Over the past 10 years, Subarus have turned into a staple of the automotive tuning industry. Starting as a more niche, specialty tuner car in the 1980s, Subarus have exploded into the mainstream with the introduction of the American market Impreza WRX in 2002, and then going on to become the focus of various motorsport events throughout the United States and worldwide. With the spotlight on Subarus in events such as rally racing and time-attack, it seemed only natural to see the aesthetic styles of these purpose-built race cars carrying over onto the streets and, ultimately, into car shows. Jeff Hill’s ’05 Subaru STI is one of those cars that takes the time-attack race car style and applies it to the medium of car shows, resulting in an almost undefeatable juggernaut in the local car show community of the Pacific Northwest.
A native of Portland, OR, Jeff was no stranger to the relatively new, but almost froggy-looking bug-eyed WRX of 2002 and 2003. While the rest of the world enjoyed Subaru’s performance and rally racing pedigree, the first WRXs that populated the Portland area were still unfamiliar territory for Jeff. Rather than taking the leap into what was still a rather obscure Japanese manufacturer to most people, Jeff decided to roll around in a Dodge SRT4. The car suited his needs for a few years, but he soon realized that it wasn’t exactly best suited to be competitive in the car shows he planned to enter. While attending one of these car shows, he happened to come across the new STI version of the WRX, along with the newly updated front end. The STI’s stock 300 hp and new looks made Jeff instantly fall in love, and he decided at that very point that he just had to have one.
With his brand-new ’05 STI sitting in his driveway, Jeff began to search around for all of the parts he’d need to create a show winner. The selection of both power and aesthetic parts compared to his old SRT4 was staggering, and he had no problem paying top dollar for the best parts he could find. He first started out with a complete Ings+1 body kit and Varis carbon Kevlar hood, but while these parts looked great, they didn’t quite suit Jeff’s style. He sold these parts before they ever saw a body shop and continued his search while lurking on the various Subaru forums. He stayed under the radar for around five years as he slowly accumulated parts, almost like a camouflaged predator waiting to strike at the car show scene. Jeff made himself a goal to win NASIOC.com’s Top Scoob competition and in December of 2009, he unveiled his car for all of the forums to see.
The reception to Jeff’s car on the forums was understandably a mixed bag, but the car show judges were wowed instantly. Unlike most cars, where one can see how an owner slowly builds up the car over time from various shows to shows, Jeff’s STI surprised everyone in the scene as soon as it showed up, already fully built. From the very start, nearly every part of the car was touched in some way, maintaining a balanced attack on the exterior, interior, motor, and in-car entertainment fronts. The first iteration of Jeff’s STI included a rather subtle Chargespeed carbon-fiber Bottom Lines kit, SYMS rear carbon-fiber spoiler, Seibon Edition Volk TE37s, and Rally Armor mudflaps. While these parts won trophies, the parts were merely holdovers until his full Voltex body kit and GT wing arrived to reach out and smack all onlookers, often resulting in a love/hate relationship among many. Nevertheless, from the body kit to the LightWerkz Honda S2000 retrofitted projectors, to the paint-matched Seibon CW-style hood and hoodscoop, Jeff’s STI set the tone for standing out and being in your face. Keeping balance in mind, having a fast-looking exterior meant nothing without the power to back it up, so Jeff made sure that even from the beginning of his car show career, his car would have enough “go” for his “show”.
Beneath the painstakingly cared for exterior sat the STI’s standard 2.5L motor, putting out as much power as possible without internal upgrades. The Treadstone/Turbonetics rotated turbo kit and intercooler setup, complete with Ultimate Racing injectors and fuel rails, Tial 44mm external wastegate, and Cobb/Surgeline-tuned Accessport, put out 513 whp and 494 wheel torque on Q16 race gas at 26.7 psi. A large collection of supporting modifications, ranging from dual Walbro fuel pumps to GrimmSpeed phenolic thermal spacers, helped keep the motor happy, while replacing as many engine bay lines as possible with stainless steel braided lines showed Jeff’s attention to detail. Very few stock rubber hoses can be seen in the engine bay, and many of the lines have been tucked under the intake manifold to provide less confusion and clutter.
With the exterior and the power out of the way, Jeff continued his attention to detail in the interior and with his in-car entertainment system. Red and black dominate the cockpit, with rear seats and door cards reupholstered in red to match the front Sparco Torino 2s, whereas black Alcantara suede encompasses the headliner and dash areas to match the black carpets. It’s not hard to figure out that this was Jeff’s car, since he had his North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club (NASIOC) screen name “STIyiyi” stitched onto the door cards. Even the Defi BF series gauges are red and black, allowing everything in the interior to match as much as possible. A custom fiberglass trunk enclosure houses four MB Quart amps and two Alpine 12-inch subwoofers, along with ZEX N2O bottles for the intercooler sprayer, filling the entire trunk space.
