The Journey, Not The Destination

It’s not about the destination, but the journey we take to get there. No truer words could be said about Chris Fontecchio’s 2006 WRX Limited.


Something has been happening the last few years in the Subaru community. What was once bought solely for a lack of other options has now taken on a legendary status amongst Impreza owners. The GDA was the first iteration of the WRX to be sold in America and for many, the car’s love-hate looks were a point of heated debate. Now however, the car has aged like a fine wine and the bugeye has become one of the most sought after Imprezas. As newer models have gotten chunkier and more cumbersome, the aggressive rally styling of the GDA has put it in the discussion of becoming a future classic. The thought of owning a bugeye is easy enough, but finding one that hasn’t been used and abused is another matter entirely.

What if you didn’t need to find one though, what if you just built your own? That’s exactly what Chris set out to do.


What started life as a daily driven 2006 WRX Limited has become a track car in the making and the passion project of an owner who does things the old school way. By day, Chris is an engine tech and he’s put all of his knowledge and skill to use building the car himself.


It’s hard work and the drive to produce a truly unique Impreza that has seen Chris’ car with 2 engine builds and a complete JDM bugeye front end conversion.

What we have here could be the ideal GD Impreza – bugeye looks with an updated interior and all the benefits of a built (2006) STI EJ257.


Under the hood lies an EFI Logics tuned EJ257 short block with 255 heads and 257 cams. A Garrett GTX3076R aids the car in achieving 341 whp and 326 tq at 19 psi.

The attention to detail on Chris’ Impreza is truly stunning and the selection of parts even more so. It’s a conversation we’ve had time and time again on ACLASS and in this age of knockoffs, taking the time to source the real deal deserves proper admiration.


For now the interior remains fully intact with some upgrades including a very plush Prova alcantara steering wheel which Chris calls the best mod, hands down. The alcantara trimmed, full interior may eventually give way to a roll cage as the car takes on more track day duties.


As nice as the interior is, it’s the exterior that really sets off this Impreza’s looks. The car has been repainted with 3 coats of European WRB for a shine that’s a slightly darker than standard. To protect the new paint job, Chris has had 70% of the exterior wrapped in clear bra to prevent rock chips. Up front an STI V2 front lip has been custom molded to be seamless, while JDM side spats round off the new look. At the back, a Do-Luck carbon trunk adds subtle sportiness.

It’s the kind of exterior I love because it’s a car that truly appeals to enthusiasts. To the untrained eye, Chris’ Impreza could be just another sports sedan, but to those who know, the car is full of details waiting to be discovered.


So where does the journey go from here? It continues forever of course. Chris will never sell the car and probably never finish it. The exterior is on pause for now while he focuses on power and handling. Despite it’s flawless condition, this is a car that gets used both on the street and at the track.

I’m always going on about the complete build – a car that perfectly blends looks with performance because one cannot exist without the other. Chris continues to succeed with this in a way few other Subaru owners are. This is a project both old and new Subaru owners can be excited about for many years to come because like wine, it will only keep getting better with age.

A big thank you to Chris Fontecchio for reaching out over Instagram and sharing his car with me! Check out the comments section for the full parts list.

Photos courtesy of Serg Rangel.


One comment

  1. Chris Fontecchio’s 2006 Subaru WRX Limited full parts list.


    • EFI Logics tuned 341 whp / 326 wtq / 19 psi (conservative)
    • EJ257 short block / 255 heads / 257 cams
    • ARP head studs
    • Killer B oil pickup and baffle
    • Killer B oil pan
    • 11mm oil pump
    • TIC TGV deletes
    • Ported throttle body
    • Tomei equal length headers/uppipe
    • Cobb Tuning turbo back (catless)
    • Garret GTX3076R OEM location turbo w/billet wheel
    • Tial 44mm wastegate
    • AMR 3″ hard inlet pipe and big MAF short-ram intake
    • Grimmspeed TMIC
    • Grimmspeed electronic boost solenoid
    • NGK spark plugs (0.25 gap)
    • DW1000cc injectors
    • DW fuel pump
    • Mishimoto radiator
    • Mishimoto cooling fans
    • Mishimoto silicone radiator hoses
    • Air pump delete


    • Clutch Masters 6 puck sprung clutch
    • Fidanza 14lb aluminum flywheel
    • Goodridge braided clutch line
    • Group N mounts and pitch stop
    • TIC  shifter linkage and bushing
    • Go Fast Bits short shifter
    • Whiteline cross member bushings
    • Whiteline rear diff bushings
    • David Curaso rear diff skid plate


    • KW Variant 1 coilovers
    • Cusco front and rear camber plates
    • Whiteline 22mm front sway bar
    • Whiteline 24mm rear sway bar
    • Whiteline front and rear end links
    • Whiteline rear lateral links
    • Whiteline rear toe lock kit
    • Whiteline front tie rod / ball joint kit
    • Whiteline front and rear trailing arm bushings
    • TIC rear x-brace
    • Cusco front power brace


    • OEM front and rear 4/2 piston calipers (matte silver)
    • Stoptech front and rear cross-cut rotors
    • Hawk HPS front and rear pads
    • Goodridge front and rear braided lines
    • ARP extended wheel studs


    • Enkei NT03+M 18×9.5 +40 (Ferrari 457 matte grey)
    • Dunlop Direzza 255/35/18
    • H&R 5mm rear spacer


    • Prova D-Ring Alcantara wheel
    • Alcantara wrapped door cards
    • Alcantarta shift / brake boot (red stitch)
    • Alcantara wrapped triple gauge pod
    • Oil pressure / temp gauges
    • GReddy turbo timer
    • Prodrive STI cluster
    • STI Genome 5-speed  shift knob
    • Sony double din


    • 2002 JDM Impreza nose clip
    • JDM Impreza multi-coat fogs
    • JDM STI V2 front lip (molded)
    • JDM STI side spats
    • 2002 WRX side skirts
    • 2005 STI rear flares
    • 2005 STI rear bumper
    • 2005 STI rear diffuser
    • 2005 tail lights (custom LED lighting)
    • JDM STI projector headlamps (OEM ballast)
    • JDM STI front grill
    • JDM STI hood scoop
    • JDM aluminum hood
    • JDM clear side markers
    • 2002 side mirrors (Prova blue lens wide view mirror glass)
    • 2006 STI rear vane
    • Do-Luck carbon trunk (painted)

    Not Installed:

    • OEM fog covers
    • OEM mesh fog covers
    • JDM STI V2 front lip
    • Prodrive front lip
    • Prodrive UK300 headlamps
    • Prodrive front grill
    • OEM grill sides
    • Spare front bumper
    • Spare trunk

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