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BRAAP - A 2000 Subaru WRSTI Love Story

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

I have a love affair for Gran Turismo. Been playing it since the original PlayStation and I've largely filled my garage in each passing version with the same set of cars over and over again. It flamed my early Japanese crushes and introduced me to the wonderful world of limited-spec editions, lightweights and CSLs.

Black MK3 Supra? Check.

Nissan SKYLINE GT-R V in Midnight Purple? Double Check.

When Gran Turismo 3 hit I was introduced to the holy grail of Subarus and found a permanent fixture in my digital garage - the Subaru IMPREZA Coupe 22B-STi Version '98. Ever since then, I've been obsessed with it; so much so that when a good friend of mine graduated college and was looking for a new car in 1999 I insisted he buy a RS Coupe. Close enough in my book. He was asking me about Camaros and Mustangs and other bullshit domestic junk of that era and I felt it was my duty to steer him straight.

We test drove a white 2000 Impreza RS and he was so enamored he bought it on the spot. Fast forward 12 years, 3 kids and 1 fire hydrant later he is looking to move on from the tight quarters of the coupe into something more reasonable. We had a standing agreement that if he ever thought about selling that car I would be guaranteed the right of first refusal.

I could not and did not refuse. I bought it from him on the spot. I drove it faithfully back and forth to York, PA every week for work for almost 7 months and racked up a ton of miles on it. Eventually every single gasket that could leak did and I thought to myself "I'm a full-blown Lemons-level mechanic, let me attempt to pull the motor and refresh this thing myself."

Getting the motor physically out of the car? EASY!!

Taking off the heads? Piece of cake!

Having a second kid and waiting 6 months before looking at it again? Well, shit, there's the rub. I'm okay at disassembly, but remembering where everything went and putting it all back together? In the right order? Yeah, that wasn't happening.

So, I let it sit for another year (two) in the garage taking up a coveted indoor spot in the winter. And yes, I made my wife park in the driveway in the snow for two consecutive winters carrying an infant and a toddler. To be fair, the second spot in my garage was occupied with a busted Lemons / ChampCar named Dunkin D'sNuts so I also parked in the driveway in the snow. I'm not a monster.

In the fall of 2019 the pieces started to come together and M3TRIC Motorsports began to become a reality. In my mind what better project to open the doors with than completing my long abandoned project - but instead of just put the same old 2.5 RS motor back in there, swing for the fences and start building my very own Gran Turismo 22B!

(not mine, obviously.. but what a glorious car!)

First Step - Buy a wrecked wrex

Complete with DragonballZ shift boot! CHECK!

Step 2: Strip it to the bones and take off everything of value

We pulled the interior, the motor, the trans, the driveshaft, axles, wheels and even that little tow hook thing all the ricers put on their Hondas.

Step 3: Does it fit?

Hells yeah. Like Legos. While the motor was out, we did the timing and the mad scientist Solgie custom fabricated the oil pan to fit the new equal length exhaust headers. Swapped in the trans, axles and rear diff from the GD donor chassis. That was a Pro-Tip from the good folks running GCs at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally.

Update the steering wheel? Oh yeah!

Refresh the rear seats with the blue inserts from the WRX? Why not! They kinda fit and don't have nearly the same amount of dog hair and baby puke as the old ones.

Step 4: Wiring

I'm letting the Pros handle this one. I took the dash out, but I'm not even going to pretend to help.

From what I could understand, Solgie merged together the engine side harness into the stock RS loom - but only the engine management parts and we're using the WRX ECU. Props to the man here, this was a LOT of hours meticulously labeling wire by wire, splice, solder, seal, repeat. All the patience paid off as the car starts right up and all the gauges work.

Step 5: Moar Powah

I'm just going to leave this right here..

That's where the project currently sits. Solgie is finishing up fabrication on the wastegate dump tube and connecting up the front-mount intercooler. We're probably 2 weeks out from hooning around the block and doing some butt-dyno pulls. Stay Tuned!!

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