Flat-black Subaru Impreza. There's only one thing that comes to mind when those words are uttered: Sport Compact Car. The crew at SCC had a thing for flat black, starting with the choice to go rattle-can on an STI project many years ago. One thing led to another, the snowball effect took full swing and the car you see here was born.
Project WRX is another leftover asset of SCC, a once-loved work in progress, tossed aside and lost in the shuffle. We took delivery (if you can call it that) of the car about a year and a half ago and it has served as a work horse daily driver and parts-getter because of its great street-friendly setup.
We're not crazy about the condition of the paint after several years of wear and tear, but we like the look. In our book, the flat-black look is second only to World Rally Blue Mica as far as iconic Subaru colors are concerned. Does that make us SCC fanboys? No, we just give respect where it's due. The car's exterior isn't slated to change much in the future, save a few touch ups here and there. We're not trying to build a show car after all, although ironically this car was actually a SEMA booth car once upon a time. Funny how the world goes round, things come and go and surface again. Parts go missing, things get sold off and we're left trying to put together the pieces and figure out what we need to do to get this project rolling again.
As it sits now, Project WRX is a really good street car. Putting down a robust 305 ft-lbs of torque and a very reasonable 266 whp, the car can get out of its own way. What it lacks on the top end is simply a result of the ample gains made down low in the rpm range. Using the slightly anemic (but girthy off the line) stock turbo and only a few bolt-on parts, it's not really a reasonable goal to achieve good low-end power as well as high-horsepower peak gains, especially on a small budget. The build was intended to be a usable kind of powerband, and it has exactly that. By using a K&N Typhoon intake, the car breathes more freely than stock, and this upgrade alone is good for roughly 24 hp. The upgraded Legacy GT fitment top-mount intercooler from Perrin keeps the temperatures where they should be; this upgrade is ideal because of the size and shape relative to our boost level and power output. By retaining the top-mount design, this intercooler upgrade improves efficiency while eliminating the extra lag associated with the more popular front-mount setup. Together with a 3-inch COBB downpipe, SPT after-cat exhaust and a custom tune using COBB's AccessPORT, these upgrades complete the underhood modifications - a very modest spec sheet. But don't be fooled, Project WRX gets up and moves quickly with purpose, enough so that we aren't inclined to tinker and potentially ruin a good thing. Not yet, at least.
Underneath the car is where the real magic happens. SCC spent a lot of time testing, tuning, driving and measuring - basically doing all of the grunt work to get the suspension dialed in. A slew of aftermarket arms, adjusters, bushings and braces along with a set of street friendly TEIN Super Street coilovers have improved the car's handling characteristics dramatically when compared to a stock GE chassis WRX. It also holds its own quite well against its big brother STI models, and that's not a butt-dyno claim. We're holding back the technobabble in this article, but if you're interested in crunching some numbers, please log on to modified.com and read through the re-hosted SCC tech articles to see exactly how well Project WRX holds up against the rest of its rally inspired cousins. You might be surprised by the results.
What does the future hold in store for Project WRX? Not a whole lot, to be totally honest. The braking department needs to be tackled first - the car definitely feels too heavy for the stock brakes even with the upgraded Hawk pads. Once upon a time, Project WRX was equipped with an awesome one-off AP Big Brake kit, but somewhere along the line that went missing.
We like how the car works as a whole right now, and aside from helping the heavy beast stop more safely and milking a bit more power out of it, there's not much more we could ask for from a true-to-form street car. You won't be seeing any rollcages or bucket seats in this Subaru anytime soon; we want to keep this car in the "attainable" department as a car you, our readers, can relate to. If any of you out there have suggestions for possible upgrades, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you would like to see!
Specs & Details
'08 Subaru Impreza WRX
Engine Subaru EJ25 2.5-liter horizontally opposed 4-cylinder
Engine Management COBB AccessPORT
Suspension TEIN Super Street coilovers; Super Pro polyurethane bushings; Whiteline Automotive polyurethane steering rack bushings, front lower subframe brace, front bumpsteer tie-rod outer ends, roll center adjusters, front control arm ball joints, rear antiroll bar brace
Interior STI shift knob
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Volk CE28N 18x8" +44mm wheels; Yokohama Advan Sport Tires 235/40R18; stock brakes; Hawk HPF pads
Numbers 266 hp & 305 wtqc