Someday I want to buy a GC8 and build something like the RCM Gobstopper.
One of my all time favorites and still competing after all these years.
Photo courtesy of Rich Sams.
I communicate pretty regularly with a number of veteran Subaru owners – guys who have been in the game for upwards of a decade. One thing we all seem to agree on is that the community is dead. It’s a harsh statement but one that’s undeniably true. I base my views primarily on the parts market or lack thereof. It’s become harder than ever to buy new parts for the various iterations of the Impreza, especially the GC and GD. If you’re trying to do the JDM thing, good luck.
As more Japanese companies pull out of the US, it’s a grim reminder that people have moved into other cars or out of the community entirely. The BRZ was a nice blip on the radar, especially for those seeking more aggressive wheel options for the unrelenting 5×100 bolt pattern. However the BRZ has in no way captured the market or the interests of Subaru aficionados, quite the same way the FR-S has.
The Impreza has become dated and with Subaru out of the WRC, it’s tuned variants are becoming increasingly irrelevant in this new era of paddle-shifters and energy recovery systems. Someday we can only hope that the Impreza will share a similar affinity to classics like the Hakosuka and S30 Z. In the meantime, I only see the car’s popularity dwindling.
It’s a grim outlook, but in many ways an optimistic one because I still love my WRX as much as I did the day I got it in 2005. It’s a car that’s gotten so far under my skin that I may never be able to part ways with it. In the meantime there are still exciting Imprezas out there – granted their harder to find, but they still exist. There’s also the exciting news of the WRX Concept and Subaru’s desire to continually produce AWD rally-inspired cars. Maybe someday we’ll see a return to the Impreza’s former glory in the WRC. For now we hold onto the memories.
The Subaru WRX Concept made its official debut at the New York International Auto Show yesterday and upon first impressions, the car looks fantastic.
Earlier this year, Subaru announced they would no longer be selling the Impreza to the UK market. The news raised a number of concerns over the future of the Impreza brand and whether or not it would suffer a similar fate to its Mitsubishi rival.
Subaru seems to have answered any concerns with the WRX Concept, ushering in a new direction for Imprezas to come.
The Japanese manufacturer has always been good at producing reliable cars that are excellent to drive, however they’ve never really succeeded in exterior styling. While certain iterations like the GC and GD have gotten better looking with age, more recent Imprezas have failed to capture the same appeal.
Subaru’s current GVB shares an unfortunate resemblance with Toyota’s flagship – with added exterior girth, in the form of widened wheel arches and a massive rear wing. The tuning industry has fixed the problem to a degree. However it would be nice to leave the dealership in an Impreza that already looks great, rather than one that has the potential to.
The WRX Concept has been designed to look aggressive from the start, with its styling features working together in harmony. Nothing looks to have been added as an afterthought.
The car’s front end looks particularly stunning with a larger, Legacy-inspired front grill and European style headlights. The brand’s signature hood scoop looks like it belongs on car, having been nicely integrated, without looking overly bulbous. The LED strips on the front bumper and splashes of neon yellow accents are also nice touches.
As if it didn’t seem possible, the WRX Concept has taken on an even wider stance.
Subaru have offered no performance figures on the car, however it’s likely it will come equiped with the same 2.5L turbocharged Boxer engine as the current model. What’s more intriguing is the car’s electronic brain. I’ve long been a proponent of making the Impreza “smarter”. A similar system to Mitsubishi’s AYC would be a welcome addition and help to combat the car’s notorious understeer. With improved handling and a bit more power, the WRX Concept could eventually be the final nail in its rival’s coffin.
The massive 6-pot front brakes and aggressive rear diffuser shows that Subaru understands potential customers. As both features have become popular aftermarket additions to the WRX, it would make sense for Subaru to offer them from the factory.
The WRX Concept does of course raise questions about a potential STi to follow. A beefed up version would normally make sense, but if the production model retains its current features and a similar level of performance, the STi could be out of a job.
It’s an exciting time for Subaru enthusiasts and a step in the right direction for the brand. The WRX Concept looks more at home in the company of Europe’s elite, than with its own Japanese counterparts. Hopefully they’ll make the smart decision and put it into production as soon as possible and by all means, offer an estate version as well!
Photos courtesy of Subaru.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by alcoolaid’s 2007 STi. It’s another build I’ve been following for a number and years and like so many Subarus on A Class, this car has seen quite an evolution.
For most the experience of modifying a street car can be plenty rewarding. However making the jump to building a track car is another level entirely. It’s a point when every detail truly comes into consideration, with function being of the upmost importance. Luckily what’s functional can also be beautiful and this STi is no exception.
To summarize this build into a few short sentences would be doing the car and its owner a disservice. If you’re interested in everything that’s gone into alcoolaid’s STi, be sure to check out his build thread.
There’s also a YouTube channel with plenty of videos of the car in action both on the street and at the track.
A special thanks to Matt Kwok, an automotive photographer based in Canada. I’ve featured his work with Subarus a number of times over the years and he’s certainly got a great eye for photography. Matt takes pictures of all kinds of cars, so make sure to check out his website.
While this STi looks fantastic, the best part about this car is the fact that it gets driven! I know so many car guys who build amazing creations, only to leave them in the protected confines of their garages. Cars like these are most definitely meant to be enjoyed.
Photos courtesy of Matt Kwok.
Gus Dizon’s WRX is no stranger to this blog and has been spotted on more than one occasion. What I’ve always loved about this car was its simplicity.
While many aim to build the ultimate weekend warrior, Gus’ WRX is the car you’d want to drive everyday.
So many GDA owners strive to mimic the appearance of a JDM STi (myself included), however this is a WRX that’s comfortable in its own skin. It’s not trying too hard, it’s playing to its strengths.
The looks are aggressive, but in a more sensible way. Rather than bottoming out the suspension and running massive amounts of camber, Gus’ WRX maintains drivability. The subtle hints are still there with Brembo brakes and meaty tires.
It wasn’t so long ago that automotive journalists panned the GDA for it’s looks. Opinions have shifted in more recent years and like a fine wine, the Bugeye has gotten better with age. Projector headlights should’ve come as standard on every GDA.
I was disappointed to hear that Gus decided to sell his WRX recently and hopefully it’s gone to a good home.
Some readers may wonder why I put such an emphasis on featuring daily driven Subarus and builds that weren’t created to grace the covers of tuning magazines. The reason is pretty simple: it’s about educating the current generation of Subaru owners on how the community has evolved. Hopefully some will use cars like Gus’ as inspiration for their own builds.
Photos courtesy of Gus Dizon.
UK Impreza owners have always had a special eye for tuning. The popularity of rallying and motor sports in general has had a heavy influence on the way they style their cars. It’s an approach I wish we saw more of in the US.
Frayz’s V7 STi has been around for as long as I can remember and the car has gone through a pretty extensive rebuild in the last couple of years. I’d recommend checking out his build thread if you have time.
The execution of this Impreza is something pretty special. No aspect of the car has been left untouched and the attention to detail immense. In many respects the car alludes to some of the special edition Impreza models we’ve seen from shops like Prodrive.
While many criticize the organized chaos that is a Suabru engine bay, there is beauty to be found here. The careful color coordination and selection of only the finest parts speaks to this car’s purpose of blending high performance with ultimate streetability.
The same philosophy holds true in the interior.
Anyone can build a car that looks great sitting in their garage. It’s a different story entirely to build something that not only looks great but can also take whatever abuse its owner throws at it.
Photos courtesy of Frayz.