In the 1990s, Subaru was the manufacturer to beat in the world of rallying, thanks in part to the efforts of star driver Colin McRae.

The success saw the launch of the first Impreza WRX, or World Rally Experimental, in 1992, which Subaru followed up with the Impreza WRX STI in 1994 after a banner rally season.

Then, in 1998, the most iconic model came: the Impreza 22B STI. It celebrated the Subaru World Rally Team’s hat trick of World Rally Championship titles between 1995 and 1997, and now a pristine example once owned by McRae has been sold for 480,500 British pounds (approximately $604,000).

The car, which has just under 12,000 km (approximately 7,456 miles) on the clock, was sold over the weekend by Iconic Auctioneers at its sale at the Silverstone Circuit in the U.K. According to the listing it was the first time the car has come up for public sale.

1998 Subaru Impreza STI 22B prototype once owned by Colin McRae - Photo credit: Iconic Auctioneers1998 Subaru Impreza STI 22B prototype once owned by Colin McRae – Photo credit: Iconic Auctioneers

With just 424 examples made (400 for Japan and 24 for the rest of the world), the 22B is a rare car, but McRae’s example stands out. In addition to being owned by the late rally legend, McRae’s car is one of three original prototypes. That’s why its build plaque states “000/400.” The other two prototypes were originally passed to Prodrive’s David Lapworth and to Nicky Grist, McRae’s long-time co-driver.

Like all 22Bs, the car is powered by a turbocharged 2.2-liter flat-4. The engine is officially rated at 276 hp, due to an agreement on horsepower limits between Japan’s automakers at the time, though its true output likely lies somewhere above 300 hp.

Other 22B upgrades include a seam-welded bodyshell (supposedly identical in shape to the WRC cars), special gearing, a twin-plate racing clutch, uprated brakes, and bespoke suspension with Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs. The cars also ride on 17-inch BBS wheels with the signature gold finish of Subaru’s rally cars.

Prodrive, which worked with Subaru to build its WRC cars, recently celebrated the 22B by building a modern version. Called the P25, just 25 are destined to be built and all are likely sold. With a starting price of 460,000 British pounds, they cost almost as much as what the bidder paid for McRae’s original.

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