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As a young aspiring car enthusiast in Canada, your choices are somewhat limited in what you “should” invest in. I place quotation marks around the “should” because everybody’s opinion will differ surrounding this question. At the time I didn’t have the funds for two vehicles (summer and winter cars) nor the space so my year round daily was going to have to be something that could put up with the elements which is why I chose a turbo awd platform. Having been involved with the MCM guys, my obvious choice was a Subaru. I considered other models and manufacturers but I always deviated back to the flat four. I originally tried to source a swapped gc8 due to power to weight ratio, but given my budget at the time most were very poorly done and in unforgiving condition. For whatever reason, one day I decided to expand my search parameters and stumbled up a half finished gd swap with all the paperwork and after checking it out I decided to take a chance and went in on it. I like to say I’ve overhauled the vehicle mechanically from top to bottom. I started with some basic body work by painting the front bumper and debadging the trunk then with an exterior detail and set off from there. Without going into too many details, I’ve replaced all the bushings in the car, got a rebuilt transmission, front subframe, control arms, axels, clutch, intercooler, turbo, intake, fuel pump, downpipe, custom varex catback and overhauled the interior a few times. I didn’t intend to make stupid power with the car and wanted to replace any and all with OEM related parts where I could, which is why most parts are STi or group n level. My most recent mod is my catch can set up which I built myself. I wasn’t burning oil but seeing that most Subaru enthusiasts attributing blow by to premature motor failures, I wanted to make sure I took as many preventative measures as I could. The best bang for buck mod one can do to a Subaru is a (used) Cobb AP or tactrix cable coupled with a protune or etune. Regardless of whether you have mods it corrects many aspects of the factory tune and the datalogging aspect really puts me at ease. Cobb offers a lot of support and teaches the basic of EFi tuning and reading your cars parameters, so once you master that you can go back and analyze the data to see how the car is performing. It’s a wonderful safety measure, gives you a piece of mind and nets you power. Otherwise I would have to say it has to be the catch cans. You can build them yourself on a budget and they pay dividends in the long run. I know a lot of guys go for high horsepower with their turbo Subaru builds but that was never my intention. There were a lot of parts that my car needed replacing or upgrading and in my opinion the engineers at Subaru know what’s best for their cars. Going with STi and group n replacements were I could gave me the piece of mind that the longevity of the car would be preserved. My car is a daily, not a race car, so going with aftermarket parts instead would have netted a stiffer ride and perhaps caused compounding effects on other components of the car. This goes without saying aftermarket parts are never as reliable as OEM parts are, which in a daily is important. Having a friend there to help you install anything on the car is always a must for me because it makes the job quicker, leaves you with fun memories and is a safety measure. Always put a spare tire under the car when getting under it, even if you have jack stands. The biggest challenge I had with this build was restoring it to its original “daily” status. Considering there are many aspects of the car that were removed to make way for the new motor and harness, I had to correct quite a few things. If it were a race car I wouldn’t have cared but considering it is my daily they were of concern to me. The radio didn’t work and the speakers were blown, the dome light was no longer wired, windshield wipers didn’t work and of course my ongoing issue of the no ac and airbags which due to budget constraints haven’t been resolved. Just silly electrical issue that were never addressed that I put a lot of time into. I honestly don’t have much planned for the car currently aside from maybe resolving the AC issue and possibly lowering it on STi pinks. I’ve been driving the car in its current state for a few years now and it’s been nothing but fun and reliable. I recently went back to a WRX interior because the blue STi interior got old. Knowing me, I might change it to another color in the future if I keep the car. Getting a bit older now my tastes have moved off of the whole go fast mentality so I’m hoping to build a newer narrowbody wrx as my next daily. Obviously not to the same extent as this car however I plan to have fun with it as well. My car is currently for sale for those interested, but I’m not in a rush to sell. If you've made it this far down the page here is my car in a nutshell: it' technically a 2003 Impreza 2.5RS, whereas today it only vaguely looks the part. It's basically an 06 WRX clone in a bugeye shell with a fair amount of STi goodies.Originally when I bought this car, I knew full well it was a project considering it was only partially swapped, unfinished and broken. In hindsight I bit off a little more than I could chew. Upon investigation I kept discovering things that needed to be fixed, replaced or upgraded and let me tell you, it's been a long journey. I've done all the work myself (bodywork included) and it's been extremely rewarding; despite all the days where I ran into issues. It's been a wonderful daily driver that has never left me stranded, whether it was in -40c winter or +40c summers. It could be a little more refined sure, seeing as though there is no sound damping or A/C but that's alright, I feel as though it gives the car some character. Stay tuned to read on about the history of the car and thanks for checking out my ride.
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