Buick freaks have Duttweiler, Honda fanatics have Javier Gutierrez, carriers of the Diamond Star flame have Dave Buschur, Chevy small-block gearheads looked to Lingenfelter. In Australia, the Rigoli name is synonymous with fast. And it usually means fast WRXs. Tony and Domenic Rigoli have been tweaking engines for Aussie power mongers since the 1980s.
Only when the WRX came stateside did the Rigoli's name have meaning in America. Rigoli Racing is the driving force behind the seductively powerful engine packages offered by Easy Street Motorsports. In Australia, the Rigolis do it right. They make one change at a time and test either on the dyno or at the strip. Hard-core drag racers, the Rigolis are at the right place at the right time as the drag racing scene in Australia has recently made an evolutionary leap and become much more organized. This wagon is the company flagship in competition and like many such flagships it has a checkered past.
"This car started out as a show car that was owned by one of our customers," says Dom Rigoli. The Rigolis fitted a 2.5-liter setup with nitrous about three years ago and at the time it made 521 hp at the wheels with a dogbox. Back then the car had run a best of 10.8 at 136 mph with a few problems to sort out. The car was never really sorted and was left aside as the owner had other commitments ahead of the car. It was left as a rolling shell with the roll cage fitted.
After a two-year absence from racing, the Rigolis decided to build another 4WD while they were waiting on their two-door tubbed WRX to be finished. Since this car was half setup and doing nothing, they fitted their drivetrain, which they'd mainly developed in the Easy Street WRX, into it.
At their first meeting out they set a new record of 9.13 at 153 mph. The Rigolis have since bought the car from the old owner (Brian Elhassain of MC Racing, who is responsible for the red pearl paint). Future plans include fitting the 3.3-liter EG33 six-cylinder engine and running a twin-turbo setup once they're happy with what they can achieve with the four cylinder.
The driving force behind this wicked wagon is a standard EJ20, bored and stroked to push displacement from 2.0 liters to 2.5 liters. Bore was punched from 92mm to 100mm and stroke elongated from 75mm to 79mm. The block was sleeved and converted to a closed-deck design. The reciprocating mass consists of a nitrated and cryo-treated custom crank, forged pistons and TRP rods.
The valvetrain was augmented with TRP bumpsticks carved out of fresh billets, stainless-steel valves, TRP titanium retainers and heavy-duty valve springs. The cams are a secret-spec TRP design, dedicated to unleashing the boost.
The pressure player is an Innovative Turbo Systems GT76 with a .96 A/R on the hot side and a .76 A/R on the cold side with a Q-trim compressor wheel pushing the air. A MOOD Motorsports air-to-air intercooler chills the charge from a traditional front-mount position in the bumper. The cooler and piping takes up the entire grille area so TRP converted a top-mount intercooler into a radiator and mounted it in the typical top-mount location. Pretty trick. The turbo system runs a 3.5-inch downpipe while a Turbosmart e-Boost controller and an Innovative ProGate wastegate regulate boost to 40 psi.
TRP is fueling the fire with a triple threat of three Bosch Motorsports fuel pumps, two Malpassi rising-rate regulators and eight 1200cc injectors. On the spark side, two MSD DIS-2 boxes fire four MSD Blaster SS coils via Magnecor wires. Ignition becomes critical when firing a big boost motor. This is especially important since weather conditions in Australia can be much less than ideal. The clever setup is tuned into shape by a MicroTech LTX-8, wired for action and programmed by Tony Rigoli. On TRP's Dyno Dynamics dyno the war wagon belted out 542 whp without squeezing the beast with the 100-hp ZEX wet nitrous system.
The WRX's driveline features a Subaru 4EAT automatic tranny with a custom billet high-stall torque converter. The rear suspension is converted to a live-axle ladder bar setup to enhance tuneability. Falcrum coil-overs are on call up front while Spax coil-overs cushion the rear setup. The contact patch is provided by 26x8.5x15 Mickey Thompson slicks mounted on Weld Racing Pro Star wheels. There is a set of street tires on standby for the occasional commute or jaunt to the corner market.
At 8.88 seconds, the only four-cylinder AWD car that we know to be quicker is John Shepherd's Street Tire Class 1991 Eagle Talon at 8.74. We hold that car in high esteem, which reflects well on the Rigoli's war wagon.