Sometimes you just know when a Hot Wheels casting is going to be popular. This is one of them. The #’98 Subaru Impreza 22B STi-Version hit the pegs late last year as part of the #2020 Hot Wheels “A” case assortments. Subaru-savvy collectors knew exactly what this was as it isn’t your parents’ Subaru. Rather, it is the 22B — a rare 1:1 Subaru Impreza that was limited to 400 pieces in 1998. Currently, the car has a market value of over $100,000 and is known as the Holy Grail for any Subaru enthusiast.
Hot Wheels has made a ton of limited edition real cars before so the coolness factor doesn’t hinge on that alone. To say that Hot Wheels designer, Ryu Asada did an excellent job on the design of this casting is an understatement — he nailed it. He got in all of the things that make the 22B special from an exterior perspective which includes (but is not limited to): hood scoop with two additional vents in hood, fog light covers, signature spoiler, and even the fender flares. This car was only sold in right-hand-drive countries (mostly Japan) so, of course, the interior reflects that. Add in the decision by the graphics team to forgo side graphics in lieu of the front and rear detail, and these #First Editions of the 22B are really something special.
The metalflake blue colorway came first, along with the “very Subaru”, gold #10-Spoke Wheels. I lost track of how many extras of this release I’ve accumulated, its that cool. I’m not one to hoard, but this one is something special. The 2nd colorway was in the metalflake dark red, which I don’t think the real car ever came in, but still looks nice. The 3rd colorway… wow. The #ZAMAC edition was teased at the convention last October and it doesn’t disappoint. The bare-metal, polished ZAMAC has become a signature of the Hot Wheels brand and sold as a #Walmart Exclusive here in the United States. It is by no means natural for a Subaru to appear in a near chrome finish, but who cares… it is one impressive Hot Wheels car.
Together, this trio of the #’98 Subaru Impreza 22B STi-Version jump starts what will surely be a highly-collectible ride full of exciting releases of this casting. Two premium releases of it have already been slated as the first one in blue with #Real Riders Modern Concave Wheels will be appearing in #Car Culture within the next month as part of the upcoming Modern Classics series. Hot Wheels Marketing Manager, Jimmy Liu has also confirmed that a premium rally edition version of the car will also be made within the next year or so. On the collaboration front, remember when skateboard/racer/personality, Bucky Lasek visited the Hot Wheels Design Center back in January? He brought his white 22B to that meeting so you just know that has to be coming out at some point as well. This is the start of one cool casting collection.
All three versions of the #’98 Subaru Impreza 22B STi-Version can be found at retail now. The cases containing the blue colorway are several months old, so you may have to resort to stores that routinely get in older stock — like grocery stores — if you’re somehow still managing to chase that one down. The red colorway should be a lot easier to find. The #ZAMAC…. good luck! That one if being released right now as part of the Walmart “J” case dump bins, and most collectors are reporting that the Subaru is the first to go. Alongside it are the #’64 Chevy Nova Station Wagon and the #’87 Dodge D100 in the 3rd wave of ZAMACs for 2020.