Most cars in the world cannot command the respect of all self-confessed petrol-heads, but then again, the Subaru Impreza STI 22B is not ‘most cars’.
With only 424 ever made, the car has been called the ‘holy grail’ of the Subaru production line, made famous by the iconic rally driver, Colin McRae.
Constructed in 1998, the car was intended to celebrate the success of Subaru’s three back-to-back World Rally Championship constructors’ titles alongside their brand’s 40th year anniversary.
Four-hundred Japanese models were commissioned alongside 16 UK versions, five Australian models, and three prototypes.
Despite their rarity, one of the cars has now made its way from Japan to the UK’s shores, as Leeds-based JDM transported over their latest purchase this past month.
Having bought the car from an independent client back in February, the impressive vehicle was shipped out from the Port of Yokohama to Southampton.
Its new owners, brothers Atif Nawabi and Saakib Rauf, then had the rather enjoyable task of driving the powerful unit up North to their home county of West Yorkshire.
“It’s always been more of a hobby with the cars really, so to be able to earn a living in this line of work is really cool,” Atif said. “We have always dreamt of owning a 22B, ever since we were just kids.”
“I even have a model 22B at home which my dad bought me when I was just a teenager,” Saakib added.
Explaining how the duo came into the ownership of such a highly-sought after car, Saakib said it was just all about being ‘in the right place at the right time’.
“Atif was in Japan in February on a work mission and I said to him as a joke, ‘imagine if we could get a 22B’, we always wanted one ever since we were kids,” he said.
“A couple of days later, we got a phonecall from an uncle who was also in Japan and he said one of his friends actually had a 22B and may be willing to sell it.
“We managed to speak to the owner and explained through a translator that we are a big fan of this car and would love to buy it off her.
“Luckily she agreed, and we got it shipped over from Japan then drove it up. We had people taking photos on the motorway. It was an amazing feeling.”
With many 22B replica kits out there, the brothers say their vehicle is 100 per cent the real deal and have the chassis number and documentation to prove it.
Despite selling cars for a living, this latest model may stay in their possession for a little longer than their other motors.
“This will be parked in its protective bubble most of its life but for the time being we are going to enjoy it a little bit,” Atif said. “The first ever 22B is still in the Subaru museum over in Japan – that’s how much it means to the company.
“You get a lot of respect given to you with this car. It’s not about the price or how fast it is, it’s the history behind it. It means a lot to be able to say we own this one.”
0mph-60mph: 4.5 seconds
Model number: 73 of 400 (Japanese Model)
Top speed: 144mph
Engine size: 2.2ltr
Year of production: 1998
Mileage: Less than 30,000 miles