300hp / 350tq (est. at wheels)
a. COBB Tuning AccessPORT (stg 2)
b. Custom AP tune by PDX Tuning
c. COBB Tuning downpipe w/ highflow cat
d. Greddy Spectrum Elite cat-back exhaust
e. AEM cold air intake
f. Perrin VTA blow off valve
g. STI short throw shifter
h. SPT oil cap
i. Braille ML30C carbon fiber 9 lb. Lithium-Ion battery (...that's right, 9 lbs!!)
j. Braille aluminum mounting bracket
k. APR carbon fiber alternator cover
a. 3M Matte Military Green 1080 vehicle wrap
b. 3M Carbon Fiber 1080 roof overlay
c. Chargespeed v.2 carbon fiber front lip
d. Chargespeed carbon fiber side skirts and rear strakes
e. Chargespeed carbon fiber eyelids
f. Chargespeed carbon fiber bumper ducts
g. Carbon by Design carbon fiber hood (carbon bottom and custom 1x1 weave)
h. Carbon by Design carbon fiber rear wing (custom 1x1 weave)
i. APR carbon fiber brake ducts
j. LightWerks angel eyes w/ amber reflector removal
k. Perrin shorty antenna
l. SPT sport grill (removed pillar and badge)
m. Debadged hatch
n. Rolled rear fenders
o. Tinted taillights
a. Bride Gias (driver) & Stradia (passenger) bucket seats (red gradient w/ carbon kevlar shell)
b. Bride seat rails
c. SPT boost gauge
d. ARC titanium shift knob
e. Recaro toddler seat (yes, it actually gets used)
a. SSR SP3 in custom gold finish – 19x9.5 +35 NR (f) / 19x9.5 +30 SL (r)
b. Dunlop SportMaxx TT – 275/30/19 (f&r)
c. RAYS Duralumin lug nuts (black)
a. Tanabe Sustec PRO Five 12-way adjustable coilovers
b. Custom alignment and corner balancing
c. Perrin front strut bar
a. Alpine INA-W900 Navigation, Audio/Video system
b. Alpine iPod high-speed interface
c. Alpine Bluetooth
d. Alpine XM satellite radio
e. Alpine HD radio
f. PAC steering wheel control
g. JL Audio C5 650 components
h. JL Audio VR525 CXi coaxials
i. JL Audio 10W6v2 subwoofers (2)
j. JL Audio 450/4 amplifier
k. JL Audio 500/1 amplifier
l. JL Audio cables and wiring
m. Dynamat on doors, hatch, rear floor, & roof
n. Custom Car Stereo custom ported sub-enclosure, wrapped in suede
Mayday Garage: Back to the stage (original black car feature)
Mayday Garage: Deja Vu (updated green wrap)
Be warned, this is very, very long and follows the build from when the car was black, followed by a shorter current update of the car as you see it currently.
Cliff notes are available for the lazy. (scroll to bottom) LOL
Some people remember me from my beginning stages starting with Honda, …first a 1995 Honda Civic EX, followed by a 1998 Integra GSR sedan. Some might think even with a recent stint in a 2001 S2000, I was a Honda guy. Wrong. After trading in that GSR for a 2002 WRX, the Subaru turbo boxer engine won my heart. I’ve owned 5 Subaru’s in less than 10 years. First was a 2002 white WRX, that one lasted just a few months and lost it’s life after 5x rollover. Number two was a 2002 silver WRX that was a full-on HIN trailer queen. Number three, the 2004 STI in Java Black Pearl, …it also followed suit. Number four went to my wife, in the form of a Tribeca SUV (now also retired for a QX56), and number five, ….well here we begin.
