Oh no! It’s a Subaru WRX on air-ride! Whatever will the internet think?
Hate can be a powerful thing. It can shift the course of nations, destroy creativity, cause nasty scenes on the playground. But it’s not all bad. Sure, okay, it’s a fundamentally and inherently negative emotion. But you can harness it as a force for good if you go about it the right way. Don’t take Darth Vader’s lesson, that’d be mental – his twisted empire-building was rooted in hate and look where it got him.
No, the sensible way is to harness the all-pervading miasma of internet hate that so characterises modern life (because, of course, anything that you post online will be relentlessly trolled by dumbasses. That’s just an unfortunate fact of modern living) and turn it to your advantage. Embrace the haters. If people don’t agree with what you’ve done to your car… who gives a sh*t? It’s not their car, so let them deal with their inexplicable knee-jerk.
It’s for exactly this reason that Jay of Superior Rides has gone all-out to annoy the Subaru fanboys with this deliciously dirty build. If you’ve ever been at a show and seen a modified Subaru Impreza running air-ride or hydros, you’ll have undoubtedly spotted a steady stream of passers-by turning up their noses and saying that it’s ‘ruined’. Good. Screw them. It’s their attitude that Jay seeks to challenge, and it’s no coincidence that his Scoob’s riddled with Darth Vader iconography. There’s a glorious seam of hate running right through the core of this boxer-toting badass.
“I’ve been modifying cars since before I was driving,” Jay shrugs. “The first car I truly modified was my Mk1 Ford Focus, in two-tone purple and white, followed by a car that even I can probably say was OTT, but I loved, which was my Mk3 Golf VR6 Highline. That was a lovely shade of brown with a bright turquoise interior and a 150db bass setup.” See, this dude just can’t help himself. Forget your clichés about outside-the-box thinking. Here’s a guy who set fire to the box years ago and has been operating from a celestial prism ever since.
“Why did I choose an Impreza this time?” he ponders. “It was simple really. I’d fallen in love with Japspeed’s Subaru build a few years ago and wanted a Hawkeye back then. But the price was still out of my range, so I carried on and rebuilt the Golf for probably the fourth time! But when it finally came time to get a new toy, it had to be a Hawkeye. I wanted something with performance, and something that you didn’t see that many modded examples of – which at the time, you didn’t.”
And that was that. It was always inevitable that this project would happen this way – a long-held yearning coupled with a sparkling history of annoying people on the internet with his outrageous cars, this thing was written in the stars. “Also, there’s plenty of arched Bugeyes and Blobeyes, but very few Hawkeyes… and it’s even rarer to find them arched and bagged.”
So the search began, Jay scouring the UK for the right car, bringing it home, and slowly revealing to the poor, trembling thing just what naughtiness was afoot. The car as-bought was entirely stock, and even had a towbar – which he’s actually left in situ, as it provides a handy rear jacking point. And despite a few hiccups, error codes and EMLs, after a service and a stern talking to, the car was ready to receive.
Now, if you’re into your Subarus, you’ll probably know about Karlton arch flares. If not, er… you’re looking at ’em. “I planned on getting the Karlton flares from the start,” says Jay. “And I knew they’d have to be sitting over wide concave rims – I didn’t want dish. I also knew that the spoiler was going to come off straight away, and I quickly started the hunt for the lip kit and – more importantly – the wheels. I had my eye on some WCI rims, but after looking on Driftworks one night I came across Cosmis Wheels, and when I saw the extreme offset and concave nature of the S1, I had to have them. And it had to be nothing less than the mental 10.5-inch-wide ones! This meant I had to get 15mm adaptors from the States.”
There was a fair bit of arch-cutting required to squish everything in, which was undertaken by Jay and his compadre Nick after a fistful of brave pills. All thankfully went as planned, and it wasn’t long before the car was off to AquaGraphix to get a little carbon- fibre style applied to the Karltons, while the lip kit, wing mirrors and various other bits and bobs were dipped in gold true-weave carbon.
“The original plan was to run spoilerless, and stick with the Do-Luck ducktail bootlid,” Jay recalls. “That was until, when fitting his Japspeed wing to his Lexus, Nick test-fitted the spoiler onto my car first. And that was it. I had to have one. So after a year of searching I finally found one, and I think it finishes the car perfectly.”
It wasn’t all about exterior menace, of course. The interior is where you spend your time, so Jay didn’t scrimp here either. The custom front Corbeaus set the tone for the insides, with their Red Jacquard fabric and carbon-fibre effect vinyl detail, and everything else inside just had to be trimmed to match. It’s a visual riot in there.
Jay was properly hands-on with this too, pinching his mother’s sewing machine and taking some pointers from his wife on how to sew – another string to this serial modifier’s bow, and he’s justly proud of his efforts. Not bad for a first go, right? “The car is used as my daily driver,” he assures us. “Obviously I show it, and it’s not perfect, but it’s as close I could get. It’s a car, not an ornament, and it gets driven. And as such it takes a lot of upkeep – thanks in part to a painter by the name of Jason who I’m pretty sure hates me!”
But that’s not an emotion Jay shies away from. We know this. The rally purists who leap down his throat for fitting air-ride to a stage hero merely fuel his fire, spur him on. Yeah, it’s an Impreza. Okay, it’s on air-ride. Sure, it looks like Darth Vader’s kerb crawler. Bring it on, internet. Jay’s waiting for you.
2006 WRX; custom front bumper with carbon-fibre detailing; carbon-fibre Chargespeed splitter; carbon- fibre wing mirrors; scoop; lower lip kit and canards; custom rear bumper; carbon-fibre Karlton arches; Japspeed carbon-fibre rear wing; Do-Luck ducktail bootlid; full red neon detail including under car, headlights and interior.
EJ25 2.5-litre flat-four; titanium equal-length headers; Welsh Coast Customs exhaust; remap; induction kit; 286bhp.
10.5x18in Cosmis S1 (ET-10) custom-painted with red detail; stretched 225/45 tyres; D2 Performance / Air Lift V2 air-ride in custom Death Star-themed install including carbon-fibre detailed air tank.
Corbeau reclining bucket seats trimmed in Red Jacquard fabric and carbon-fibre effect vinyl detail; back seats trimmed to match along with doorcards; gaiters; custom rear parcel shelf and headlining; custom iPad install in dash (designed to look OEM); carbon-fibre dash detail; custom Cerwin Vega audio install including 8in subwoofer; parametric equaliser direct from iPad into Cerwin Vega mini amplifiers hidden in rear armrest.
To Jason Last for my painting needs; Simon at Rhondda Valet; Aaron Brooks at Scene Clean Valeting; Miller at Swish Graphics; everyone at AquaGraphix; Kathryn at Corbeau; Rich at Driftworks; everyone at Team Osaka HQ; and more importantly the wife, Julz! And finally huge thanks has got to go to Nick for help with pretty much everything on the car.
Words Daniel Bevis Photos Jon Davies