Archive for STi

Kansai Service GVB

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 03.03.2014 by aclasschris

It will probably be a few more months before we start seeing the aftermarket’s interpretation of the 2015 STI. In the meantime, the Kansai Service GVB STI.

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I’m a big fan of the Advan RSIIs and the Impreza wears them very well. Kansai Service has always had a soft spot for Subaru and they’re one of the few tuning outlets still giving the Impreza some much needed attention. They’re also responsible for producing one of the best and certainly most popular rear diffusers for the GD chassis.

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A Voltex GT wing replaces the standard STI wing and definitely improves the looks of the car. I’ve always felt the GVB’s rear was too chunky and tall. The GT wing helps to give it a bit more contrast compared to the standard.

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The front lip is Kansai Service’s own design and is a nice alternative to the more popular V-Limited lip. You’ll also notice the not so exciting Seibon decal in the top right and there’s an interesting theory about that…

I’m sure many of you have become aware of Seibon’s presence on Kansai Service builds over the last few years. Apparently this boils down to the hierarchy of power in the Japanese tuning industry. Rays Engineering and Option basically run the show in Japan and Rays’ collaboration with Seibon a few years back is presumed to be the cause of more of their products popping up on Japanese demo cars. Small tuning outfits rely heavily on their exposure through Option (who has a tight relationship with Rays) and as a sign of good faith, they like to ruffle feathers as little as possible with the top brass. I would in no way claim this as fact, but it’s a theory that’s been floating around for a few years and it all seems a little too convenient to not have elements of truth. The Japanese are obsessed with quality and innovation, neither of which are things that Seibon represents, so it would be odd for respected Japanese tuning shop use their products without some kind of ulterior motive.

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Performance-wise the Kansai Service STI features the usual combination of intake and exhaust upgrades from HKS and one of the shop’s own carbon air boxes – a nice piece of kit.

Sstay tuned for more frequent Subaru and Japanese car-related mischief.

Photos courtesy of Yokohama.

Subarus Of Instagram

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 03.02.2014 by aclasschris

My apologies for the lack of updates lately. It’s been a very busy few weeks at work, but as things settle down and the Formula 1 season gets underway, I should have a lot of new topics to discuss. Blogs seem to have taken a backseat to Instagram lately and there are certainly lots of great cars to be found on there. Here a couple Subarus I’ve been meaning to post for a while.

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@twelveam’s GDB sporting an all-black theme. I believe the car has gotten some wide fenders installed on the front since this photo was taken. Definitely one of the better looking Bay Area Subarus.

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@ih8vermont’s GDB with a bugeye front end swap and some aggressive NT03s.

Hit me up on Instagram @aclass which has been getting a lot more updates than the blog and as usual, thanks for the support!

Photos courtesy of twelveam, ih8vermont & 247 Media.

2015 Subaru STI

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 01.08.2014 by aclasschris

Ironic, considering I was just discussing the 2015 WRX, that “leaked” photos of the new STI would emerge.

The car is set to debut at the North American International Auto Show and I have my suspicions of just how “leaked” these photos really are.

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I’ll have more thoughts on the car later.

Photos courtesy of Subaru.

Identity Crisis: The Subaru Impreza

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01.05.2014 by aclasschris

The current GVB STI really isn’t a good looking car. When it was first revealed I thought, “give it some time and it will age well”. It hasn’t. In fact it will probably be remembered as one of the least memorable Subarus ever and judging by the 2015 WRX, it’s only going to get worse.

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I email back and forth with my buddy Earl a lot and we often discuss the current state of Subaru, where the brand has been and where it’s headed. Not too long ago he sent me this article from The Truth About Cars. It primarily discusses the way automotive manufacturers are continually using less interesting power plants in their cars and the way competing brands are offering more similar products. One of the article’s more interesting points discusses the way manufacturers are using their brand’s heritage to sell cars and how that will become more important as time goes on.

