"Yo Jonny, hold on to my camera stuff for a minute, I need to use the restroom."
"Dammit, Carter, can't you make it through one Hot Import Nights without taking a leak?"
"Dude you know I have the bladder of a six-year old girl. And it doesn't help that we had all that soda with that salty Chicago dog-damn thing didn't even have any ketchup! Just chill here for a second, next to that gold car."
"What gold car? Oh snaps. That Impreza's clean! Carter, I think we just a found a feature car..."
I'm not sure if it's from the water plumbed from Lake Michigan or from all the damn wind, but there's a unique trait to Chicago. Residents of the windy city have a natural propensity for doing things big. From thick Giordano's pizzas to tall skyscrapers to huge Mr. Beef Italian Beef sandwiches to gi-normous stores off of Michigan Ave, when it comes to building things they don't mess around-especially when it comes to their rides. Ming Ng (yes, he's missing a vowel) with his '00 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS is no exception.
Quiet at first, Ming comes off reserved, living up the "shy" in Chi-town. Start talking to him about cars, and the Junior at University of Illinois at Chicago springs to life. Like all Chicagoans, Ming wanted to do big things with a project car while going against the typical grain. "At the time I bought the 2.5RS, Subaru's weren't popular at all and I wanted to do something different," Ming explains. And "something different" Ming definitely did.
One of the obvious shortcomings of the 2.5RS GC8 is the motor. Although it comes equipped with the standard Subaru all-wheel drive, it lacks the panache of its Japanese counterpart and its younger sibling, the US spec GD-chassis WRX-the one that comes with a turbocharged EJ powerplant. Utilizing research expertise from his Industrial Design major, Ming discovered that a turbocharged EJ20 motor out of a JDM STi would fit easily into his engine bay using the stock mounts. The only thing that needed to be changed was the US crossmember for a Japanese unit. The hard part now would be sourcing a complete JDM EJ20 motor in the States.
After much calling around and waiting, followed by more waiting, Ming's patience paid off. He was able to track down a complete front clip stuffed with a fresh motor with only 6,000 kilometers of Wangan abuse. With the complete changeover shipped to the Chinatown part of his Chicago address, Ming called on his buddy Ron from RS Motors in Minneapolis to perform the transplant. While the physical act of pulling the old motor and replacing it with the STi setup was relatively easy, the tricky part was figuring out the wiring. Translation? Don't try this at home, kiddies.
The newly swapped motor up and spooling, Ming had Dylan at DSI Motorsports mod the car with a Shedd Aquarium-like wide-range of goodies acquired through Fizz Autosports and Top Speed. A Zerosports intake with HKS filter, HKS manifold, Invidia downpipe, Helix up pipe, SARD blow-off valve, Denso spark plugs, ARC top-mount intercooler and pulley cover, Blitz SBC i-Color, Syms oil cap, Exedy clutch, and C-West carbon map sensor cover all found their way into the car; after which Dylan fit an Autopower six-point rollcage and mounted a set of Defi gauges and gauge pod.
Once DSI Motorsports was done installing the bolt-on modifications; Ming asked Joey from Top Speed, Ming's old workplace, for a favor of the firm-yet totally non-phallic-kind. Needing suspension components, Ming asked Joey for (cheap) pricing on a slew of them from Tein Super Street coilovers to Cusco antiroll bars, strut braces and bushings. To complete the suspension component, Ming looked to Mackin Industries and their 17-inch light-in-weight but heavy-in-style limited edition TE37 wheels. Ming then had the black-faced rims shod in BFGoodrich tires and purchased a rubber screeching four-piston Endless big brake kit.
Ming's next concern was for his safety. With extreme Illinois temperatures and high winds to boot, Ming wanted to make sure that he'd be able to maximize the manhandling of his turbocharged all-wheeled ride. Therefore, he ordered a pair of Brix II seats from Bride and four-point harnesses from Takata to secure him in place. A MOMO shift knob and STi steering wheel and pedals enhance Ming's control over his Scooby, while a Clarion head unit, XTant amp, Alpine speakers and Eclipse subs give him control over his tunes.
When it came to the exterior, Ming wanted the car to glisten both at the car shows and while cruising down the Michigan-lakefront LSD. A Do-Luck body kit and Version 5 STi wing was ordered straight from Japan and after arriving, the Impreza was sent off to Metro Auto Body to perform all the body work. Once all the stock panels were fitted and replaced, Ming had the shop spray the car down with the signature Top Secret Gold paint.
Thanks to a twist of bladdered fate, we stumbled across this golden gem at an earlier Chicago HIN. Glowing amongst its peers, we immediately looked for the owner and arranged to have the car shot at a later visit. Several flights and visits to Ming's Chinatown neighborhood later, you have what you see before you, Ming's own STi dynasty.
SCENE OF THE CRIME
Normally, parking next to the corner bathrooms at a car show isn't a prime spot desired by anyone. Fumes, sounds, and fluids are some of the hazards that spill out onto the floor, basking your prim and proper ride with a funk rivaling that of George Clinton.
Don't fret, yet. Attendees, models, judges, and even editors gotta pee sometime, so next time you're lined up alongside the bathroom, be on the lookout for conspicuous dudes carrying cameras and tripods. Shake their hands and show them your ride-you just might end up a feature. Oh, and in case you're wondering about the damp hands-it's only water (or is it?).
OWNER Ming H Ng
HOMETOWN Chicago, IL
DAILY GRIND Student
POWER 300 hp at 4,000 rpm; 248 lb-ft torque at 4,000 rpm
UNDER THE HOOD JDM STi EJ20 motor; Zero Sports intake pipe; HKS filter, manifold; Denso spark plugs; SARD blow-off valve; ARC top-mount intercooler, pulley cover; Blitz SBC i-Color; Syms oil cap; C-West carbon fiber map sensor cover; Invidia downpipe; Helix up pipe
DRIVETRAIN JDM STi transmission; Exedy clutch
BRAINS stock JDM STi ECU
STIFF STUFF Tein Super Street coilovers; Cusco antiroll bars, strut brace, bushings; Auto Power six-point rollcage
ROLLERS 17x8 Limited Edition Volk Racing TE37; 215/40R17 BFGoodrich tires
STOPPERS Endless four-piston calipers, brake pads
OUTSIDE Do-Luck body kit; Version5 STi wing; Top Secret Gold paint
INSIDE Bride Brix II seats; Takata harnesses; Defi gauges, gauge pod; MOMO shift knob; JDM gauge cluster
ICE Clarion head unit; Alpine speakers; Eclipse subwoofers; Pioneer six-disc changer; Xtant amplifier