By all accounts, Emanuel Burgos was of the Honda persuasion. His sister owned one. He dreamed of those built by famed Japanese tuning firm, Signal Auto. His first car was an Integra. As is often the case with ‘90s Hondas though, Burgos endured a battered life at the hands of its greenhorn driver and replacing it with something else became imminent.
Never mind the Honda sentimentalities; all that time Burgos had been secretly vying for Subaru's Impreza WRX—a car that was then still relatively new to American car buyers. It wasn't exactly kismet, but Burgos and a 2006 model happened upon themselves at his workplace. Shortly thereafter the WRX was his. "I fell in love with it," he says. "It soon became my nonstop project, the canvas that my adolescent dreams were [based] upon."
Dreams that admittedly emerged from being behind the controls of Gran Turismo and after catching the first of The Fast and the Furious franchise. Burgos' aspirations transcended those of boy racers in search of MoTeC exhausts and exploding floorboards, though. Instead, inspiration arrived from Japan under the guise of tuning deities like Tamon Design and Top Secret. "I wanted to build something that I could imagine seeing at the Tokyo Auto Salon, in D1 or screaming down the Wangan," he says. "I love the way tuner shops build [cars] in Japan," he adds. "You can tell what shop built what by their varying styles." All of this is what led to the car's otherwise unique color and posh assortment of mods. Like the Varis Super Taikyu widebody kit, the only one of which, according to Burgos, has made its way onto an ‘06 model like his, and the one-of-a-kind BASF Carizzma green paint, which has arguably shod few other exteriors, let alone any Subaru. If unripened color schemes are all too much for you, then your attention ought to be directed underneath the hood where almost everything that's responsible for the EJ25's 496awhp can be found. Burgos commissioned nearby Performance Race Solutions to rework the engine, fitting it with 9.0:1 CP pistons along with bearings and head studs from Cosworth. Up top, Performance Race Solutions also had its way by means of porting and polishing and fitting the Subaru heads with the complete Brian Crower stockpile, including cams, valves, springs and retainers. Once matched with the Borg Warner turbocharger and the HKS CAMP2 engine management system, Mike Adkins of M-Tuned made quick work of seducing the near-500hp from the Boxer engine.
Speaking of 496awhp, the transmission carried out its exit strategy early on, as is often the case with WRX gearboxes and generous amounts of torque. An obliterated third gear and trepidations of—not if—but when it'll happen again, led to the WRX being matched to a PPG dogbox. Unlike conventional transmissions that are made up of a series of synchronizers that connect and lock together its gears with its shafts, dogbox transmissions consist of multiple cogs and sliders. The results are increased strength, quicker shifting and the ability to change gears at virtually any engine speed. All of this isn't without sacrifice, though, as dog boxes aren't typically meant for street use. To avoid prematurely wearing its gears, Burgos adapted his driving style to accommodate the new transmission, familiarizing himself with the appropriate shifting and rev-matching techniques. It's true that he could've bolted up another factory gearbox or repaired his own but none of that would've exactly concurred with his philosophy, in which shortcuts are no option. "There is no such thing as shortcuts," he says. "They will eventually turn into long-cuts." [We see what you did there. —SS staff]
Burgos modeled his build in the footsteps of the overseas tuners he'd become so enamored with, but the car's theme is all his: "Aggressive, yet functional." That balance has arguably been struck at all fronts but is perhaps most obvious inside where Bride Cuga seats and Takata harnesses blend alongside Bride-themed interior bits. A Sparco harness bar and Vertex steering wheel pair well with Burgos' tuning predilections as do a host of HKS electronics and the company's limited-edition D1 shift knob, which pays homage to the cars his affection has long been drawn toward. "Too many people become obsessed with what others think when it comes to modifying their vehicle," he says, reflecting on the car's unique exterior and balance of parts. "There are times that it's less about themselves and more about what's going to be accepted by others, which is not what I wanted with my car."
Burgos has gone on to own other makes, including a brand-new FR-S, but his devotion remains tied to his Subaru and the satisfaction of knowing that what he's accomplished isn't that different than what those renowned tuning shops across the Pacific have done. "This is what I wanted to achieve and is why I built this car," he says. "I wanted people to look at my car and see an extension of my passion and myself."
2006 Subaru WRX TR
Owner Emanuel "Manny" Burgos
Hometown Orlando, FL
Engine Beatrush engine and transmission mounts, alternator cover, pitching stopper mount and oil catch can; Performance Race Solutions-built engine; Cosworth main/rod bearings, head studs, oil pump, intake manifold; CP Pistons 9.0:1 pistons; ARP case studs; Power Enterprise timing belt; Brian Crower Stage 2 camshafts, titanium retainers, valve springs and valves; Performance Race Solutions ported cylinder heads and turbo kit; Borla headers; Deatschwerks 1,000cc fuel injectors; Perrin Performance fuel rail; Aeromotive fuel pump; Borg Warner S300SX 8375 turbo; TiAL MV-R wastegate; TurboXS front-mount intercooler; HKS Carbon-Ti exhaust; Mishimoto aluminum radiator and silicone radiator hoses; ARC radiator cap
Drivetrain PPG dogbox transmission; Cusco limited-slip differential; ACT 6-puck, sprung-hub clutch
Engine Management HKS CAMP2, EVC-S boost controller, AFK and Type-1 turbo timer
Footwork & Chassis TEIN Mono Flex coilovers and EDFC; JDM WRX front and rear strut tower bars; Beatrush rear lateral links and subframe; Hotchkis front and rear anti-roll bars
Brakes DBA 4000 slotted rotors; StopTech pads; ARP wheel studs
Wheels & Tires 18x10" +22 Gram Lights 57 Pro wheels; 275/35R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport tires; Project Kics R40 lug nuts
Exterior Varis carbon-fiber GT wing and Super Taikyu widebody kit, including carbon-fiber diffuser, vortex generator, and canards; Seibon carbon-fiber hood; Beatrush front underpanel; custom-painted headlights; JDM Impreza badge; BASF Carizzma paint
Interior Bride Cuga seats, door panels, headliner and seat rails; Takata harnesses and harness pads; Sparco harness bar; Vertex steering wheel; Splash steering wheel hub; Works Bell quick-release hub; HKS D1 shift knob; Beatrush rear bulkhead plate; custom suede-wrapped dash; Pioneer AVIC headunit