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Take Subaru for example. They haven’t really raced in years. After pulling out of the WRC in 2008, the Impreza doesn’t have the motor sports tie-in it once did. As a result, Subaru have shifted the car’s focus and rather than building a road-going rally car, they’ve designed the Impreza to be more comfortable and more “luxurious” to compete with the Europeans. The change in direction can’t solely be blamed for its weight gain and stubborn styling. Heightened crash and pedestrian safety regulations are also a major factor. The interesting thing to consider is that the Europeans have to deal with the same kinds of regulations, but they’ve still managed to produce very good looking cars. In fact, 2014 is set to be a stellar year for European car design – the BMW M3, Alfa Romeo 4C, Volkswagen Golf GTI and the absolutely stunning Jaguar F-Type Coupe to name a few. There’s also a new golden age of hyper cars emerging with LaFerrari, McLaren’s P1, the Porsche 918 Spyder and anything Pagani are building at the moment. Consider that and Subaru, who had their best sales year in 2013 are sort of missing the mark.

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But wait, what about the WRX Concept you say? Well that was indeed a very good looking car and shows what Subaru are capable of building, but for whatever reason they’ve decided that the upcoming WRX is good enough. This harks back to the idea of manufactures selling heritage. As a consumer, when you buy the 2015 WRX, you’re buying over 20 years of rallying history and you’re buying a car that was “inspired” by the WRX Concept. In the eyes of the manufacturer it becomes more about everything tied to the car, rather than the car itself.

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You may remember when Subaru first debuted the 2015 WRX, they began producing special videos about past iterations of the Impreza, including the 22B. These were not only intended to showcase some truly great moments in the brand’s history, but to assure the consumer, “yes, this is where we came from and this is what you’re buying into”. While it’s nice in theory, the whole idea falls flat and instead leaves us wishing we could somehow buy a 22B, rather than the current, boring and frankly ugly new WRX.

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Rather than stepping back and recognizing the 22B as their peak, Subaru should be striving to outdo it. Since the WRX has become so similar to the STI, why not make the latter even more outlandish? As of 2015 all you’ll really be getting from buying an STI over the WRX are some big brakes, more aggressive bumpers and lots of badges. Subaru should give it the premium quality and performance it’s price tag warrants. Instead of doing a limited production, JDM-only tS Type RA, make that the standard STI! If they’re trying to emulate the 22B, why not make the new car a coupe, give it more horsepower and then it can truly compete with the M, AMG and S models of the world.

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The Impreza lineup has become complacent and it’s all for the simple fact that it has no competition. Not only is the Mitsubishi Evo extinct, but the brand itself may be in a few years time. The Impreza occupies a place in the Japanese market where it has no competition, so why would Subaru feel the need to actually put that WRX Concept into production? They’re doing just enough to keep enthusiasts on the hook and nothing more. I just hope we don’t see the STIs of the future suffer the same fate as their Mitsubishi counterparts.

The A Class Top 10 Most Read In 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01.01.2014 by aclasschris

2013 was another big year on A Class and I couldn’t be happier with all of the support. Despite it being one of the leaner years in terms of posts, there were some big milestones including the blog’s 5 year anniversary at the beginning of December! A Class also crossed the 1 million mark in total visitors and experienced its busiest day ever with over 1600 views on March 25. Take all of that into account and 2013 was a big success!

In honor of the new year, I wanted to take a look back at the top 10 most read posts in 2013.

1. F1 Legend: The McLaren MP4/4

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McLaren’s MP4/4 is considered by most to be the greatest Formula 1 car of all time. Its 6-cylinder, turbocharged Honda engine was capable of over 1000 HP and helped the car win all but 1 of the Grands Prix it participated in during the 1988 season. At the hands of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, there’s no better car and driver combo to earn the top spot on A Class’ most read posts of 2013. Read the full story.

