How do you get a Subaru rally car through every terrain imaginable?
It’s a start.
I communicate pretty regularly with a number of veteran Subaru owners – guys who have been in the game for upwards of a decade. One thing we all seem to agree on is that the community is dead. It’s a harsh statement but one that’s undeniably true. I base my views primarily on the parts market or lack thereof. It’s become harder than ever to buy new parts for the various iterations of the Impreza, especially the GC and GD. If you’re trying to do the JDM thing, good luck.
As more Japanese companies pull out of the US, it’s a grim reminder that people have moved into other cars or out of the community entirely. The BRZ was a nice blip on the radar, especially for those seeking more aggressive wheel options for the unrelenting 5×100 bolt pattern. However the BRZ has in no way captured the market or the interests of Subaru aficionados, quite the same way the FR-S has.
The Impreza has become dated and with Subaru out of the WRC, it’s tuned variants are becoming increasingly irrelevant in this new era of paddle-shifters and energy recovery systems. Someday we can only hope that the Impreza will share a similar affinity to classics like the Hakosuka and S30 Z. In the meantime, I only see the car’s popularity dwindling.
It’s a grim outlook, but in many ways an optimistic one because I still love my WRX as much as I did the day I got it in 2005. It’s a car that’s gotten so far under my skin that I may never be able to part ways with it. In the meantime there are still exciting Imprezas out there – granted their harder to find, but they still exist. There’s also the exciting news of the WRX Concept and Subaru’s desire to continually produce AWD rally-inspired cars. Maybe someday we’ll see a return to the Impreza’s former glory in the WRC. For now we hold onto the memories.
What is it about the Subaru Impreza 22B that makes it so special?
What the F40 is to Ferrari and the DB5 is to Aston Martin, the 22B is to Subaru; it’s the embodiment of a brand. Never has there been another Subaru held in such high esteem. It’s a handsome brute, a car that looks more at home amongst the trees than in the civilized world, with which it was intended.
At the heart of the 22B is Subaru’s EJ22, considered by many to be the brand’s greatest engine. The high strung flat-4 has been lusted after by many, myself included. It’s the perfect power plant for a car that more closely resembles its WRC counterpart than any Impreza since.
The car was built to celebrate Subaru’s 30th Anniversary and 3rd Constructor’s Title in the WRC. Only 400 units were produced and completely sold out in 30 minutes. As a collector’s car, it joins only a handful of the very best Japan has to offer.
What really makes the 22B so special are its looks. The Peter Stevens inspired body is utterly timeless and the car looks just as good today as it did 15 years ago.
For me it represents everything Subaru owners love about the brand; the WRB paint (the first road car to use it), the painfully flashy gold wheels and that massive STi rear wing. Sure you’ll look 16 behind the wheel and suffer from the disapproving stares of your fellow motorists but isn’t that the point? What defines a car for me is how big of a smile it puts on my face. Too often we see people buy cars for the sole purpose of fitting in. Just look at the direction the tuning industry is moving in… and all the hybrids populating the streets. People are no longer driving cars for themselves.
The 22B has presence. Behind the wheel, you’re diving a piece of rallying, dare I say automotive history. Were one to turn up at Cars & Coffee it would proudly join the company of the European elite. I had the rare opportunity of seeing one in the flesh while in Japan a few years ago. It was a biblical experience and (as always) looked even better in person. The 22B represents why I love cars and will always be a piece of automotive perfection.
No brand has become more synonymous with Subaru than Prodrive. The firm started its close relationship with the auto manufacturer in 1990, when they formed the Subaru World Rally Team. Since then numerous race inspired products have found their way onto road cars. The OEM-like attention to detail, quality and fitment has made Prodrive a very popular brand among Subaru owners.
Despite being UK-based, the brand has always had a strong foothold in the US and Japan. Over the years, it’s become increasingly difficult to source their products. Their WRC front bumper is one of many highly sought after pieces that people are lining up to pay a premium for.
Prodrive also produces some of the best looking and most underrated wheel designs on the market and I’d love to see more Subarus using them.
A few weeks ago, I posted about the UK-only STi RB5. The car is essentially an upgraded GC8, in honor of Richard Burns’s return to the SWRT.
The other day I came across this lightly modded example.
Judging by that sheet of paper on the rear window, this car was for sale at some point.
It’s easy to understand why so many consider the GC8, to be Subaru’s best iteration of the Impreza. I mean look at the thing! Even by today’s standards, it’s a thing of beauty; with so much character. The RB5′s biggest selling point, has to be that pristine shade of Steel Blue Mica.
I never got a chance to do a Throwback Thursdays post yesterday, so even though it’s a day late, I’m keeping with the routine.
This week I wanted to post up something a little bit different. The hot hatch may be something the Japanese do well, but its roots are in Europe. The continent’s narrow winding roads and crowded Medieval cities, provide the perfect play ground for the hot hatch. While companies from Renault to Volkswagen have brought the car into the modern era, my favorite without a doubt, is the Lancia Delta Integrale. The Delta came in multiple variations during it’s first generation of production (1979-1994), but the one you want is the Evoluzione II, which came out in 1993. The Evo II is probably most comparable to the Subaru WRX, with it’s 215hp turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine and AWD layout.
The unfortunate thing is the Impreza didn’t come with that body and a tan interior. This is the classic Italian color combo, for a sports car and it’s beautiful. With a set of Speedline Type 2015 Monte Carlos, it’s ready for a thrash down the coast to Portofino.
The Evoluzione II is a beautiful car and another, added to the list of ones we don’t get in the states. It was one of Lancia’s best cars, throughout their rocky history and won the World Rally Championship 6 times.
With the cars of today being designed for safety, rather than style, most current hot hatch offerings look like eggs with wheels. They just don’t build them like this anymore.