The final piece to Jeff’s car show-winning puzzle was the suspension, which wasn’t neglected in any way. Jeff accomplished this first with a set of Cusco Zero2R coilovers, front and rear strut bars, rear triangle brace, camber adjustable lateral links, engine and transmission mounts, and a rear subframe brace. Whiteline front and rear sway bars with sport anti-lift kit and roll center adjustment kit help keep the wheels and tires planted firmly, while the full collection of GTSpec underbraces take care of all the other loose ends. To ensure that the power is transferred to the ground properly, Jeff went with a set of 18x9.5 Volk LE28Ns wrapped in 265/35/18 Hankook Ventus R-S3 tires. Unfortunately, these wheels didn’t quite clear the stock Brembos at their offset, so Jeff switched out the Brembos in favor of a complete front and rear Rotora big-brake kit, with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers in the rear, all of course in red. The fat tire width provides function along with flushness, which typically cannot be said for many of participants of the incorrect fitment fad.
With all of the pieces in place and a full collection of Best of Show and Best Subaru trophies in hand, Jeff entered his car into the NASIOC’s Top Scoob competition, pitting his car against some of the best Subarus that the entire forum universe has to offer. He ended up changing his wheel setup to 18x10 WedsSport SA-55M in black red machining, but it wasn’t enough to take the top spot. More than content with his Second Place finish, Jeff decided that while the car wasn’t fully complete in his eyes, it was time to start a new project. After six full years of ownership, he placed a for sale ad on the forum and within five days the car was sold to a local Subaru dealership in Vancouver, WA. Rather than selling off the car to a new buyer, the dealership instead chose to use it as a display car to show off how far a new owner can go with modifications. As an alternative of seeing his car parted out or sold to a nameless new owner, Jeff says, “The car has been put out to stud, similar to a 3-year-old race horse following a successful run to the Triple Crown.”
Behind the Build
2005 Subaru STI
Engine Turbonetics GT-K 500 rotated turbo; Treadstone stainless steel downpipe with re-plumbed dump tube, up-pipe, 3.5-inch intake, black 4.5-inch intercooler, catch can, and heat shield; K&N filter; Full Blown fuel pump hanger; two Walbro 255-lph fuel pumps; Ultimate Racing top feed fuel rail kit and 1,260cc injectors; Tial wastegate and blow-off valve; Gallery red engine dress-up bolt kit; Turbosmart billet aluminum oil cap; eBoost2 40-psi Sleeper Series EBC; NGK spark plugs; Cusco exhaust manifold; Coolingmist CMGS FS methanol injection kit with failsafe; ZEX direct port N2O; HKS carbon-Ti exhaust; Go Fast Bits pulleys; Mishimoto radiator and hoses; GrimmSpeed thermostat, PnP intake manifold, TGV deletes, 8mm phenolic thermal spacer, and 2.5mm stainless steel exhaust gaskets; Subtle Solutions alternator cover and radiator shroud; Gruppe-S carbon-fiber hood dampers; Turbo XS coolant overflow; Forge power steering reservoir; A/C delete; PRE custom N2O lines, fuel lines, coolant lines, and methanol reservoir; Killer B windshield washer reservoir
Drivetrain Cusco transmission bushings; GTSpec differential mount bar; Kartboy transmission crossmember bushings and short shifter with bushings
Footwork & Chassis Whiteline sport anti-lift kit, steering bushing kit, sway bars, roll center adjusters, differential bushings, and camber bolt kit; Hotchkis front and rear articulation ball joint endlinks; Cusco Zero 2R coilovers, strut tower bars, rear triangle brace, trailing arms, lateral links, engine mounts, and rear subframe brace; GTSpec front lower tie brace, rear T-brace, three-piece subframe set, and four-point ladder brace
Brakes Rotora six-piston (front) calipers, four-piston (rear) calipers, stainless steel lines, rotors, and pads
Wheels/Tires 18x9.5 Rays Volk Racing LE28N with center caps; Project Kics R40 Neo Chrome lug nuts; Hankook Ventus R-S3 265/35ZR18 tires
Exterior Voltex side skirts, Type-5 V-mounted EVO IX GT wing, front bumper with custom shaved license plate, carnards, and front under wing; JDM S203/S204 clear side marker lamps, Spec C roof vent, and rain guards; rolled and pulled fenders; NRG carbon roof vane and hoodpins; Hella Supertones; Seibon carbon-fiber hood, reverse hoodscoop, and carbon trunk lid; Ganador side mirrors; Varis carbon-fiber B-pillar cover; L’aunsport carbon-fiber C-pillar cover; custom de-badged front grille; Nukabe front and rear tow hooks; LightWerkz custom projector headlights
Interior Defi amber BF series boost, oil, and EGT gauges, Defi Link Control Unit II; carbon-fiber triple-gauge hood; carbon cluster bezel; Coolingmist CMGS FS gauge; TurboSmart eBoost 2 Sleeper gauge; Auto Meter wrapped A-pillar pod; Works Bell Team Orange leather steering wheel with autographed hub by Samuel Hubinette and Tanner Foust; Gentex K31 auto dimming rearview mirror; Sparco Torino front seats, wrapped rear seats, harness bar, and harnesses; Alcantara headliner, pillars, visors, door panels, and upper dash with red stitching; dyed seatbelt anchors and panic handles; Spec C roof vent trim; WRX black carpet; black STI floor mats; JDM S203/S204 black trim dash kit and shifter trim with boot; Amerex dry chemical fire extinguisher; Autospeed dead pedal
Audio Kenwood Excelon DNX8129 all-in-one navigation/DVD player; MB Quart amps and components; Alpine 12-inch subwoofers; Kinetik power supply power inverter