Uh oh. You saw a classic Impreza with wide arches and called it a 22B, didn’t you? This is a common mix up, read on for enlightenment…  

OK smart arse, if it’s not a 22B, then what is it? 

Prodrive used "S" prefixed numbers to designate the various generations of Impreza World Rally Car they built. The '97 World Rally Car was the S4 and they continued from there. The full list per year is:

1997 - Impreza S4 WRC
1998/1999 - Impreza S5 WRC (the '99 car had some improvements over the '98 car, but retained the same S5 designation)
2000 - Impreza S6 WRC (also known as the P2000)
2001 - Impreza S7 WRC
2002 - Impreza S8 WRC
2003 - Impreza S9 WRC
2004 - Impreza S10 WRC
2005 - Impreza S11 WRC
2006 - Impreza S12 WRC
2007 - Impreza S12b WRC
2008 - Impreza S14 WRC

So, depending on the particular year of "classic" shape Impreza you are looking at, it’s either a S4 Impreza WRC, an S5 Impreza WRC or an S6 Impreza WRC.

Got it. Got any more useless Prodrive/Impreza naming facts?

Prodrive also used a similar system for their Group N cars, except these are identified by an "N" prefix, not an "S".  

The only exception to the rule is the 2007 Impreza WRC, which was identified as the S12b WRC (rather than S13 as you would expect). The Japanese are a superstitious bunch and so Prodrive avoided the number with their car designation! 

There is also an interesting anomaly late in the history of SWRT as, when the S14 wasn't ready in time, they put an S14 engine into an S12b chassis: that car (KT57 SRT) became a one off S12c. 

That’s all great, but where does the 22B fit in?

The 22B was a road car released in 1998 and designed to emulate the look of the 1997/1998 Impreza World Rally Car. The two door, wide arch, Impreza World Rally Cars were on stages for well over a year before the 22B hit showrooms and its name is actually homage to the rally car: "22B" is hexdecimal for "555". 

There is a lot of confusion between the 22B and the World Rally Cars of the era. This is compounded by the fact that there are a huge number of online articles about the 22B that contain incorrect information. 

Officially there were 424 22B's (400 for the JDM, 24 for export). Of the 24 export cars, 16 were for the UK, 5 for Australia and 3 were prototypes. As with a lot of Subaru limited edition runs though, some of the numbers are a little hazy. It was originally stated that there were three #000 prototype cars (which were given to Colin McRae, Nicky Grist and David Lapworth), however a #000 was recently identified in the STI Mitaka showroom, which implies there were four #000 cars (I have subsequently read that David Lapworth actually got #400, but that's not been verified). 

But they look pretty similar. How can you be so sure that’s not a privateer with a 22B on the rally stage?

Well first up – and as mentioned above – the 22B was a limited edition road car, so only a loon would risk bending one on a rally stage.

Critically though, the 22B was fitted with a 2.2L engine: WRC regulations of the era limited turbo cars to 2.0L so, by its very nature, the 22B couldn't be a rally car. Incidentally, although they look similar, the S4 WRC and 22B have different panels. If you look at the two side-by-side you can see it, it's most noticeable around the front end and rear arches.
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