Back in the Nov. ’09 issue, I wrote my Tech Talk column (“The Ultimate Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”) about the tuning potential of the ’04–08 Subaru Forester XT, given how much it shares in common with the GD Impreza WRX and STI. That story led to quite a few emails rolling in from FXT owners, some of whom sarcastically thanked me for letting the cat out of the bag, others just wanting to share a few stories and pictures of their own FXT builds.
One of those emails was from Remington Lee of Port Colborne, Ontario, owner and hands-on builder of this thoroughly improved World Rally Blue ’07 FXT. As it turns out, Remington is a full-blown Forester fanatic, having built an encyclopedic Fozzie knowledge thanks to subaruforester.org and the close friendships he has developed within the Forester fraternity. It should come as no surprise that Remington’s FXT is damn near perfect because of its appealing blend of performance and practicality.
In fact, it’s the practicality of the Forester’s wagon body style that initially drew Remington to it. “I chose this platform for a large number of reasons, but the biggest influence had to be my dog Kaiku. I was looking for my first new car after graduating from college, something that I could commute to work with and reduce the wear and tear on my prized possession, a JDM ’90 Nissan Skyline GTS-t Type M. I wanted something AWD for the winter months, but I also wanted something turbo after falling in love with boost, thanks to my Skyline. So I started looking at a wide variety of cars from Audis to EVOs, but ultimately, knew I wanted a station wagon so I could haul my dog around with me. After many months of research and lots of inspiration from the online community, I tracked down the car I wanted, a 2.5XT ‘Sports’ Limited 5-speed from New York, which I imported with the help of family, friends and a very helpful dealership.”
Once Remington got his FXT home, he put it on a steady diet of WRX and STI goodness, along with some rare Forester-specific aftermarket goodies. For starters, the smaller XT turbo found its way into a storage bin and in its place Remington bolted up a VF43 STI turbo, along with the larger STI top-mount intercooler. Add to that a free-flowing exhaust setup, including a JDM HKS catted downpipe and a very rare Forester-specific Fujitsubo after-cat system, and Remington’s COBB AccessPORT–tuned Subie pumped out a rock solid 298 whp and 337 ft-lbs of torque on the dyno. And just in case you think these numbers are for show, Remington has a time slip from Toronto Motorsports Park’s dragstrip verifying a best pass of 13.182 at 104.52 mph.
Although we love how subtly Remington has tweaked the appearance of his Forester, an educated enthusiast will certainly spot more than just the STI badges. The RavSpec carbon front lip is a particularly rare item, this one being the first ever production unit. The Subtle-Solutions carbon-fiber exhaust heat shield is another rare piece, as is the Delrin shift knob with the JDM Forester ‘F’ logo on it (one of 35). We would’ve liked to see legit Volks over the WRX brakes rather than Rotas, but other than that it’s hard to fault anything on this Forester’s build sheet. We particularly like the Retro-Lite E55 Bi-Xenon projector retrofit and the practical stance provided by WRX dampers and STI springs. Although the Yakima roof rack is a “love it or leave it” addition, Remington feels it completes the look of his FXT.
“After more than two years of daily commuting and working on it with my own two hands alongside my father, the car has come together much as I had initially envisioned it,” Remington says. “I had some help from friends along the way, especially my best friend from high school who is the current owner of a company called Half Fast Performance. If I were to build another FXT without any concerns over budget or daily driveability, I’d add a Legacy Spec.B 6-speed transmission, STI Brembos, coilovers, forged pistons/rods, a rotated turbo setup and a front-mount intercooler.” These mods all sound pretty sweet to us, but then again, they just might upset the fine balance between performance and practicality this Forester fanatic has so skillfully achieved.
I wanted something AWD for the winter months, but I also wanted something turbo after falling in love with boost, thanks to my Skyline.
Specs & Details
'07 Subaru Forester 2.5XT “Sports” Limited
Engine EJ25 turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-4
Engine Modifications IHI VF43 STI turbo (MY07), STI top-mount intercooler (MY07); Perrin turbo inlet; JDM HKS catted downpipe, JDM Fujitsubo after-cat exhaust; SPT short-ram intake w/ heat shield & turbo heat shield; Walbro 255-lph fuel pump; Deatschwerks 750cc fuel injectors; Subtle-Solutions radiator shroud & hood splitter; NGK step colder spark plugs; Group N engine mounts; GarageXTi hood strut kit
Engine Management COBB AccessPort v2, tuning by HB Speed & Clark Turner Motorsports
Drivetrain ACT HD-Street clutch; Group N 5-speed transmission mount; Kartboy short shifter w/ front shifter bushings
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 18x8" Rota SVN Tommy Gold wheels; BFGoodrich G-Force T/A KDW 245/40ZR18 tires; WRX 4-piston calipers & rotors (f) & WRX 2-piston calipers & rotors (r); Kartboy 2-piston caliper adapters; Hawk HPS brake pads; Techna-Fit braided stainless brake lines
Suspension KYB GR-2 WRX sedan struts; STI springs (MY05); Group N top hats (f/r); Perrin 22mm sway bars (f/r) w/ heavy-duty rear mounts; Group A billet endlinks; pitch stop mount & subframe locking bolts; Turn in Concepts Scooby921 strut adapters & transmission crossmember bushings; Kartboy rear subframe outrigger bushings; STI steering rack (MY04); FSTi rear lateral links; SPC camber bolts (f/r); MachV Motorsports 0.375" saggy butt spacers; GT Spec rear lower strut brace
Exterior RavSpec Carbon V-Limited front lip; RallyArmor Urethane mud flaps; OEM black taillights (MY08); JDM FSTi hood scoop; custom Forester badges w/ STI logos; Subtle-Solutions carbon-fiber exhaust heat shield & aluminum skidplate; Retro-Lite E55 Bi-Xenon projector retrofit; Yakima LoadWarrior w/ extension & custom triple-crossbar setup (winter)
Interior Katzkins blue suede & black leather seat covers; Limited Edition ‘pmpmstrb’ Delrin “F” shift knob
Numbers 297.7 awhp & 336.8 awtq; 13.182 at 104.52 mph (Toronto Motorsports Park, June ’09)
Why We Picked It
Remington Lee’s ’07 FXT is a perfect example of what we call “rational tuning,” meaning a car built in a very realistic, budget-conscious, yet highly effective way. In fact, the larger turbo and careful ECU tuning has netted this FXT a 3-mpg improvement in fuel economy, while the roof rack allowed Remington to haul summer tires and rims to Florida and back on a recent winter holiday. Definitely a Subie that is full of win!