From the very beginning, Subaru has been the one and only choice for Abbitt Wilkerson. With dreams of owning both a WRX and an STI since before he could drive, Abbitt started his driving career behind the wheel of a Subaru Impreza 2.5RS. Not long after, Abbitt was already looking for something to upgrade to at the age of 16. While looking for a WRX upgrade from the naturally aspirated platform of his 2.5RS he came across one of Subaru's WRX STI flagship cars at a deal too good to pass up. Traveling deeper into the bromance Abbitt was developing with Subarus, he went and picked this one up immediately. After daily driving the car for about two years it was time to put it under the knife and swoop up another daily driver.
Of course the new daily driver would have to be a Subaru. Abbitt picked up a standard Impreza while he was building the STI to his version of perfection. Being a fan of the "slammed society" style cars, fashion was a main focus of the build and not so much speed. Starting out with a set of BC Racing coilovers and some delicious Kool-Aid Grape color Enkei RPF-1's, Abbitt set the tone for what's to come with an insanely low static ride height. Soon after this, Abbitt grew tired of fixing the inevitable exhaust leaks and replacing expensive front lips from that street sweeper ride height that most people talk about and few like. With slammed-out cars not being very popular amongst the Subaru crowd, this posed an issue for Abbitt moving forward with having an air-ride suspension on the STI, especially since it wasn't on the market yet. He then got in contact with Mike at D2 Suspension to start an air-ride application for the STI. Working together they were able to come out with a product that matched his needs.
After the airbag system was developed he needed a way to control them. Abbitt enlisted the help of the guys over at Bag Riders and picked up one of their high-quality management systems. At the same time he ditched the RPF-1's for a set of beautiful Rotiform TMB's topped off with some titanium Muteki lug nuts. Using a very aggressive size for the STI chassis, Abbitt chose them in 18x9.5 -20 offset, which to some would seem pretty impossible to fit. Abbitt was not phased by this one bit. Stretching on a set of sticky 215/35/18 Achilles ATR Sports coupled with some BC Racing camber plates, he is able to tuck them into bed when the car is laid out on the floor.
More parts to aid in getting the suspension to allow the aggressive wheels to tuck is a host of Truhart suspension arms, including rear lower control arms, rear camber arms, and rear toe arms. Keeping the car as flat as possible while on the air-ride suspension, Abbitt chose to go with a front and rear set of Whiteline adjustable sway bars with upgraded Whiteline endlinks. Laying an STI on the ground is not just about suspension pieces though. Abbitt also added a set of custom "tubbed" fenders to give the tires more clearance to tuck up higher in the chassis. Another issue that will come about with lowering an STI is that the front axles will rub on the framerails when you start to get them aggressively low. Abbitt addressed that situation by notching out the framerails to allow more clearance. Some will say that 'bags are an easy way to get low, but when you think about all of the work that has to go into the car to achieve the height, static or not, it is impressive and takes much dedication to make it work.
With this being a daily driver Abbitt wanted the car to be very reliable, but still had to modify the engine components. Using tasteful modifications, such as the Perrin short-ram intake and Invidia N1 exhaust system, Abbitt was able to squeeze out 330 whp and 355 lb-ft out of the EJ257. The tune was completed using a Cobb AccessPort coupled with a Grimmspeed boost controller. The power was then held down with a nice streetable Exedy Stage 2 clutch. Not a lot of engine modifications were done, but it definitely makes for a very fun daily driver that you can still run pump gas on and be reliable.
For exterior styling Abbitt went with his own mix of aero parts. Starting with a Cusco front lip, Signal Auto side skirts, and a Chargespeed rear diffuser you could say he had his own vision for aero styling on the car. Moving upward from the floor he added a Do-Luck-style trunk lid, JDM Ureshi window visors, a badge-less grille, and a set of Ganador mirrors. Making sure all of these expensive aero parts were painted correctly, Abbitt had Absolute Autobody handle the paintwork.
For the interior you will find a pair of Bride Vios 3 seats sitting on Buddy Club Lowdown rail systems. In this mix is a Nardi deep-corn wheel sitting on a NRG thin quick release and a baller Works Bell hub. Completing the JDM look in the interior is a set of Prosport gauges and a JDM bubble-style shift knob.
Just when you think the man is done Abbitt had to go and throw another car in to feed his addiction to Subarus. Abbitt went through an entire fleet of Imprezas for daily drivers (while building the STI) buying and selling them every few months until he finally worked his way up to the WRX that he ultimately wanted as a daily. A perfect '02 Subaru WRX in Aspen White was posted for sale. Being a one owner, clean title, perfect condition car it was exactly what he wanted. Wasting no time again he immediately jumped on it.
At 18, Abbitt's dream of owning both a WRX and an STI was already achieved. But even after having the dream of an STI project car and WRX daily driver accomplished, it still was not enough for him.
