Here's the assignment for Super Street's 120 Hours Week to Wicked 2013 build from an editorial perspective: Four days to put together a quick build-up with plenty of interruption in order to fulfill any on-camera duties involved with the program. The fifth day will be dedicated to a dyno session and final camera interviews. You don't choose the car. You don't choose the parts, but the car must remain street legal and 50 state smog-friendly. Oh, and you'll need to keep up with your normal day-to-day work duties in the midst of the scramble to finish. Sounds simple, right?
That's the gist of the video-based program that began with the domestic groups, trickled to the off-road family and eventually made its way to the Super Street network. Previously we'd taken a stab at this same concept using a "rough around the edges" AP1 that we actually purchased, and are now revamping without the time limitations. This time around, we didn't plan on purchasing a car but fortunately, a close friend of ours had just acquired a bone stock 2013 Subaru BR-Z that he had no problem lending us in exchange for some free upgrades.
The plan of attack for this particular program was to approach things like the average diy'er would, in that we'd tackle suspension and braking, wheels and tires, along with a few aesthetic upgrades and, finally, some additional power. Most enthusiasts piecing together a street car will add a few parts here or there as their funds allow and we'd be emulating that, though it would happen at an accelerated pace.
Like any car, the BRZ can benefit from a healthy drop both in handling and appearance, granted the suspension you opt for is of good quality. For Week to Wicked, RS-R, known for great quality, was on board and delivered their Sports-i coilovers.
Built around a mono-tube damper with RS-Rs own formulated oil and packed with 36-levels of damping adjustment, the upgrade even includes a slick, reversible upper plate that grants 1.5 degrees of negative camber, which we opted to include during installation.
Updating the factory bushings with Energy Suspension's polyurethane bushings is time consuming and required some muscle (a press or series of strong c-clamps, to be exact) but was well worth the effort. Drastically improved handling from the addition was expected once those worn factory rubber bushings were removed.
Not surprising, quite a few of the OEM pieces were torn or brittle and definitely in need of replacement. Though it was purchased in California, we're not sure if it spent most of its life here. For a 2013 model, there was a significant amount of corrosion on the bolts under the car, the bushings looked really rough and the brakes and wheel studs looked like this car had seen some road salt regularly.
Speaking of brakes, the beat-up stock rotors and pads came out and were replaced with EBC Brakes' BSD slotted rotors and Yellowstuff pads. These pads have become synonymous with being basically fade-free, great for street or track and more than capable of handling repeated abuse. Using a "medium" hardness material, pedal feel is ideal, and installation is simplified in that EBC includes a special coating for initial break-in that takes care of a step for you.
The matte black thermic coating used on the BSD rotors protects against corrosion and the bi-directional vents you see cut into the surface actually aid in cooling and self-cleaning.
With initial safety addressed, along with upgraded suspension and a far better-looking ride height, we added in a much-needed wheel and tire package. This is where you can lose yourself and your bank account being that some wheel options can run well into the $4,000+ range, depending on the model. For a street car that will likely see some track time, we fit this BRZ with 18x 9.5in Konig Freeform in a deep, shiny bronze that the group refers to as "Radium Bronze." The wheels use Konig's Flow Forming Technology for low weight and a strong structure, and the spoked design allows for plenty of brake clearance.
In order to take advantage of the wider wheels, Falken Tire provided a set of their FK510 in 255/35-18. It's an ideal tire choice for this build in that they grant excellent handling with great flexibility and won't leave us white-knuckled while driving in wet weather. We know, because we got hit with non-stop rain throughout the week and even after the project was finished and we took it on the road.
Muteki's SR35 lug nuts were used to secure the new rolling attire. Complete with a locking lug for a layer of security, these matte black lugs are produced in forged steel rather than the more common aluminum for additional strength.
Even if we had the time, there was no intention of adding one of the wildly popular widebody kits that so many 86 and BRZ owners rely on. Instead, we added a few subtle but tasteful changes to keep the factory body lines. APR's carbon fiber side diffusers and rear spats don't weigh anything but are very rigid. A few factory clips, nut and bolt combos and a handful of self-tapping screws are all that's needed to get these in place, once you line them up properly. Best of all, the diffusers allow ample clearance to get the car up in the air on a lift or jack.
