I learned to drive on the dirt roads of New Hampshire. The 1960 Ford Falcon Tudor could be tossed sideways on loose gravel and snow, but with very slow steering (4.6 turns lock-to-lock!), 90 HP, and “three on the tree”, it was by no means a rally car. I was unaware that a 1964 Falcon Sprint finished 2nd in the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally. (The Falcon rally car had a respectable 305 HP 289 V8, 2850 lb curb weigh, and 0-60 in 5.7 seconds!)
I first saw a rally car on a foggy night in the Rampart Range of Colorado. The car was John Buffum’s Open Class Audi Quattro. The backfires of the turbo five echoed through the pine forest and his six Hellas blazed the trees. He drifted through the climbing S-curve throwing wet gravel far into the woods. I chased the Press on Regardless in 1983 and 1984. With good maps and timing, I watched every third stage, racing between stages in a rented Toyota, which I returned covered in mud and dragging its underbody protection. At the Olympus Rally in 1985, I watched Hannu Mikkola in a white prototype Audi Sport Quattro S1 (E2). The sound of that car in the forest was incredible. In ’86, I saw Markku Alen win in the Lancia Delta S4 against Juha Kankunen in the Peugeot 205 T16 E2. The Olympus had so few spectators I chatted with the drivers and crews at service. I chased the rally in a Corolla GTS 16V manual transmission that I had found, to my astonishment, in the Hertz lot.
Thus was born the notion that the ideal fast and fun daily driver would be as close as practical to an AWD rally car, and I decided that some day I would build one. After owning a second hand Quattro Turbo and other interesting cars, I bought a WRX in 2001. I gradually modified the car, with the objectives of Group N plus performance and WRC appearance. For fast "stage times" year round on Colorado roads, I settled on a gravel setup with no drop and strong gravel rally wheels. For the mountain roads, I chose GrN close ratio RA gears with 4.44 rear, and modified the engine for quick spool, torque, and day-to-day reliability at 5000-14000’ elevation and –30–105 F temperatures. I drive the car to work daily on a twisty mountain road (2000' vertical) and take it over Loveland Pass (12990') about 40 times a winter. I have over 140,000 miles on the car. Last weekend I drove to the summit of Mt. (7000' vertical), stayed in boost most of the time, and averaged 21 mpg!
Engine: EJ205, VF34, Hyperflow TMIC, MRT UP, MadDad V2 DP with metallic cat, Hayward and Scott Rallye exhaust with removeable silencer, Vishnu pulley, Ecutek tune. GrN engine mounts. And no GrN 32mm restrictor! 354 HP/364 ft-lbs (flywheel)
Transmission: Type RA gear set with 4.44 final drive, custom tall rally short shifter, GrN bushings
Steering: quick steering rack (12.5:1 ratio, 2.2 turns lock-to-lock)
Suspension: STi/SPT springs and inverted struts, Whiteline sways, links, and ALK, Do Luck aluminum front subframe, GrN strut top mounts, side cowl braces, STi aluminum front control arms, Whiteline strut bars F&R
Wheels: OZ Racing Gravel Wheels (GrN) 6.5X15, with Prodrive Impreza WRC lug nut covers; Prodrive P7 7X17; Enkei RC-G4 7X15
Tires: Bridgestone RE960AS 205/60-15; Bridgestone SO-2 215/45-17, Dunlop Winter Sport M3 205/60-15
Brakes: Front STi 4 pots, rear 2 pots. DBA Gold rotors, Carbotech Bobcat pads.
Exterior: Prodrive WRC carbon fiber wing, Burnup/Launsport fenders, STi sills, WRC hood insert, Prodrive WRC headlights, functional roof scoop and inner roof vent, 2003 Monte Carlo rally plate, Hella Rally 1000FF HID driving lights and modified WRC covers
Interior: Sparco Evo II with Scroth harness, custom alcantara dash, suede STi steering wheel, carbon fiber switch panel, e-brake, Ipod interface, ScanGauge.
Curb Weight: 3039 lbs
Sport Weight: 2976 (Co-driver Sparco, back seats removed with carbon fiber bulkhead, JDM bumper beam)
Sound clip (recorded on a gravel mountain road) http://www.4shared.com/dir/8153159/3...9/sharing.html
The car is basically done except maybe some small interior stuff. I just rebuilt the engine at 140,000 miles, and the aim now is to give it careful maintenance, keep it indefinitely, and run the second engine as long as the first. I don't plan a roll cage because its safer without one on a DD and I don't want the extra weight. A full carbon rally car interior would be nice, but I can't justify the expense for a few pounds saved. I have pushed the mods just short of the point where things start getting uncomfortably rough and noisy for a 1-2 hour blast to skiing.
I reckon the acceleration exceeds a group N rally car as it is, and driven 10/10ths on gravel, it is stupid fast.