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'06 Subaru Impreza WRX - The Right Stuff

Brody Hamblin has taken his non-STI Impreza WRX to the extreme

Nate Hassler
Mar 21, 2011
Photographer: Orlando Echeverria

When we think about what defines AWD performance, there are a few cars that come to mind right away: the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and the Subaru Impreza WRX. All the aforementioned cars have fantastic capability to be true beasts on (or off) the track and all have loyal followings however, the hardcore Subaru fan is one of the most loyal creatures you will ever come across.

Modp 1104 01 o+2006 subaru impreza wrx+rear view Photo 2/11   |   '06 Subaru Impreza WRX - The Right Stuff

Brody Hamblin has spent a lot of time around cars he’s what we would call a car nut, without a doubt. I’m 22 years old and have lived in Utah my whole life, Brody says. Pretty much all of my free time is spent around cars, working on them, doing research, etc. I am currently working at a shop called Solid Autoworks in Salt Lake City. We specialize in the Mitsubishi EVO and Subaru cars, while occasionally working on the Nissan GT-R and Z models. It was the shop connection that first pushed Brody into his current state of automotive existence. Having started off with mild intentions, his WRX has since gone wild, and Brody never looked back.

He recalls his first dabble into the world of mechanical tinkering. I had a lightly modified ’05 WRX for a while, about six months. I got tired of that car eventually and sold it for what you see here, Brody tells us. As with most projects, Hamblin’s new acquisition transformed slowly from its stock form into the full-fledged track car it is today.

I started building this car to be a daily driven street car that was fast for a decent price, but I figured out quickly that reliability and speed don’t mix well when highly modifying any car, Brody says with a laugh. I modified the car more and more, to the point where I was ready for my first track day at Motorsports Park in April 2007. That was when the heavy modifications started happening. I was not good’ by any means, but driving on the track was a blast and I wanted to keep doing it.

After blowing a few motors and transmissions, it was time to tackle the reliability issue. Having learned from his mistakes, Brody decided to do it right tear the block apart and build from the ground up. Turning to well-known Subaru tuners Cosworth Performance for engine internals, Brody’s WRX sports a fully built 9.2/1 low-compression long-block, ported head and aggressive 274/278 camshafts. Spool is provided by an APS TSR70 snail, an upgraded twin-scroll manifold and a slew of other goodies to keep everything breathing properly. Fuel delivery comes courtesy of an Aeromotive Fuel pressure regulator, massive Deatschwerks 1,100cc fuel injectors, a SARD surge tank and lines, as well as a Denso 280-lph in-tank fuel pump and dual Walbro 255-lph fuel pumps located in the surge tank. Brody’s car is thirsty, without a doubt (another reason to stay off the streets for daily use), but the crazy setup he has concocted is more than adequate for his heavy-duty needs.

All this power means the stock WRX drivetrain would have to be beefed up significantly. Brody has again done things right after learning the hard way. I’m currently on my fourth transmission, Brody laughs. The fourth time’s the charm, though, as he has made the right choices to create a strong and robust, track-worthy setup. A set of super-strong, straight-cut gears from PPG paired with a billet selector fork set reside in the transmission housing, and Cusco LSDs help ensure as much power as possible gets to the wheels with traction. A Carbonetic twin-plate clutch handles the duty of receiving the grunt of the heavily upgraded EJ25. The result? A massive 517 awhp on 100-octane race gas. Not too shabby, indeed!

It would be silly to attempt to drive a WRX with more than 500 hp on its stock suspension and brakes, and Hamblin has obviously taken this into account. TEIN Super Race coilovers provide the versatility needed to dial in the suspension in exactly the best way, and a GT Spec 14-point subframe brace ties everything in nice and tight.

A slew of arms, links, braces and a replacement set of polyurethane bushings from Whiteline work together to create a harmonious, functional racing setup. A 332mm big brake kit from StopTech helps Brody slow his roll when the time comes, with plenty of help coming from the upgraded rear Brembos and aggressive Hawk pads. A set of lightweight 18-inch Enkei RPF1 wheels wrapped in Falken 615 Azenis tires finish off the rolling stock nicely, while also keeping Hamblin’s car legal for certain Street class time attack competitions by choosing to run a non-R-compound tire.