GReddy offered up their hard urethane front bumper lip that, after a quick paint session with PJ Bonafacio Autobody, was ready to be installed. The material allows just a bit of flex, making it possible to install by snapping both ends around the outer edge of the factory bumper, yet still retain a very tight fit without gaps around its edges. A little bit of adhesive to center it along with screws on each side keep it securely in place and the additional length and lower position make a big impact on the cars' overall look.
With the cosmetic changes complete, the power upgrades were ready for their time in front of the camera. In order to hold the expected power increase, a SPEC Stage 3+ clutch and 10lbs flywheel were added. The clutch kit includes everything you need for installation, including the centering tool, new release and pilot bearings and a race bolt hardware kit. It's built to handle more power than we'd be throwing at it during the week, which means it's more than willing to accommodate future modifications if the owner chooses to keep going with the project.
Best of all, pedal feel isn't extreme by any means. Smooth action that really doesn't require much more force on the pedal than a stock clutch, yet the SPEC version is ready to take on whatever we throw at it.
With the car still in the air, GReddy dropped by to talk about their new RS-Ti 3-inch exhaust system. As the name suggests, its produced in titanium with 3in tubing and relies on a straight-through muffler. The cat-back system only weighs 12lbs, which is a far cry from the factory system which weighs just over 40lbs!
The exhaust tip can be swapped out for different styles available from GReddy and there's also a baffle offered that easily bolts right into the exhaust opening for easy installation and removal.
The last big push to complete the car on day 4 came from Vortech Superchargers. Boost was really the only way to generate some power that we'd actually be able to feel and with Vortech, their BRZ system is 50-state legal, retains all of the factory emissions equipment and is a true bolt-on system.
A conservative 9psi and under the watchful eye of an Ecutek re-flash, the Boxer engine will have no issues with reliability and the "grunt" from the supercharger transforms the BRZ into something far more interesting to drive.
The lack of power from the factory provided by the naturally aspirated engine is really our only gripe about the chassis. Now boosted, the midrange is far more pronounced, and the nature of the centrifugal supercharger has the car pulling nicely right up to redline. Best of all, Vortech coated just about all of the kit in matte black so it's got a factory feel under the hood and the intercooler doesn't draw too much unwanted attention.
To keep things cool, a CSF Radiator was slid into place and we tossed the thinner, plastic end tank-equipped factory unit. The all-aluminum CSF version is a direct replacement, offers a thicker core and does away with any plastic.
The last addition under the hood came courtesy of Odyssey who sent over their Extreme Series battery which uses TPPL (or Thin Plate Pure Lead technology) - a process applied to the manufacturing of flat plates produced in 99.99 pure lead, rather than relying on lead alloy. The plates are slimmer which means more of them can fit within the battery itself, generating more power and a longer life. The Odyssey is a perfect fit in the factory BRZ battery location and doesn't require any sort of modification.
On day 5, to close out the week, we unpacked our custom CoverCraft polyester knit with spandex car cover that's way nicer than our sheets. It's thick, but ultra-flexible and fits every contour of the BRZ it was designed for. CoverCraft even printed an image of our rendering on the front, which is a nice touch. The plan was to drive the car to our dyno appointment to see what kind of power the car was now making, and we made our way there through a pretty significant rain storm and when we arrived we waited. And we waited some more. Finally, after a few hours of standing around in the cold rain, we decided to call it a week since our dyno connect never bothered showing up. Fortunately, our friends at GReddy invited is over to their dyno right after the new year and we were able to get the BRZ over to their Irvine, Ca facility.
In stock form, GReddy's dyno measures about 158hp and 129lbs-ft of tq. from the BRZ on their DynoJet.
With the Vortech supercharger kit and GReddy exhaust system and still using the factory catalytic converter, our BRZ put down 226whp and 186lbs-ft of tq. The increase, as shown in the graph, outshines factory output throughout the cycle, not just specific areas. Headers and other add-ons can significantly increase output but in our quest to remain smog compliant, the BRZ project is complete.
The car is off to its owner to enjoy and rather than tiptoeing around town, worried about the potential legal issues we face in So Cal, the car can be enjoyed daily, and driven to and from the track without a worry.