Shop owner, Adam, purchased this vehicle off of Craigslist in 2004 with a blown headgasket for $500. When purchased, the vehicle was 100% stock. Since then it has been through multiple AutoX seasons, RallyX seasons, track days, midnight runs, and general "spirited driving events". Now on its 4th major rebuild, it has sat since 2017. We asked Adam to tell us about the car when he first purchased it.
"I remember seeing the add and just going for it. At the time I was living in a basement studio apartment in Shoreline, WA while attending classes at a local community college. The vehicle was in Morton, WA. I didn't even know how far Morton was from Shoreline, and I didn't care. I just knew that I wanted this vehicle. It was the closest thing I could afford to the '98 Impreza 2.5RS Coupe which was my dream car at the time. I jumped on the road and about 3 hours later had secured the vehicle. The headgasket was bad enough that I needed to have it towed back to a friend's house in Kent. From there I started to learn how to fix the car and get it running reliably."
Finally after almost 5 years of sitting it has been pushed off of the wall and steps are being taken to get this car back on the road and hopefully down to some track days. Why did the car sit for so long?
"Well, between the pandemic, having two children and trying to grow the shop, I just haven't had time over the last 5 years. I'm sick of seeing it sit. I want to drive it again. I miss driving a GC as a daily and look forward to the mountain roads that Whatcom County is known for."
This '99 Subaru Impreza Coupe originally came with a 2.2L engine that put out a mind blowing 135 horsepower. It had a 5-speed manual transmission with standard Subaru AWD, an open rear differential, power windows, power door locks, A/C, power steering, and that's about it. It is a perfect platform for a build because being a base model vehicle they don't weigh very much even after being build. It gives a huge power-to-weight advantage. In its last build configuration the car weighed around 3000 lbs with full fuel and a driver. So what is the car's story and what are the plans going forward?
"The story of this car is quite long and ultimately what lead me to opening Northwest Rally Sports. I ran the coupe in a lot of RallyX events throughout Washington and Oregon from 2004 thru 2007. The car was turbo swapped in 2007. Learning how to swap the car over to a turbo engine ultimately led to the creation of both the car and my first business. For the swap I sourced a Version 1 / Version 2 EJ20G engine that was originally outfitted in the Australian Spec Liberty RSRA. The EJ20G engine is a really strong platform. It was a closed deck 2.0L engine that came from STi with forged pistons, ported heads, hydraulic lifters, and oil squirters in the block and heads. It's perfect for building a performance engine. I initially wired it to a JDM Z4 ecu and was happy at about 315 HP. Once turbo swapped I leaned away from RallyX and starting participating in more AutoX and track day events from 2007 to about 2012. Somewhere between '07 an d'12 I installed the 22B replica widebody kit. It was in 2012 that I sold the car to a close friend of mine. The car was eventually sold back to me, at which point I sold it again to a customer. A few years after that it was sold back to me again. It's basically a boomerang. I throw it out there and he keeps coming back. Since buying it back the second time it has been sitting... waiting.
Now that I've revived the project the plan is to do it right, mainly so I don't have to do it again. At this point in the project I've completed the drivetrain and suspension. All it really needs to run is an engine, wiring harness and ecu. The drivetrain and suspension was pulled from an '06 STi (6-speed manual transmission and R180 rear differential). For now I'm going to leave the drivetrain stock but I do have a Cusco 1.5/2 Way Limited Slip Differential that I might throw in there eventually. We swapped out the old coilovers for a new set of Flex coilovers from Tien. All of the knuckle assemblies have been blasted and painted. All four wheel bearings were replaced and new ARP extended lugs pressed into each hub to accommodate almost any wheel size. Whiteline front tierod ends, engine pitch mount, front ball joints, and rear lateral links have been installed. It's running a Mishimoto radiator and I will be installing a Mishimoto front mount intercooler. For the brakes I went with Girodisc two-piece rotors with the factory STi Brembos. I rebuilt the calipers after sending them out for custom paint to match our shop colors. For the engine I'm going to try and use the EJ20G that I originally purchased for the project. We just dropped a video on YouTube showing the teardown of that engine. If it specs out okay then we will use it. If not, then the plan is to build a 2.5L hybrid engine that can take 2.0L heads. I want to run a 2.0L USDM ecu to allow for a drive by cable system but also have broader tuning options. I could keep going here but probably the best thing to do would be to complete the project and provide a build list for anyone interested."
It looks like an amazing project. We're excited to see how everything comes out. Check back for more updates. The guys will be releasing more build videos as they make progress.