Tasteful Discretion: '02 WRX with a JDM Touch

When Subaru first brought the WRX to American shores in 2002, no one could have imagined the impact it would have on the automotive world. Ten years later, the rally-bred Impreza has become almost clichéd - it seems like everyone has a friend with a 500-hp STi. What you don’t see very often is an Impreza that stands out from the crowd, particularly in Colorado. On September 22, 2001, Scott Lindsay took ownership of one of the first "bugeyes” in the States. Not only was he kind enough to drive down from Denver for this photo shoot, he agreed to let Tommy Boileau put the car through its paces on the banks of Pikes Peak International Raceway.


Scott is the kind of guy who pays attention to details, and this fact is illustrated by the quality of the parts found throughout his WRX – nothing generic here. Rather than shoot for astronomical horsepower numbers, Scott decided to settle on a reliable level of performance the stock engine could easily handle.
Motivation is provided by an internally-gated TD05-18G turbocharger from TEC. A Blitz SUS filter keeps debris and small animals from being ingested by the compressor wheel, and a DEI-wrapped Invidia stainless steel manifold directs exhaust gasses onto the turbine, which are then routed to the rear of the car via a full 3” Invidia system.

A bumper-filling Perrin bar-and-plate intercooler was selected to increase charge air density, forcing Scott to remove the fog lights to make room for the polished 3” piping. Samco hoses and T-bolt hose clamps throughout ensure all 21 psi of boost pressure makes it to the throttle body. While it may sound wicked, compressor surge is the death cry of a turbocharger. A Perrin bypass valve was enlisted to keep the compressor wheel healthy, as well as decrease lag between shifts. Don't worry, it sounds killer.
Perrin fuel rails, 800cc injectors and a Walbro 255-lph pump ensure an adequate supply of 91-octane is delivered to the combustion chambers. The air/fuel ratio is managed via an Ecutek system tuned by Harvey Epstein of The Boost Creep Ltd, out of Longmont, Colorado.

A stout MRT radiator and STi cap keep water temps in check, and a matching blue Samco hose kit replaces every factory coolant hose with a more durable silicone piece. A Perrin silicone radiator overflow tank rounds out the cooling system.
The guts of the stock 5-speed tranny have been upgraded with the beefier STi Type-RA gearset, which Scott had cryo-treated for additional strength. An Exedy clutch and flywheel combo guarantee the engine’s power makes it to the wheels, while the STi-sourced short shifter allows for the quickest possible gear changes.

The suspension is where this car really shines – virtually every piece except the lateral links have been upgraded. Tein Flex coilovers, complete with the EDFC control system, provide the stance and precise handling Scott was looking for. STi engine and transmission mounts reduce drivetrain slop, while forged aluminum control arms strengthen and lighten the entire suspension. Next, a whole slew of Cusco parts were ordered up, including a titanium front strut bar, front and rear sway bars and a beefy triangular brace that ties the rear strut towers to the floor of the trunk. A Do-Luck 8-point chassis brace and dual subframe bars stiffen the ‘Rex even more, while a bolt-in Cusco roll cage adds a touch of motorsport to the interior.

A Wilwood big brake kit is more than up to the task of bringing the car to a dead halt in a very short distance. Up front, 6-piston calipers clamp massive cross-drilled and slotted 12.88” rotors. In the rear, the 4-piston binders grab 12.19” drilled and vented discs. For the best pedal feel and most consistent stops, a set of stainless steel brake lines was installed.

Speaking of the interior, Scott decided to graft the front and rear seats, door panels, floor mats and pedals from a Japanese-spec STi into his car. A JDM (metric) gauge cluster with a center-mounted tach and shift light is a particularly nice touch, as is the carbon fiber interior trim kit. Mounted centrally on the dash is a Blitz gauge pod housing three 60mm Blitz gauges – oil pressure, exhaust gas temp and boost pressure. To avoid any pesky speeding tickets, a Passport 8500 radar detector/laser jammer was hardwired into the dash. A GReddy turbo timer gives the 18G’s center section a chance to cool down, while a Blitz boost controller handles pressure management duties. A Prodrive shift knob and Sparco steering wheel with removal hub adapter finish off the interior.

For the exterior, Scott used a carefully-chosen blend of factory and aftermarket parts. At the front, STi headlights, grille, side markers and fender markers (all JDM, of course) provide an updated look, while a lightweight Kaminari carbon fiber hood secured with Sparco hood pins adds style and performance. The front and rear lip spoilers are Chargespeed pieces, while the stunning carbon fiber trunk was sourced from Monster Sport. Instead of aftermarket side skirts, Scott chose to simply spray the rocker panels with Subaru’s World Rally Blue to match the rest of the car. To protect the paint, 3M clear bra was applied to the front bumper, headlights, rocker panels, fenders, doors and side mirrors. Our favorite aspect of the car’s exterior is the set of 18x8.5 Advan RCII wheels, which fit the car perfectly, in both size and spoke design. Falken RT-615 rubber provides the contact patch.

In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, this is an extremely well-done Subaru – we tip our hats to Scott for his use of tasteful discretion throughout the car. Only the best parts were selected and used sparingly. We’d also like to thank Pikes Peak International Raceway for letting us use their facilities to photograph and test the car. Scott was all smiles as he rode shotgun while Tommy pushed the car to its limits around the track. The distinct whimper of the blow-off valve, combined with the trademark rumble of the EJ20, sounded fantastic. Once the car was good and hot, it started shooting 2-foot-long flames out the back, which was a nice touch. At one point, Tommy braked so hard coming into the hairpin that the rear section of the exhaust popped off the rubber hangers, leaving the muffler swinging around freely. If only every WRX we saw was this good.


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Write a CommentCOMMENTS

Good article but the music in the video is super ghey!

Oaksy5115's Profile Image

Can't get much better than that.


Now that is a Subie done right! People need to take a note out of this guy's book.

Taloniv's Profile Image

That is pretty damn sweet and away from the "run-of-the-mill" Imprezas you usually see roaming around. Very well executed.

Superwagon's Profile Image

Very well put together. Enjoyed reading the article and the video was top notch!!

Rockysds's Profile Image

Absolutely gorgeous. Always refreshing when a build is executed with a plan in place!

Jp-Edgeautosport's Profile Image

Awesome car. Impressive to say the least.