So, lets talk about the 2008 STI. At the time of purchase I had just sold my Lexus IS350 for an Avalanche, I was just about complete with my S2000 build and money was a bit tight. Then there was Wally and this Subaru “Special Year End Clearance Sale” on remaining 08 STI’s. 0% financing, up to 5 years, 0 down, …It was tough seeing all my Subaru friends buying them up at these great deals, …If I recall correctly, Wally sold 16 STI’s in the month of December. He knew I wanted one, as I was working on his first Gillman WRX Project and kept nagging him to let me buy it when the project was complete. January rolled around, and he told me there were two left, …”Greg,if you want one, this is the time”. I was tired of black cars, so I said I’ll take one in white. He replies, you can have black or black. LOL. Done, …I was back in another Subaru, another STI, another black car, …another black STI.
So here was with three cars, not including the wife’s Subaru Tribeca. Plans for the STI? I wasn’t even sure yet, I was just happy to get in one. I did opt for the Navigation and BBS package, even though my friends warned me not to. “You’re just going to change it all anyway”. They were right. It didn’t take too long before I had an aggressive set of Enkei GTC-01 wheels put on in the 19x9.5 flavor. There went the BBS wheels, with all but 300ish miles on them. And so it began. Next up was a set of Eibach springs, and soon after a Chargespeed carbon fiber lip kit. Next up was some performance mods. I couldn’t wait for the break-in (1000miles) to come up, I had already ordered a COBB AccessPORT and downpipe. At Gillman Subaru Shop Day, we installed everything, I had 600 or so miles on the car. Don’t let the mileage fool you in to thinking these mods came fast, as I rarely drove the car. Keep in mind, I was still sitting on a S2000 and driving an Avalanche daily.
So the time comes to really think about the cars, what stays, what goes, where am I going? Michelle makes my decision easy, we’re having a baby! So I, “we”, decide to sell the S2000. While this took quite some time, it left me with such to decide which direction I was going to take the STI in. Clean, simple, use rare parts, quality parts, one off, …and a booming audio system (the S2000 system left me really wanting more).
As many know, I love carbon fiber. Since the decision was made to take a more serious approach to the car, I was in search of all that’s carbon fiber. A hood seemed an easy choice. While I could have easily called upon Chargespeed for more of their JDM goodness, I chose a different route. I called Carbon by Design. If you don’t know them, don’t be surprised, not many do. Carbon by Design was commissioned by Subaru of America to build the hoods, roofs and rear wing for the Rally cars, even Ken Block’s famous Gymkhana STI(s). I had only one concern, as the nit-pick guy I am, I had to have the weave match the Chargespeed lip kit. Most carbon from Japan comes 1x1 (basket weave), which is a lot tighter than a regular 2x2 weave most commonly used and seen. To my good fortune, the guys at Carbon by Design were happy to do me a one-off in that 1x1 weave, …while they were at it, They also did the same for the rear extended wing (commonly branded as a Crawford Performance wing), …and just to make it even more special, I opted for a carbon fiber underside of the hood as well.
Things progressed, a few parts here and there. I swapped the STI shift knob for an ARC titanium bit, installed a Perrin front strut bar, and sent the headlights to LightWerks to remove the amber reflectors. While they were there, I had them add the “angel eye” kit. My lights were the first where set they had removed the light ring and installed it separately from the kit for an install where it’s hardly recognizable. A Perrin BOV was installed for a little bit if engine “bling”, as well as the APR carbon alternator cover.
I had the fortunate opportunity once again to have Jarred Bowen of PDX Tuning come down to Houston, (he tuned my previous 04 STI), for a personal tuning session. Before the session, I installed an AEM intake, since a custom tune was to come. Jarred and Nathan (formerly of TurboXS fame), had their way with my STI. We never got it to a dyno, as this was all road tuning, but their expertise estimates 300 hp / 350 torque. Not bad for just a few simple bolt ons.
Now we begin 2010. Time for change. Import Reactor was coming up, this is where Houston likes to debut their newest stuff. I’m no different. I special order SSR’s newest wheel, the SP3 in my usual choice of SBC finish in another aggressive fitment. Nothing too crazy, as I’m not a huge fan of the stretched tire look. But I did manage to fit some meaty 275’s on all 4 corners on the Suby, …the rims may look staggered, but they are not. 19x9.5+35 with NR wheel disk in the front, and 19x9.5+30 with SL wheel disk in the rear. Normally these take 3 months to ship, but I paid to air freight these suckers so I could have the first set in the states and in time for the event.
