To say that building the car of your dreams is a "labor of love" is a gross understatement. It takes passion, patience, devotion, a lot of money, and more love than you thought you had for any physical object. Joel Uganzia is one of those people who has gone through just about everything to make his '07 STi one of the most powerful top-mount intercooled Subarus in California.
It all started in '01 when he first encountered the WRX by way of a bugeye. He sold his tried-and-true '95 Acura Integra GSR to jump into the world of boost and all-wheel-drive—he hasn't looked back since. After adding just about every bolt-on in the book to his '02 WRX, he knew he needed more power.
Just pouring more money into the first WRX wasn't going to cut it, so he made the jump up into the car you see before you, an '07 WRX STi. It quickly became the object of his obsession.
With a blank canvas, it was time to go full force with the STi. From the beginning of this build, the main goal was very simple—make as much power as possible. But there was just one catch—he wanted to keep the top-mount intercooler. Throw aside your notions of heat soak and inefficiencies; this top-mount intercooled STi makes more than 500 hp. Of course, all that power didn't happen overnight. After seven years of blown engines, cracked ring lands, fuel issues, convincing of the wife, and borrowing a chunk of money from his bro, he has built a seriously fast STi. This is no ordinary "labor of love." It's much more than that. With a completely built motor, this STi topped out at 565 hp on a dynojet on E85, but that's not the only part worth mentioning. While those numbers are pretty impressive, the rest of car is outfitted with go-fast bits to match.
Starting on the inside, Joel outfitted the car with a Sparco R505 seats in the front and for a very special passenger, a Sparco baby seat he sourced overseas. The cockpit sports a set of Defi gauges and a custom powdercoated Cusco 'cage. While most people would stop there, Joel sourced a Keys Racing wheel mated to a very rare Prodrive x Woks Bell hub and quick release.
In the engine department, the only parts that were upgraded were ones that needed to make those power numbers reliably. The internals of the engine were swapped out for the likes of Wiseco pistons, Manley rods, ACL bearings, and a nitrided crank. The head has been ported and polished and upgraded with BC 272 cams along with the valvesprings and retainers. Providing the engine boost and fuel is a Blouch Dom 3 XTR turbo along with 2,200cc injectors fed by a hardwired 450l Walbro fuel pump, all controlled by a Cobb Accessport V2. The engine bay looks relatively stock considering the power this thing puts down. It features nice little touches such as a Perrin top-mount intercooler, Moroso aluminum overflow tank, Mishimoto radiator, Samco hose kit, plus other components like a Perrin battery tie-down and a gallery fresh dress-up kit.
The stock wheels were switched out for powdercoated red 18x10" Advan RS-Ds wrapped in Nitto INVOs. Handling is improved via BC coilovers and Perrin sway bars. Braking was slightly upgraded with new lines and DBA 4000 rotors. When your car comes with a great Brembo brake kit from the factory, chances are there isn't much that needs to be done to improve braking performance.
The exterior of the car has a focus on function above anything else. A Kaminari carbon-fiber lip kit is on all four sides of the car, while the Voltex GT wing keeps down the rear end with 30mm risers. An APR rear diffuser was added for rear stability along with front splitters to keep the nose planted. Chargespeed mirrors along with a Chargespeed carbon rear roof vain complete his exterior.
Joel put so much passion and effort into this build and has achieved some monumental milestones with just one car. Not only does it frequently take home trophies at car shows, it also holds the title for the highest horsepower top-mount-intercooled STi in the nation that we know of.