It’s been quite a few years since ZERO/SPORTS as we used to know it, has been around. Recently, they were still producing a small lineup of parts for the newer generation Imprezas, they even had a demo car at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. The company’s growing interest in electric vehicles and their desire to meet the demand of a growing industry are why they ultimately failed. Now this is of course my personal opinion. One that stems from the disappointment that they chose to shift the majority of their funding and attention away from performance tuning. The horrendous economy in Japan and the Yen’s plummeting value can also factor into the bigger reason of why the company filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. In the wake of everything else going on in Japan, it seems like a story better left for the bin, but it serves as yet another example that this industry is ever-so-fragile.
Once a dominant force on the time attack circuit, ZERO/SPORTS became known for producing some of the fastest and most aggressive Imprezas ever seen. The BTZ601R gained the most attention because of it’s similarities with the Cyber Evo. Both cars were piloted by Tarzan Yamada in what would end up being one of the biggest rivalries on Tsukuba Circuit.
ZERO/SPORTS demo cars like the BTZ201 where some of my original inspirations. The brand’s aero designs have always fallen into the love or hate category with most, but you can’t deny that they were always trying to do something different. I’m not sure Zero/Sports will ever make a comeback to the Subaru community. Luckily for companies like Greddy and ARC, who saw similar fates, there will always be a market to tap into, more or less. When they were doing well, ZERO/SPORTS was already a very specialized company working with a limited range of products. Times are changing and by the time they can get their situation figured out, that market may be long gone. Modeling street cars off of their time attack counterparts is no longer the dominant trend in the market.
ZERO/SPORTS will always be one of my favorite tuning companies and if they’re done for good, here’s to a fond farewell. You certainly made your mark on many, myself included.