Philip Tabet Profile Photo - San Francisco, CA, USA


Philip Tabet

Product design major. Occasional purist, mostly custom.


1. Tell us the story behind your ride. What made you pick this particular one? Where did you find it? I was looking for something quick, but relatively understated. I also knew myself, and knew whatever I got wouldn't stay stock for long, so I needed something with lots of potential. A friend recommended a Subaru WRX, and I was all for the idea. I decided that the blob eye was my favorite generation impreza, and began my search. My WRX was found about an hour and a half outside the SF bay area, and had already been through 4 owners! I test drove the car, and 30 seconds behind the wheel told me I had to take her home. 2. Describe the modifications you have made. Where did you start, what’s the most recent mod and what motivated it? Well now... I started light. Coilovers, sway bars, suspension bushings. The car had come with a set of '04 STI wheels, so next in was a set of STI Brembo brakes. With the handling dialed in, I started to focus on power. An 18g turbo went in, along with a big top mount intercooler and a custom tune. Happy for a while, the car went through some brake and suspension edits, and a complete STI 6spd swap. Then back to power, I picked up a fully built STI long block from a buddy of mine. In it went, with a Perrin rotated GTX3076R kit and a new tune. The block was short lived, spinning a bearing within 10k miles of being in the car. Then, I went crazy. My friends and I had talked engine swaps before, and I felt that it was finally time. Being all BMW guys, my friends found me an E36 328i M52 engine in good shape, and that was it. We shipped the engine out to get built, saved the turbo and front mount I had in the car, and pulled the rest. A TSSFab rear subframe designed for an S14 r200 provided a perfect rear end solution, as the STI r180 would not have lasted long. The engine and chassis were united, a Haltech 750 was set up to manage things, and we hit the dyno. Thus, the BMWRX was born. The car ended up far exceeding my power expectations, and is a blast to drive. 3. Of all the mods you’ve made, which do you think offers the biggest bang for the buck? Definitely the engine swap. The car is now blisteringly fast, and seems to enjoy being rear wheel drive. The total cost to build the M52 motor was, by my estimate, half to 2/3rds the cost of building a new STI motor to handle that amount of power. The greatest part is that the turbo is what's limiting the motor now, by the builder's estimate the motor he built is capable of over 900 wheel horsepower. This leaves space for future upgrades. 4. How did you go about selecting the specific parts for this build? Any installation tips to share? Suspension components were decided on through research and word of mouth, and my build's evolution. I actually ended up going through 3 different sets of coilovers, upgrading them progressively as the build got more involved. As for the engine, I went with my engine builder's recommendations at every step. I trusted him to steer the build in the right direction. In terms of tips, I'd say save a little more and buy what you think is too good for your car as it currently sits. The extra headroom will definitely be useful as other parts get updated. 5. What’s been the biggest challenge with this build? The biggest challenge with the BMWRX has been getting so many different components to play together, in a car they were never designed to go into. My fabricator and engine builder were both key in getting this project moving, and wouldn't have been possible without them. 6. What are you planning next? Next up for the car is a new clutch setup, as I seem to have grenaded the current one in a few short months of driving. Potentially in the future there will be a bigger turbo, possibly a GTX3582R or similar. I'm a little apprehensive about doing that, because the car is already so quick! Also next is widening the rear wheels, as they barely have enough grip to put the current power down.

Part wanted


United States

Philip Tabet197 days ago

Looking for some 19" AMG 5 spoke wheels off of a w221 S550. Pic Attached, thanks. #wanted #w221 #mercedes

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