On the outside, Brody’s WRX is instantly eye-catching. With its aggressive but functional body work, there’s no mistaking this car for your typical Subie. A Cleverley Tuned front air splitter and lip start things off, keeping the front end stable at speeds. Aided by a set of APR canards and a GTC300 spoiler in the back, Hamblin’s WRX certainly stays planted. A Voltex rear diffuser helps keep the air moving smoothly underneath the car, which helps stabilize it at high speeds on track. The aesthetic package is finished off by a KS-Tech hood scoop delete and an STI roof vane spoiler. Nukabe tow hooks are installed for function, not fashion.

The interior of Brody’s ride is all business as well, with a modified Autopower Super Race weld-in rollcage being the main attraction. Defi gauges keep him informed of all engine vitals, while a pair of Sparco Pro2000 seats keep Hamblin held tightly in place. All function, all the time that’s the theme here.

All that’s left for Brody Hamblin to do now is drive. And believe us when we tell you, he plans to do just that. My future plans for the car are just to keep the car together and fix anything that breaks. The car is already modified beyond my level of driving, and I need to improve! he laughs. We can’t wait to see this beast on track, with the owner behind the wheel. Practice makes perfect, and having a car like this certainly doesn’t hurt your chances.

Specs & Details
'06 Subaru Impreza WRX
Engine Subaru EJ25 Boxer-4

Engine Modifications Cosworth 9.2:1 compression long-block, big port cylinder heads, 274/278 camshafts; APS TSR70 turbo kit 0.82, twin-scroll exhaust manifold, 80mm intake, 3.5" turbo-back exhaust, fuel rail system, TGV deletes, DR525 front-mount intercooler; Tial 44mm wastegate; Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator; Deatschwerks 1,100cc fuel injectors; SARD 5-liter surge tank w/ -6AN lines; Denso 280-lph fuel pump in fuel tank; dual Walbro 255-lph fuel pumps; Gizzmo phenolic spacers; COBB Tuning crank pulley; Moroso high-volume aluminum oil pan pick up; Cusco solid engine mounts; Crawford Performance air/ oil separator

Engine Management A’PEXi Power FC standalone ECU w/ commander tuned by JRX Rotary

Drivetrain PPG 1-4 straight cut gear set, billet selector forks; Cusco 1-way front LSD, 1.5-way rear LSD, solid transmission mount; Carbonetic 1300 twin plate clutch

Suspension TEIN Super Racing coilovers; Hotchkis lateral links; STI trailing arms, strut bars; Cusco rear subframe brace; Whiteline bushings, ball joint & tie rod extenders; GT Spec 14-point front subframe brace

Interior Modified Autopower Super Race weld-in rollcage; Kartboy short shifter, Defi 60mm boost, oil pressure, oil temp, water temp & EGT gauges, V2 link system; Innovate wideband O2; A’PEXi AVCR electronic boost controller; custom shift knob & shifter extension; Sparco Pro2000 seats, 6-point harness; Prodrive steering wheel; Splash extended up w/ NRG slim quick release; Beatrush bulk head divider

Wheels, Tires & Brakes Enkei RPF1 wheels 18x9.5" +38 (f/r); Falken RT615 Azenis tires 245/40R18 (f/r); StopTech 332mm big brake kit (f), 2-piece slotted front rotors, stainless brake lines; STI Brembo calipers (r); DBA 4000 slotted rotors (r); Porterfield R4 brake pads (f); HAWK DTC 70/60 brake pads (r); ARP extended wheel studs

Numbers 517 whp & 420 wtq at 26 psi (100 octane)

Thanks To Paul & Noah at Solid Autoworks, Rallysport Direct crew, COBB Tuning crew, Harvey via The Boost Creep LTD, Eric at JDM Legends, Lapbattle.com & family & friends for all their support

Exterior Cleverley Tuned front air splitter & limited lip; APR canards, GTC300 spoiler; Voltex rear diffuser; KS-Tech hood scoop delete; STI roof vane spoiler; Nukabe tow hooks

All function, all the time that’s the theme here.

Wheels, Tires & Brakes Enkei RPF1 wheels 18x9.5" +38 (f/r); Falken RT615 Azenis tires 245/40R18 (f/r); StopTech 332mm big brake kit (f), 2-piece slotted front rotors, stainless brake lines; STI Brembo calipers (r); DBA 4000 slotted rotors (r); Porterfield R4 brake pads (f); HAWK DTC 70/60 brake pads (r); ARP extended wheel studs

By Nate Hassler
182 Articles

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