The plan to daily drive the WRX while building the STI did not last more than a few weeks. Soon after buying the WRX he already had custom Work VS-KF's being built in 18x9.5 -15 with a step lip, 24K hardware, and white faces. The wheels alone on this WRX are enough to make you drool. Not stopping at just wheels, Abbitt added full air-ride, camber plates, tubbed fenders, and a notched frame. For the exterior on the WRX, he went with a Pro Drive front lip, Ganador mirrors, JDM window visors, black housing headlights, Do-Luck trunk, and a rear taillight and bumper conversion to the '05-style WRX. You could almost say twins on the exterior, almost! On the interior only a few things mattered to Abbitt. It needed a Blox-weighted shift knob, and some ridiculously awesome cheetah floor mats. The engine received similar treatment to the STI, including an Agency Power short-ram intake, Invidia cat-less downpipe, and a Perrin catback exhaust. This was all tuned with an off-the-shelf MAP on a Cobb AccessPort V2 system. This makes for one hell of a secondary car. With both of these cars being built at the same time we can't wait to see what the future holds for Abbitt's next build.
Behind The Build
Long Beach, CA
Filming, Editing, Photography, Snowboarding, dirt bikes, cars, drifting
"I wanted to push the boundaries of a Subaru and do something different."
2004 Subaru Impreza STI
330 whp/355 lb-ft of torque
Engine Subaru EJ25 engine; Perrin SRI air intake; Invidia N1 Exhaust; Cobb AcessPort V2 OTS Stage 2; Grimmspeed boost controller; Agency Power pitch stop mount
Drivetrain Exedy Stage 2 clutch
Suspension D2 Racing air-ride; BC Racing camber plates; Whiteline adjustable front and rear sway bars, front and rear endlinks; Truhart rear control arms, rear camber arms, rear toe arms; custom slotted brackets; custom tubbed fenders; notched frame
Wheels/Tires Rotiform TMB custom white finish with polished lips; 18x9.5 -20 Achilles ATR Sport tires; 215/35/18 Muteki SR48; titanium lug nuts
Brakes Brembo brakes
Exterior Subaru "shaved" front bumper; Cusco front lip, front power brace; Signal Auto side skirts; Chargespeed "shaved" rear lip, front brake ducts; Do-Luck trunk; rolled and hammered flat front fenders; '05 Subaru STI rear flare; cut quarter-panel; shaved, pulled, and hammered rear fenders; retrofit '04 Subaru STI headlights; Ganador side mirrors; JDM Subaru STI window visors; Ureshi window visor; badge-less grille
Interior Bride VIOS 3 seats (driver and passenger); Buddy Club Lowdown seat brackets (driver and passenger); Nardi Deep Corn 350mm steering wheel; Works Bell steering hub; NRG thin quick release; Bubble shift knob from Japan; Prosport EGT, oil pressure, and boost gauge; suede headliner; Plastidip A-, B-, C-pillars black; custom trunk setup for air-ride tank and compressor, switch panel to turn on tank/compressor/air gauges; Panasonic head unit; Kicker speakers throughout; C-pillar bar
Gratitude "Shout-out and thanks so much to my family, my girlfriend Breanna, especially my dad for helping with my air-ride and fab stuff, Ray at Garage Autohero, Brian and Jason at Rotiform, Bagriders, Steve from ISO, Mike from Truhart/D2, Pete from BC Racing, Yuta and Alex from WheelFlip, JR from Aboslute autobody, Ferg from Nasioc, Fatlace, Import Image Racing, Falken Tire, 1Kind Studio, WFC, and everyone who has supported me through this car or through my videos, AWFILMS. Thank you!"
2002 Subaru Impreza WRX
225 whp/223 lb-ft of torque
Engine Subaru EJ20 engine; Agency Power SRI air intake, pitch stop mount; Invidia catless downpipe; Perrin catback exhaust; Cobb AcessPort V2 OTS Stage 2
Drivetrain Exedy Stage 2 clutch
Suspension D2 Racing air-ride; BC Racing camber plates; custom slotted brackets; custom tubbed fenders; notched frame
Wheels/Tires Work VS-KF step lip; 24K gold hardware; custom white-face finish with polished lips 18x 9.5 -15 Falken Ziex 912 tires; 215/35/18 Muteki SR48; Neo lug nuts
Brakes Subaru OEM brakes
Exterior Pro Drive front lip; Subaru WRX side skirts; '05 WRX taillights and rear bumper; Do-Luck trunk; rolled and hammered flat front fenders; pulled rear fenders; Ganador side mirrors; JDM Subaru STI window visors; Ureshi window visor; custom black housing headlights
Interior Blox weighted shift knob; custom trunk setup for air-ride tank and compressor; switch panel to turn on tank/compressor/air gauges; cheetah front floor mats
Special Thanks To AWFILMS