rear wheel arches by cutting away the existing ones and rewelding and extending them so that the body is some 80mm wider.
3. The body is then seam welded and repainted by a specialist (as the body is too wide and does not fit through the normal painting production line at Subaru)
4. STi then took the engine and bored out the normal 2 litre block to 2.2 litres. Which produced more torque at lower revs.
5. The clutch plate and disk are an STI ceramic/metal twin plate competition clutch with dumpers, for better release action.
6. The suspension is a special Bilstein and Eibach set, (much firmer than the normal one), and the track is widened to suit the wide body.
7. WRC styling was added by the addition of a huge adjustable rear wing, a front bumper that looks like it was lifted strainght from the WRC, and different engine bay hood vents again copying the WRC. These modifications produce a replica to the WRC car.
8. Finally the car is fitted with a unique blue interior and aluminium alloy BBS wheels
engine EJ22 Boxer-4
valvetrain DOHC, 4 Valves per Cylinder
displacement 2212 cc / 135.0 in³
bore 96.9 mm / 3.81 in
stroke 75.0 mm / 2.95 in
body / frame E-GC8 Kai Unit Steel
driven wheels 4WD w/DCCD
wheel type BBS alloy
front tires 235/40R17 P-Zero
rear tires 235/40R17 P-Zero
front brakes Vented Discs
f brake size x 406 mm / x 16.0 in
rear brakes Vented Discs
r brake size x 381.0 mm / x 15.0 in
front wheels F 43.2 x 21.6 cm / 17.0 x 8.5 in
rear wheels R 43.2 x 21.6 cm / 17.0 x 8.5 in
steering Rack & Pinion Super Quick Power Steering Gear Box(13:1) with power steering fluid cooler
f suspension Bilstein Inverted Strut w/Eibach Springs
r suspension Bilstein Inverted Strut w/Eibach Springs
weight 1270 kg / 2800 lbs wheelbase 2520 mm / 99.2 in
front track 1480 mm / 58.3 in
rear track 1500 mm / 59.1 in
length 4365 mm / 171.9 in
width 1770 mm / 69.7 in
height 1390 mm / 54.7 in
transmission 5-Speed Manual w/Twin Plate Clutch, Ceramic Disc
gear ratios 3.083:1, 2.06 Finally the car is fitted with a unique blue interior and aluminium alloy BBS wheels
gear ratios 3.083:1, 2.062:1, 1.545:1, 1.151:1, 0.825:1, :1 ( The transmission ratios are the same as the standard WRX Type R, but the gears are shot peened for added strength
Peter Stevens from Mclaren was credited for much of the 22B design which included the body styling.
I purchased our 22B #339 of 400 in November 2008. It has a different steering wheel fitted and STI Defi gauges on the dash but other than that it is a stock and very clean 22B. I watched the car for well over a year on Trademe (which is like ebay but a N.Z version) It was In Japan when they first started to advertise it and eventually sat in New Zealand for almost a year before I checked exchange rates and saw how the price had dropped on the car. I called and purchased the car almost Immediately, I had a friend of mine who was foreman of the previous Subaru dealership check it over and he said it was very clean. He had been servicing several N.Z new 22Bs so I felt confident to buy it without seeing it. It took almost a year before I went down to N.Z for three months to drive the car. It is such a fun car and one of the most amazing experiences to be able to fuful a dream and own a 22B