As you may well know Porsche revealed a new 911 GT3 at the recent Geneva motor show. The sixth 911 to wear the badge, GT3s are known for both their purist driver appeal and track-ready focus. Exclusivity and critical acclaim inevitably make them safe places to put your money too.
APR 04th 2017
Dan Trent: When a Subaru is a better investment than a fast 911
In the way of these things the first GT3, launched in 1999, is the one superfans maintain is the purest of the pure. Given the values of rare 911s these days you'd, therefore, expect the lucky person who bought one new for £76,500 would now be looking at healthy return on investment. After all, just over a 100 were sold in the UK and it's the rarest GT3 of them all, as well as the original.
Thing is, they should, in fact, have spent half that money on a blue Subaru Impreza with gold wheels and a really big wing on the back. Indeed, if they'd been REALLY smart they'd have bought two of them for the price of that GT3. And parked one in an air-conditioned garage under a sheet. Because, yes, we've reached a point where a Subaru Impreza proves to be a more valuable asset than a rare-groove Porsche 911.
Why? Well, just 400 numbered 22Bs were built for the Japanese market, with 16 additional produced for the UK and three '000' cars for Colin McRae (who had to pay for his), co-driver Nicky Grist and Prodrive boss David Lapworth. A further five were built for Australia too. There are plenty of limited edition Imprezas, though. But what makes the 22B a six-figure Subaru?
A unique engine stroked out from 2.0 to 2.2 litres, new suspension necessitating an 80mm increase in body width, one-off front and rear bumpers and the stance and attitude of Subaru's WRC-spec two-door Impreza are the headlines. And although not a true homologation special the spec was a geek's delight, assembled from the very best available from Subaru's performance division STI. The so-called 'gentlemen's agreement' that limited Japanese cars of the time to 280ps [276bhp] masked the 22B's significant performance boost over other Imprezas, crazy short gearing, manually adjustable four-wheel drive and a redline just shy of 8,000rpm delivering a wild performance hit as close to that delivered by the WRC car as any roadgoing Subaru.
I was lucky enough to drive one once. A Japanese import, it had even shorter gearing than the 16 UK cars, meaning you felt like you were topping out in fifth even at B-road speeds. But it cornered like no other Impreza I've ever driven, the faster steering more positive and weighty, the short wheelbase supremely agile and the four-wheel drive traction unbeatable. An intense experience that, yes, left me feeling like McRae.
Not so long ago eyebrows were raised at the £42,995 being asked for one. An ex-Prince Naseem example with suitably colourful history sold last year for over £70,000 – the kind of money those 911 GT3s now sell for. At £98,500 this one looks even more bonkers. If, as claimed, it turns out to be one of the 16 Type UK 22Bs then it is certainly one of a very select bunch. The history sounds interesting, claiming to be an ex-Subaru car that's been dry stored for the last seven years. Legend records many 22Bs led hard lives and you'd want to be absolutely certain of that provenance. But if it all adds up this could be the blue-collar hero turned blue-chip investment. And the Subaru that out-paced one of the most lauded modern Porsches into the bargain.
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