The current (VA) STI has never really done it for me. A car that was cultivated after the relationship between Subaru and Toyota began and it appears too much of the latter seeped into its styling. AFTER /DRIVE described it as “corporate ugly” and I agree with them. The design-by-committee handbook has become the standard for Subaru’s entire lineup. If the new Toyota GT-86 (BRZ) and Impreza are any indicators, the future isn’t looking promising either.
The good news is we can always count on racing outfits and the performance market to show a car’s true potential. Prodrive is a name that’s become synonymous with Subaru and the two have teamed up to produce a car with one goal – set a new lap record at the Isle of Man.
Road & Track were the first to show pictures of the car and it’s a stunning thing.
Three parts WRC, GT and Time Attack, it shows the potential of the VA STI when the right people (Prodrive) get a hold of it.
Driver Mark Higgins will attempt the lap record before this year’s Isle of Man TT. No performance figures have been released, but expect more details about the car in the coming months.
Now if Prodive could just put that aero kit into production, I may rethink my position on the VA STI.
Last year I featured an S203 owned by NASIOC member jal723. I had also mentioned that he previously owned a particularly nice GDB kitted in some very rare ZERO/SPORTS aero. Well here it is.
ZERO/SPORTS are probably best known for their striking aero kit designed for the hawkeye Impreza. A kit that was widely seen on their time attack car in the mid-2000s. However the brand has a long history of aero and performance modifications that date back to the GC and this particular look is one of my all time favorites. When paired with a retrofitted STI V-Limited lip, the ZERO/SPORTS front bumper takes on a whole new character.
When compared to the likes of Varis and Voltex, ZERO/SPORTS comes off a little tame, which wouldn’t be something we said 10 years ago. Times change however and this aero has only gotten better with age. Looks are very important, but ZERO/SPORTS have always been very concerned with functionality. That gaping front opening is ideal for the largest of intercoolers and the brake ducts provide a constant stream of fresh, cool air for maximum performance. While these aren’t typical needs of your average street car, it’s nice to know your modifications are up to the challenge if and when it comes.
The rear of the STI is significantly more tame with some OEM side spats and a very rare Genome exhaust. Tasteful execution is found all throughout the build. Even the Prodrive GC-010E wheels are a unique choice that perfectly accompanies the aero and WRB finish.
Nowadays buzz words like “fitment” and “stance” are held in higher regard that a properly finished exterior which makes cars like jal723’s old STI even more special.
Sadly the car has long been sold, but he’s upgraded to something even more interesting with the S203.
The Europeans have always been known for their unique approach to modifying Subarus. While Americans were obsessed with everything JDM, the European’s interests lied in rallying – the Impreza’s roots. The rally style has become synonymous with European-built Subarus and it’s one of my favorite approaches to modifying the car.
While this particular GDA isn’t European, it certainly looks the part. Prodrive used to run the SWRT and they’re well represented throughout this car. Really nice build and a style that I wish we saw more of today.
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.
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.