2. NISMO Omori Factory: The R-Tune

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These days it’s become pretty common for car enthusiasts and bloggers alike to make to pilgrimage to Japan. However back in 2006 the closest most of us got to our Japanese tuning idols was through DVDs and YouTube. I was fortunate enough to make the trip to the Land of The Rising Sun and visit NISMO Omori Factory in Tokyo. My accounts of the visit are some of the articles I’m most proud of and they’ve also proven to be the most popular. The R-Tune parked outside Omori Factory was one of those “pinch me” moments that I’ll always cherish. Read the full story.

3. BenSopra 180SX At TAS

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Any Japanese auto enthusiast will tell you that 2013 was the year of Miura-san. The head designer for Rocket Bunny and a slew of other Japanese tuning houses was churning out a new build seemly every month. While things started with a bang at Tokyo Auto Salon last January, the style and the hype quickly grew tired. Love his designs or not, you have to respect that Miura-san took full advantage of his time in the spotlight and the way things are going, we’ll be seeing more of his work for many years to come. Read the full story.

4. Kansai Service 86 & BRZ At TAS

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There was no other car in 2013 that captured the collective imagination of the automotive industry quite like the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ. Many called it the savior of the tuning industry and for good reason because the car absolutely revitalized it. At its core the 86/BRZ is a throwback car, a greatest hits of what true enthusiasts love most about driving – a fizzy engine at the front, a proper manual in the middle and RWD at the back. Kansai Service did their part in creating 2 shining examples of what the aftermarket has to offer at last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. Read the full story.

5. NISMO Omori Factory: Part I

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At its core, A Class has always been about my love for all things Japanese tuning and motor sports. I can’t think of a place where the 2 meet in perfect harmony better than NISMO Omori Factory in Tokyo. The articles I wrote about my experience there in 2006 have been some of the most read ever on the blog and 2013 was no different. NISMO has since moved to a new location but the old showroom was absolute magic. Read the full story.

6. Rocket Bunny FR-S

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More validation that Miura-san and the Toyota 86 dominated the Japanese tuning landscape in 2013. While you’re likely to see carbon copies at meets and shows around the world, this is the car that started it all, an imported Scion FR-S with a touch of madness. I’ve grown tired of the repetitive nature and overly hyped trends of the industry in 2013, but give credit where it is certainly due. Read the full story.

7. Throwback Thursdays: Lancia Delta Integrale

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I adore Italian cars and this is proof that I should feature them more often. Their presence and style are difficult to match and the Delta Integrale is one of those rare Lancias that actually drove and worked as good as it looked. In my dream garage there would most certainly be one of these in red with a tan interior. Read the full story.

8. Okachan’s C-SER GRB STi

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Yashio Factory’s Okamura-san is one of the most outspoken and well known personalities in the Japanese tuning industry. Known for his fascination with the color pink and building some of the fastest Silvias on the planet, Okachan began working with Subarus and started C-SER. The brand has become a mainstay in the Japanese time attack scene, offering a wide selection of power and suspension components for later model STis. Where other manufacturers have shied away from Subaru in recent years, C-SER has filled the void. Read the full story.

9. Tokyo Auto Salon 2013

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There are few things in the automotive industry more exciting than Tokyo Auto Salon. Every January the Makuhari Messe comes alive with the latest and greatest the Japanese tuning industry has to offer and 2013 was no exception. While the show has dwindled from its glory years last decade, it’s still something to behold. Many things really are bigger in Japan and car shows are certainly one of them. Read the full story.

10. ‘Leave Me Alone’ Tee

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The most famous quote in international motor sport in 2012. During the final laps on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, (then) Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen barked the now infamous words “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” to his engineer before taking his first win of 2012. In the last 2 seasons, Raikkonen was managed to win the Formula 1 fan base over by being himself. In a sport dominated by scripted responses and corporate contracts, Kimi has always been Kimi. Things got ugly at the end of 2013 between the driver and the cash-strapped Lotus, who weren’t able to pay him. Now off to Scuderia Ferrari in 2014, Raikkonen was just named the most popular driver in the sport by a recent poll on F1 Fanatic. Read the full story.

