Brace yourselves, folks: The Subaru 22B STi you’re looking at just sold for $172,000 at the Silverstone Classic Online Auction. We covered this 22B in detail earlier this month, when we predicted the car would sell above its high estimate of $101,000, but none of us expected the 22B to best that figure by 63 percent. The chance to pick up a clean 22B doesn’t come around often, so conditions were ripe for a bidding war.
As auction-savvy readers know, modern Japanese sports cars have been on a tear recently. The 22B is prime example. The final sale price of £130,500 ($172,000 after buyers premium and VAT) was 78 percent higher than the 22B of comparable quality that sold at Silverstone in 2016. A 78 percent increase in value over the last four years shouldn’t be that surprising to anyone who’s been watching the Japanese collector market. Why? In that same time, the #1-condition (Concours) values for a 1997 Toyota Supra Turbo increased by 80 percent—from $77,500 to $139,000—while the 1996 Mazda RX-7 increased a whopping 161 percent, from $24,700 to $64,400. There are dozens of modern Japanese cars that have followed the same trajectory.
This Subaru 22B was probably a very smart buy—even at $172,000. As mentioned in an earlier article, the 22B isn’t legal to import into the U.S. until March 2023. The U.S. is obsessed with JDM imports, and these cars typically increase in value as soon as they are driven off the ship. Since the earliest Nissan Skyline R32 GT-Rs were legal to import in 2015, the value for an #2-condition (Excellent) 1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R has increased 46 percent, from $35,000 to $51,200. We’ve been keeping a close eye on the amount of Nissan Skyline imports, and when comparing the first two years of legal import for each generation, the newly legal Skyline R33 has outpaced the R32 in number of cars imported.
This is a sign that America’s love of JDM imports isn’t cooling anytime soon; it’s very likely that the first 22B to be sold in America will break the $200,000 barrier. Mark your calendars for 2023 …