Mike and Elvis both love Subaru’s rallying history, and models like the Impreza WRX STI, so could they take a BRZ coupe and build their own bespoke STI? There was only one way to find out, and Mike had found the perfect car.
The 2014 BRZ had been used for testing, had a low mileage, was in a great colour combination and it was cheap at just £9000. It felt great on the test drive, but it could definitely handle more power and there was a whiff of burning oil. With a bit of wheeler-dealering it was bagged for a bargain £8500.
The plan was to add a turbocharger but the first job for Elvis was to remove the engine. That way he could investigate the oil leaks and make sure the flat-four unit was healthy enough for the power upgrade. A compression test revealed readings of 170psi for all cylinders, so that was great news.
And sorting those leaks was straightforward – one of them would be fixed when the oil scavenge pump for the turbo was installed and new cam cover gaskets cured the other. In the meantime Mike headed off to see Adrian at Fensport Performance to buy the turbo kit, one that promised an extra 100bhp. It cost £3200 but would be worth every penny.
Once the engine was re-installed and the front bumper was removed to aid access the ace mechanic could bolt the turbo and exhaust pipework into place. Swapping over the Lambda sensors from the old system saved some money, and an uprated exhaust would make the most of the extra power. And sound great, too.
A sports car like this needed to handle well, though, so suspension upgrades that included uprated springs and rear anti-roll bar was the perfect answer. It was all easy to fit, and the boys could then focus on the cosmetics. And one job was sorting out the slightly tatty steering wheel.
It was a trip to Rugby for Mike, where he met Steve at Edge Automotive. For just £200 the wheel got a new covering of Alcantara and a ’12 o’clock marker’ for extra sporting appeal. Now the exterior could get some attention, and with special decals, gold alloy wheels and a rear spoiler the Subaru really looked the part.
The final cost was £14,339 but had it been worth the money? There was only one way to find out, and a test drive on a circuit in Leicestershire provided the answer. It felt absolutely fantastic, and properly quick, and it also gave Elvis a chance to try out some of the electronic kit he’d installed. The launch control system was very effective!
Once the potential buyer had experienced the car for himself it was clear he loved the work that had been done, and he snapped it up for £15,500. It had been a cracking project, and the result was a sports car that fully lived up to the STI billing. Wheeler Dealers had worked its magic on this one, and we love the transformation.
Mike says: “The one thing that I love about making this show is all the artisan craftsmen that I tend to find working, just for the love of Cars. Steve who retrimmed our steering wheel has built a business out of passion and housed it in a shed at the foot of his garden. Brilliant!
“The work he did on the BRZ was fantastic and I could tell I was in good company as spread around his shop where seats from Ferraris and Lamborghinis delivered to him by main dealers.
“That’s what I love. Small independents making a living out of a passion and a love of keeping cars fresh and exciting.”
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