It seems like every time we turn around there’s a newer, cleaner-than-the-last, modified WRX coming out of the Northeast. We should know—we’ve had most of them on our pages. But where one became a race-prepped breath of fresh air among a sea of custom audio/bodyworked show cars (Feb. ’11), and the other a quarter-million-dollar culmination of the most expensive, most exotic schwag most can only dream of owning (Sept. ’10), William Bakajin’s STI is different. It’s got all the parts, with none of the reservation. It’s an STI built by a guy like the rest of us, with all of the street- and track-driving scars to prove it.
William is a bit different, too. Where most cars as clean and highly modified as his were assembled in only a few months, with old money or extensive corporate sponsorship connections, William’s been chipping away at his since he scraped together enough cash from his boba-tea job to afford its down payment. And unlike others who sought to build their STIs into flawless, Best-of-Show–winning machines to unseat current Best-of-Show winners, William just wanted to have fun. “I had the ECU reflashed on the way back from the dealership,” he comments, about his first few hours with the car back in 2005. “It had six miles on the odometer. I took it to the track that weekend and from there just got hooked.”
Modifications were added bit by bit, and the car was enjoyed on the streets to and from school, at the track on weekends, and anywhere else William needed to get from point A to point B—the STI was his only car. And then it blew up in 2007, the result of a faulty aftermarket injector.
Another reason William’s different: He’s a self-made businessman. Originally from Indonesia, his past was in show cars. After relocating to Washington for school and buying/beating the Subie, he had a moment of enlightenment: use his overseas connections to produce carbon-fiber components for race and show crowds alike, and sell them globally. For Stateside enthusiasts, 2008 and 2009 might have been hard years, but those living in booming economies in China, Southeast Asia, and parts of Eastern Europe poured their increasingly valuable currencies into their cars at much the pace as we did a decade earlier. William took full advantage, and grew his newly founded Speed Architech into a self-sustaining, profitable company—one that, in turn, let him dump money into his own car.
When he decided to kick his project into high gear, William made his first stop Garage Autohero in Woodinville, WA. Over the next few months, William and owner Ray Stonehocker (badass name) tore the STI apart and got to work fabricating a 10-point ’cage, assembling the JDM EJ257 engine, rotating its intake manifold, bolting on a Blouch Dominator turbo and 1,000cc/min injectors, and fabricating intercooler and exhaust piping. The result? Over 470 awhp and 450 lb-ft of torque from 21 psi, on a stock ECU tuned by Dominic Acia of Maxwell Power Service in Marysville, WA.
You’ll also notice the suspension—it’s hard not to with a spec sheet about as long as the engine’s. William added most of that himself, and don’t think his goal was to set it up with the freshest ish. It was, but insofar as it brought genuine track-worthy benefit, hence the Do-Luck eight-point subframe brace, Whiteline anti-lift kit and rear subframe lock kit, urethane replacing every stock rubber bushing imaginable, and, of course, Tein Flex coilovers at the corners. You won’t see any special brake love in the pics, since William upgraded them the week after we shot (good lookin’, holmes!), but his STI now flexes Brembo eight-piston forged aluminum calipers biting giant 380mm rotors.
The STI’s exterior is all business, starting with William’s business—you’ll see his Speed Architech offerings in the carbon-fiber grille, side mirrors, door handles, GT wing, and exhaust heat shield, surrounded by Do-Luck, Zero Sports, Cusco, and APR goodness, with a custom-fitted RE-Amemiya carbon rear diffuser originally intended for an FD3S RX-7. “All the ones I’ve seen for the STI weren’t aggressive enough,” William says. Sounds like a good enough excuse to us. The inside follows suit, with a Speed Architech carbon-fiber trunk cover, center console, steering column cover, door panels, and interior panels, race-elite Bride Dinos and Takata harnesses, and a quick-releasing Nardi wheel. You’ll even find some audio hidden in the mix. It is a street car, after all.
