In the history of Subaru models, none is more revered than the 22B. Built in 1998 to celebrate Subaru’s third WRC title, less than 500 wide-body specimens were ever manufactured. This makes a true 22B sighting here in The States about as rare as a Unicorn.
But automotive Unicorns aren’t all that uncommon at the annual Pikes Peak hillclimb, just outside Colorado Springs. Every year drivers from around the globe tackle the mountain with epic and unusual machinery. Here, even Group B monsters from days past, like the Ford RS200, are a common sight. Even with a value of around $250,000 they’re still driven in anger as drivers risk limb and metal to beat the clock.
This year, the slate of entries was just as unusual as ever: Mike Ryan scared children with his custom Freightliner, Sebastian Loeb drove a Peugeot that bends space and time, Pat Doran thrashed a Ford RS200, and Gregoire Blachon brought his Subaru Impreza 22b.
Naturally, it’s not a real 22b. There are a few flaws in the disguise. First, the wing isn’t quite right. Second, there are only two real 22b’s in the United States: One is owned by Heuberger Motors, the other by Subaru corporate. This car didn’t look like either of them. Third, this one is powered by a Subaru diesel motor. Yes, you read that correctly. A real 22b would be powered by a closed-deck 2.2-liter turbo petrol engine, of course.
We caught up with Blachon in-between test sessions (sorry about the less-than-awesome interview audio, we were literally running from one location to another and didn’t have our standard interview mic handy) and after his run to get the low-down on this killer concoction melding the best of Subaru’s past with a greener future.
BOXEER.COM DIESEL 22B VEHICLE SPECS
Original Chassis: Impreza Brighton Coupe with 1.8 H4
Engine: Subaru Boxer Diesel (JDM)
Power: 300 ft-lbs torque, 200 hp (stock output)
Engine Management: BOSCH MS 15.1 (Diesel ECU)
Body Kit: Aerosim 22b Carbon Fiber
Brakes, Suspension, Wheels: 2007 Subaru STI