2013 saw many trends come and go within the tuning industry. It saw Mark Webber retire from Formula 1 amidst a major identity crisis for the sport. There was Audi dominating Le Mans, a new hyper car war between McLaren, Porsche and Ferrari and the tragic skiing accident involving Michael Schumacher – may we wish him the very best with his recovery. There was hype, there was bankruptcy, there was Chris Harris power sliding an all of our computers. But most of all, 2013 was a proper year to be a petrolhead. Farewell 2013 and hello to an exciting new year. All the best in 2014.

Subaru’s Unicorn: The 22B

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 12.05.2013 by aclasschris

Hey Subaru, how about doing us all a favor and building a few thousand more?

Not only is the 22B the best Subaru ever made, it’s one of the best cars ever made, ask any real petrol head and they’ll tell you the same.

A WRC car for the road and with only 400 units produced, it’s the definition of exclusivity. There’s at least one of these in the dream garage I stroll through before falling asleep at night…

Video courtesy of Subaru.

Okachan’s C-SER GVF STI

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 11.11.2013 by aclasschris

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C-SER has been flying under the radar for the last few years. If you haven’t heard of them, they are Yashio Factory’s Subaru brand. While their GVF demo car isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it’s nice to see Okachan working with the new generation STI.

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The GVF is the brand’s latest demo car and showcases some of C-SER’s unqiue exterior pieces including a rear wing and front canards (which actually look great).

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The upgrades are more than skin deep including a slew of suspension upgrades and C-SER’s titanium exhaust.

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When it comes to the GVB/F STI, it’s been pretty slim pickings the last couple of years. The car never really took off in the same way as previous iterations of the Impreza and aftermarket brands have followed suit. Perhaps the $40k price tag has something to do with it?

Photos courtesy of C-SER.

Discowagon’s Timeless STI

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 11.07.2013 by aclasschris

Who’s completely over SEMA this week? Lets get back to reality with a very clean STI on this Throwback Thursday.

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The car owned by Discowagon, is yet another fine example of sticking to a formula that works. The Prodrive wheels and Varis lip are a perfect fit.

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Cars like this will never go out of style.

Photos courtesy of luis3rd.

Two Sides Of The Subaru Coin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10.19.2013 by aclasschris

This week’s episode of /TUNED was pretty interesting and did a great job of showing the two very distinctive halves of the Subaru community.

First, there’s the Slammed Society GC8 complete with ruined fenders and Rota wheels because that’s what all HellaFlush Subarus rock. Props to the owner for doing a clean EJ25 swap, which is rendered useless because the car is bordering on undrivable. This car is pretty representative of where the Subaru community has been headed for the last 3 years.

On the other side of the spectrum, the second car is much more my speed and apparently Matt Farrah’s as well. The owner gets bonus points for the JDM EJ207 swap and seems to have an eye for quality parts – I didn’t know the Tomei made an exhaust for the GC8. This car is more along the lines of what many of us would hope to do with a GC8 build. The instant power and tuned suspension take full advantage of the car’s compact size.

This is why videos are fantastic because they tell the story you’re not seeing in photos. Perhaps the stance car looks more interesting in the NASIOC gallery, but which car do you think will put the bigger smile on your face behind the wheel? My thoughts exactly.

Video courtesy of /DRIVE.

Bay Area Bugeye

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09.15.2013 by aclasschris

Here’s something you don’t see everyday, a nicely built bugeye WRX.

I really like this build and it reminds me of many of the cars I used to lust for about 10 years ago. When it comes to bugeyes there are few better options than the STI V2 front lip and a set of JDM projector headlamps.

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This car looks to have all sorts of interesting parts, including the Ganador side mirrors and discontinued ARC intercooler.

I’m interested to learn more so if anyone reading knows the owner, let me know in the comments. I see a Speed Element sticker on the windshield – shop car? Great build and happy to see people are still doing things the good old-fashioned way!

Photo courtesy of 247 Media.

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