Subie fans rejoice, the 22B lives! The homologation icon from Subaru’s rally glory days in the 1990s is being reborn as a restomod – one the world will see in the flesh first here at the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard in June. And just like the acclaimed original, it will be built by Prodrive, designed by Peter Stevens – and likely be rather hard to get hold of. Just 25 are going to be made.
Badged P25, Prodrive promises the new machine will keep the essence of the debut World Rally Championship-winning Impreza of 1997, but it will be updated with today’s technology to make it lighter, more powerful and with improved handling.
That’s what Prodrive says anyway, and given that the engineering of this latterday reincarnation has been left to Prodrive technical director David Lapworth – the man responsible for the original Impreza WRC – we should probably believe it.
As the sketch shows, the new car will be immediately familiar, from its bonnet scoop and rear wing, to its signature blue paintwork for the wide-body, two-door “coupe” Impreza shell.
It stays faithful to the original, too, in its turbocharged flat-four engine and four-wheel-drive. But as Prodrive boss Dave Richards says, everything about the car has been enhanced using the latest tech.
That means a big power hike to at least 400PS (298kW) from the 2.5-litre boxer engine. It also means a six-speed semi-automatic paddle-shift gearbox and a carbon-fibre chassis to keep weight low.
The Prodrive P25 will take inspiration from the Subaru Impreza 22B
“The original 22B Impreza is considered the most iconic of Subarus and highly sought after,” Prodrive chairman Richards tells us. “We wanted to enhance everything that made that car so special by applying the very latest technology to create our own modern interpretation of a car that’s established a place in motoring history.”
There’s no performance data as yet and no price either, just a pledge that only 25 cars will be built and the first owners will have their cars by the end of this year. All will hail from Prodrive’s Banbury HQ where, under Richards’ direction 25 years ago, Subaru’s World Championship-winning Imprezas were born for drivers including Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg.
Image courtesy of Motorsport Images
The Prodrive-prepared cars won three WRC drivers’ titles and three manufacturers’ titles for Subaru and spawned the 280PS 22B homologation special that has gone down as one of the most sought-after cars ever. The 400 examples made for Japan were said to have sold out in a day or so while just 16 cars were officially exported to the UK. A 22B sold in the US last year for over $300,000.
The Prodrive P25 will have its public debut at the Festival of Speed on the last weekend in June. Anyone who ever had a poster of a blue and yellow car flying through the air at 100mph with Colin McRae behind the wheel pinned up on their bedroom wall will surely want to be there.