Remember when we told you William was a little different? For all the impressive power, handling, and stopping power his STI boasts—and its ultra-aggressive, ultra-functional interior and exterior modification—William cites his wheels as his favorite mods. “As far as I know,” he says, “no one else has fit wheels as aggressive as these.” A feat he accomplished with lots of measuring and test-fitting. But we secretly think he likes their finish the best. “Everyone was doing crazy color combinations or polished lips,” he says. “But I’ve never seen fully polished TEs.” He’s actually never seen his wheels in their native finish; they were drop-shipped directly to Ketchum Polishing Company in Arlington, WA, for the treatment. “Everyone freaks when they see them,” William says. We believe him—we did.
William put the car through its paces nearly the moment it was finished. “We put the tools away the day before SubieFest in Cali,” he says. “The drive down and the show went great. The weather was sunny and warm when I left, so I wore shorts and flip flops.” Big mistake. “By the time I hit Mt. Shasta around midnight it started snowing hard enough to make me pull over and wait it out—and I had no heater, stereo, or wipers!” Here’s hoping for a warmer future.
Behind the Build
Carbon-fiber parts manufacturer, bubble tea maker
“Be creative and innovative without being retarded.”
’04 Subaru WRX STI
Engine EJ257; Maxwell Power Service balancing and blueprinting, fuel rails; Wiseco 100mm pistons; ACL Race bearings; Blouch Dominator 3 turbocharger; Tial 44mm external wastegate; Invidia V2 racing downpipe; Grimmspeed up-pipe; Amuse Powerhouse R1 Titan exhaust; Garage Autohero intake tubing; custom intercooler tubing, reversed intake manifold; ARC front-mount intercooler, oil cap, radiator cap; HKS Version II blow-off valve; Koyo aluminum radiator; Zero Sports turbo manifold, lightweight crank pulley, Super Direct Flow intake element, Cool Action thermostat; Beatrush alternator pulley, forged pitch stopper; Samco silicone turbo inlet, radiator hoses, throttle body hose; Injector Dynamics 1,000cc/min injectors; A’pexi AVC-R; Hot Inazuma voltage stabilizer; Walbro 255-lph in-tank fuel pump; NGK plugs
Drivetrain Cusco twin-plate carbon-fiber clutch, flywheel, engine and transmission mounts; Eifel/Prova clutch master cylinder cap; Techna-Fit stainless clutch line; Beatrush differential support brace; Perrin rear differential cover; Kartboy short shifter, urethane shift bushings
Suspension Tein Flex coilovers; Cusco front and rear sway bars; Garage Autohero custom 10-point rollcage, rear strut tower bar; Carbing front strut tower bar with brake master cylinder brace; Whiteline anti-lift kit, front endlinks, rear subframe lock kit, steering rack bushings; Do-Luck floor support brace, eight-point subframe brace; Happi Motoring fender support braces; Perrin rear endlinks; Turn In Concepts full suspension bushing kit
Wheels/Tires Volk Racing TE37 wheels (18x10.5 +22mm offset); Falken ZE-512 tires (245/40-18)
Brakes Brembo 380mm front rotors, eight-piston calipers; Techna-Fit stainless brake lines; Project Mu Level 900 rear brake pads, Competition front brake pads, brake master cylinder cap and cover
Exterior Cusco GT front lip spoiler; custom TSX-retrofit projector headlights; Eifel/Prova hood dampers; Speed Architech carbon-fiber grille, side mirrors, door handles, GT wing, exhaust heat shield; Zero Sports side skirts; Do-Luck carbon-fiber trunk; RE-Amemiya carbon-fiber diffuser; APR carbon-fiber license plate cover; JDM rain guards
Interior Speed Architech carbon-fiber door panels, interior panels, trunk cover, carbon-Kevlar center console, steering column cover; Bride Dinos II carbon-Kevlar racing seats; Takata four-point harnesses; Nardi Classic steering wheel, Works Bell short steering hub, RAPFIX II quick-release system/flipper kit; custom suede headliner; Subaru aluminum doorsills
Electronics Sony WX-770 head unit; Phase Linear 6-inch three-way front speakers; Soundstream Tarantula rear speakers
Gratitude Team STFU Crews; Christian Coujin of Speed Architech; Jeff Miller of JMI Motoring; Dominic Acia and Maxwell Power Service; Ray Stonehocker of Garage Autohero; Chris “Tex” Walker of Graphixbytex.com; Wayne Cuddy and VTR Tint Audio Performance; Vince Lee and David Kang of Discount Tire