Race car engineering firm Prodrive has announced a modern take on Subaru's legendary Impreza-based 22B. Called the Prodrive P25, it seeks to offer a modern interpretation the 22B, adding power and technology, while keeping true to the original's iconic look.
In 1997 Subaru won the third of its three consecutive manufacturers' championships in the World Rally Championship (WRC). To mark that achievement, and to commemorate Subaru's 40th anniversary, its motorsports division, Subaru Techinca International (STI), built the 22B the following year. Just over 400 examples were built in a limited edition run.
The standard WRX STi engine was bored to 2.2 liters and was officially listed as 280 PS (276 horsepower) as it debuted during Japan's Gentleman's Agreement era. Real output, however, was said to be in excess of 300 horses. In addition, the 22B had some exclusive aero bits, most notably its flared fenders and larger wheels to match the WRC car. Today, these cars have been sold at auction in excess of $300,000.
The Prodrive P25 will use Impreza cars as a base, but equipped with a 2.5-liter Subaru boxer engine modified to put out 400-horsepower. Rather than an old school 5-speed stick, gear changes will be made with a 6-speed paddle-shift semi-automatic. Prodrive says the body will feature extensive use of carbon fiber.
Based in the UK, Prodrive has helped create numerous iconic race cars, including the Group A Bastos E30 BMW M3, the Dakar Rally Raid Rothmans Porsche 959 and the Mini WRC cars from 2011-13. The Impreza WRC cars can be counted among them, but in Y2K, Prodrive also began building Impreza-based street cars like the Prodrive P1, from which the P25's name appears to be derived (the "25" part marks 25 years since the third WRC win).
Back then, in the U.K. as it was in the U.S., the hottest Imprezas weren't available officially from Subaru. Unlike the U.S., Subaru didn't even offer a 2-door coupe version of the Impreza there. Prodrive began modifying WRX STi Type R coupes imported from Japan, tailoring suspension components to better suit British roads and tuning the engine to conform to local emissions rules. Though WRX STis got through the borders via a healthy gray market, the Prodrive P1 the only 100% legal 2-door Impreza available in the country.
"The original 22B Impreza is considered the most iconic of Subarus and highly sought after," said Prodrive chairman David Richards. "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.”
Only 25 units will be built, with the first being delivered by the end of the year. The Prodrive P25 will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this summer. If you are interested in ordering one, you can contact Prodrive at their website.
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