Reckon that Subaru’s best work stopped in the mid noughties? Prepare to think again…
Ever heard of the phrase, ‘the difficult second album?’ For those not in the know, it refers to the perceived difficultly various bands and artists have when it comes to producing a decent follow up to a highly successful, critically acclaimed first record. Why am I prattling on about music in a magazine dedicated to car tuning and culture? Because the phrase can just as easily be applied to various examples of our favourite modified cars, and the Subaru Impreza being a prime example. The GC, GF, GM, GD and GG series cars (classic, bug, blob and hawk eye to me and you) enjoyed huge success across the world.
In fact, that success was so much so that Subaru was understandably inclined to leave the recipe well alone for as long as possible. Following up on the success of these cars with the WRX STi back in 2007 must’ve been fairly daunting then, especially as this generation’s radical styling took a little longer to find acceptance amongst the Subaru faithful.
One individual with a lot of love for the firm’s more recent offerings is Garth Donald, the lucky owner of the tuned Subaru Impreza WRX STi you see before you. Resplendent in Subaru blue, the ultimate scooby colour and one that never fails to go down a treat, Garth’s STi is one of those rare cars that just looks ‘right’ from each and every angle. He’s worked hard to get it to this stage though, the car coming into his ownership in standard form some three years ago.
‘It was in great condition when it arrived, plastic on the seats, full of new car smell! At the time I told the wife that I’d leave it standard, that I’d never modify another car and that this would be enough for me. She rolled her eyes and said that she never believed me…turns out she was right!’
Things took a turn for the worse as far as Garth’s promise to his other half was concerned (and for the better for the rest of us), when Kienan Weber, the owner of All Aspects Motorsport, stepped in and agreed to sponsor the build. This partnership eventually led to the extravagant bodywork the car now sports, with manic wings, spoilers and scoops leering out from each and every panel. It ‘aint subtle, but it doesn’t half look good.
“I was asked multiple times before the bodywork process whether I was certain I wanted to go ahead, because of course there was no going back. I nodded repeatedly that this was the way it was going to look, and at the moment Kienan walked up and just ran a nail over the body of where we were going to cut, and that was that.”
Utterly terrifying sounding right? By this point Garth was well and truly committed (and then some), and the only possible course of action was to press on with the major bodywork surgery. His original plan was to line the wing up, draw a line to act as a guide, then cut out what was surplus to requirements, before finally riveting the new arch, but Kieran had other ideas.
“They had the know how to chop up some sheet metal and provide some shelving for the kit to support it. We ended up welding the sheet metal into place and also providing inner arch lining to keep the dust and water out of the boot area, so a huge amount of fabrication all told.”
One constant throughout the majority of Subaru’s existence has been the flat four, ‘boxer’ engine, a lump that’s now part of tuned car folklore, partly because of its ability to make impressive power figures, partly because of the noise that its peculiar layout allows it to generate. Garth’s car more than delivers on both counts, his Scooby now sporting a Perrin Performance FMIC, Cosworth reverse inlet manifold and fuel rail, All Aspect custom downpipe and air intake, Killer B equal length headers, a Precision 5858 turbo and Tial 44mm BOV, the latter only adding to that distinctive Subaru bellow.
“By this point my wife Rachel was laughing at my, at the very idea that the car would remain standard,” Garth chuckles. “She was very supportive though, she’s been a driving force behind the build and we’ve ended up building it together. We both helped cut, rivet, and put the car back together with the guys, so the experience was challenging at points, highs lows of course, but when i see the car, I see the laughing moments between everyone.”
Modifications like the air suspension kit, the Forgestar wheels, the custom interior and the stupidly cool Invidia titanium-tipped exhaust are very much the icing on the cake, but you don’t have to delve too deeply into this build before you find a brilliant story, one centered around a couple’s love for cars and a growing appreciation for modified car culture. It’s probably safe to say that later generation Subarus like this won’t ever have the same raw, cult appeal as their illustrious relatives, but on the strength of Garth’s car, we’d say that that doesn’t matter one iota, particularly when they can end up looking (and sounding) this good.
OWNER: GARTH DONALD
TECH SPEC: SUBARU IMPREZA WRX STI
Perrin Performance Front Mount Intercooler and oil separator, reversed Cosworth inelt manifold and fuel rail, Mishimoto radiator, Precision 5858 rotated turbo, All Aspect custom down pipe, up pipe and air intake, Invidia Q300 titanium tipped exhaust, HKS SSQV, TIAL 44mm BOV, Killer B equal length headers, IAG engine dress up bay kit, COBB access port V3
Vollkommen Designs wide body kit, Varis vented FRP bonnet with custom paint by Stock or Modified Bodyworks, All Aspects custom front splitter, gloss black roof, HT Autos rear diffuser, Perrin Performance wing struts in gloss black, Aeroflow Dynamic side skirts, OEM spoiler painted in custom two-tone
Custom painted OEM spoiler two tone, Lightwerkz custom dual projector dual halo demon eyes, painted tinted tail lights
12x18in Forgestar DeepDish in custom color match paint, Toyo Proxes R888 305/35/18, stock brake setup, Airlift Performance V2 air suspension, Airlift Autopilot V2 management system
Custom wrapped Alcantara dash with ATI gauge pod, DAMD steering wheel, Pioneer AVIC NEX 8000 Bride Gias II carbon fibre fully adjustable seats, wrapped Bride interior parts, Cipher Auto harness bar Sparco four-point harness, JPM coach works gearstick gator and e-brake, DND Interior samurai sword shifter
Words Jarkle Photos Mike Kuhn