Life as a car guy can be very complicated. You spend much of your free time working on your car or planning future modifications while keeping tabs on your "competition". As days go by, you learn more, build more and see more than you realize. One result of these time investments is that you become increasingly more difficult to impress as you age. The days of going to a show and thinking "holy shit, how did he do that!?" or "oh my god that's badass!" are becoming numbered. But one upside to the jaded demeanor, is that when you do find a car that impresses you, it really blows your socks off.
And that's just what Damon McCarthy's STI did to Charles and I the first time it caught our attention. To the untrained eye it might just look like an STI with wheels, but this Suby is no joke. It's got all the right parts in all the right places with no excess - just how a track car should be. Simple, low and well-balanced. No fancy paint scheme on this car, it's built for the track. "This car is as clean as it looks", Damon explained, "And it was built for one function, to go fast, safely." You might be familiar with the saying "white is right" and it really is fitting of this vehicle, especially considering its purpose. It seems McCarthy was up on his JDM knowledge as well, and the color choice was no accident. "It is white-on-white because when you see Japanese test cars they are all white", he tells me, "WWLL... White-on-White, Loud-n-Low." Besides, ask anyone in "the know" - white is the "fastest" color.
Lacking the exterior glitz and glam Damon got right to business, the business of making a serious track car. "I had many influences from friends I trusted... all guys who build cars with the same idea." McCarthy points out " NO fancy stickers, too heavy, NO silly body parts, too heavy, NO big speakers, too heavy." Having built a 2003 Impreza wagon prior to this sedan, many of the parts were quick transplants after the motor in the wagon took a dump for the third time. Picking up the car new in 2005 it was virtually the same as it is today, save for the wheels, only a few months after it was purchased. Many of the parts were one-off, if not the first in the US. One of the few parts he had to wait on was the ARC intercooler, a very nice and extremely rare piece.
The trend is continued throughout the vehicle, top of the line performance and nothing less. The entire car was reworked with meticulous attention to detail and one of three methods was applied: use the best possible part available, leave it alone or remove it completely. Damon is proud, as he should be, of his building method. "There is no fake bullshit on this car, and everything is done to the taste of true Japanese racing enthusiasts." Which lands his GDB firmly in my alley of approval. There is ARC as far as the eye can see once the aluminum hood is raised. Don't let the downplayed exterior fool you, plenty of money was invested in this car, it was just focused on going fast rather than grabbing attention. If you don't believe me, do a search for "ARC Titanium Pulley Cover" and note the cost.
Among the mix in the engine bay you can find a plethora of other Abbey Road goodies as well. We aren't talking cheap nick-knacks either, a radiator, blow-off valve and wastegate can all be spotted. A complete set of SYMS fluid caps are also in place to keep liquids from spilling while sloshing around at the track. The goal for the car is total balance, which is why you don't see parts aimed at maximum power. "It doesn't need to have 500whp to be badass" Damon realized when building the car, "400whp will do just fine and last longer at the track." So with longevity in mind he tuned the engine for the long haul and then started to put the car on a diet.
Inside the newly-acquired vacancy is easily noticeable. Rear paneling, seats, trunk accessories, speakers and more have all been removed. In place of the front seats is a set of Recaro SPGs, replacements for a set of Bride seats that were just a bit too snug for McCarthy. A Defi BF Link keeps all the vitals up on the dash to make sure nothing goes wrong while hot lapping. In the empty trunk there is a lonely Cusco bar with its bright blue finish coordinates appropriately with the door panels and carpet. Matching the trunk bar there are another three braces bolted to the undercarriage to keep all suspension geometry on point, regardless of how hard the car is being pushed.
For those of you who read the Evo story in last month's issue you certainly remember me mentioning how important philosophy is to me when it comes to cars. I don't know if I could agree more with the way this GDB was assembled. I have to admit, if I were going to build a Subaru it would be a near replica of this one. I had more fun shooting these photos than I have in a long time and I really hope you enjoy them. According to Damon he plans on frequenting the track from here out and these photos might just show the car in the most pristine condition it will ever be in.
2005 Suburu WRX Sti
Owner Damon Mccarthy
Hometown Altadena, CA
Daily Grind Production Studio Director power 390whp @ 6550RPM 373lb-ft @ 5000RPM
Under The Hood 2.5L Turbocharged EJ257; AVO Turbo World 800cc injectors and 255 LPH fuel pump; Cusco header; Turbo Techniques TDO20GH turbo; ARC intake, blow-off valve, wastegate, intercooler, intercooler piping, radiator, fan shroud, pulley cover plate, oil catch can; SYMS fluid caps (oil, water, brake, clutch); Samco radiator hoses; Custom exhaust by Brian Bertino of CCU
Drivetrain Cusco Hyper Single clutch brains ECUtek boost controller; Defi amber BF Link
Stiff Stuff Cusco Zero-2R coilovers, 22mm front sway bar, 22mm adjustable rear sway bar, titanium front and rear strut bars, front under power brace, middle under power brace, rear under power brace
Stoppers Project M SCR-PRO front calipers w/355mm rotors, SCR rear rotors, Type NR brake pads, Teflon brake lines
Rollers White Volk RE30 18X8.5 wheels; Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 235/35/18 tires
Outside JDM GDB front lip, side strikes, headlights, spec-C roof vent, S202 wing, WRC carbon-fiber mirrors; Zero Sports carbon-fiber grill
Inside ARC shifter; STI Ti shift knob; Personal steering wheel; Recaro SPG seats w/aluminum brackets; Works Bell steering hub and quick release
Props FF SQUAD, Lee Randle @ Auto FLM/FB performance in Monrovia CA, Jasen and Brian Bertino @ CCU inc in Pasadena CA, Eric and Dylon Huig @ Raymond's Garage in Altadena CA, Vick @ Discount Tires in El Monte CA, Ali Ashfar @ ESX Motorsports in Valencia CA
www arcinter.co.jp (ARC); cusco.co.jp; Nippon-seiki.co.jp/defishop (Defi); project-mu.co.jp; rayswheels.co.jp (Volk); recaro.com