Along with the new rollers, I also needed a new set-up on the suspension for the new wheel fitment. Tanabe USA once again comes through for me. While they offered the Tanabe Sustec PRO 5 in Japan, it was still undergoing some final testing and was not yet available in the states. This was also completed and sent with the wheels. I was now the US test bed for the first of 5 sets to be sent across the pond. Corner balanced, lowered and aligned at Track Time Performance, Curt managed to actually keep the setting right on the edge of factory settings. Amazing.
Moving on to more rarities is the BRIDE Stradia Japan Edition seats. 2 of only 150 made, you won’t be seeing too many of these around. Black suede with carbon fiber shells, lightweight and comfortable, …as long as your on a diet. (hey, Subaru rally driver Dave Mirra approved when he signed my dash, sitting in them at the recent Gillman Big Event 2.) Not to let the seats steal the interior’s thunder, I had Custom Car Stereo work their magic in the hatch. As aforementioned, the S2000’s system, while looking great, left a lot to be desired in the sound department. I spared no expense, I wanted a system you could feel, that had the latest technology and looked great. Custom Car Stereo stripped the interior, Dynamatted the roof, all the doors and the hatch. What was estimated to be a 2 week install ended up being 6, …but in the end it was all worth it. The sound is amazing, and the install definitely draws attention. Oh, and the JL logo over the ports was my idea.
As we neared the end of 2010, I was totally content with the car. It followed the theme I was looking for, but it still lacked a little more visual appeal. I wanted that subtle difference that people would ask, “what’s different here?”. I sent the bumper over to Steve at Excel Body Shop, we removed the pillar in the sport grill, and had to do a little cutting here, a little adding there, but it worked very well. Hiding behind the grill is a set of Hella Supertones painted flat black. I also removed the factory fog lights (another option from the factory that was eventually deleted), in favor of the APR Performance carbon brake ducts (also in 1x1 weave). Last was the new version 2 front lip from Chargespeed along with a set of carbon fiber eyelids. What used to be a friendly smile up front was now a menacing grin. Mission accomplished.
Having had some experience in building Subaru’s, this one wasn’t crazy, but it shows what could be done without doing just that. Not many have been working on the new GRB platforms as well, so I felt the car could still stand out in a room full of Subaru brethren. The car sits with just under 8000 miles (hence my nickname Mr. Hardparker, thank you JohnP). I go through cars like Tiger goes through women, so in new news, as you may have already heard, the STI is officially up for sale and I have taken on another car, …one that may surprise many, including myself.
So, this ends 2010, ...the following is the 2011 update.
As you can see, not much has changed this time around on the STI, the addition of a 3M matte military green vinyl wrap, 3M carbon fiber wrap roof overlay, a fresh set of SSR wheels in gold, Chargespeed carbon fiber bumper ducts and red gradient Bride seats (Gias for the driver, Stradia for the passenger) w/ carbon Kevlar shells. While that may not seem like a lot, as you can see, the “wow” factor has greatly improved.
This was the intention for the wrap, as well as truly finding out “what it takes” to do a proper wrap. I’ve had many calls over the last few months here at Underground Graphics regarding color change wraps. Many claim they can have their cars wrapped for $1500-2000 at various shops and having a rough idea of the amount of hours it takes to perform a full wrap I said to myself, “no way, the average rate is usually $3-4000.
So, while I watched my black beauty sit in the corner of my shop garage under car cover, still waiting for a legit bite on a sale I pondered, “what if I use these gold SSR wheels that have been sitting in my shop for a couple months and do a flat wrap?” I took out the 3m Samples I had and picked out one bad ass matte green and thought,” this matte green and those gold SSR may look good together.” After the mind started to churn I realized that I was going in for another build, which made me realize that I need seats again since I sold the limited editions a few months back.
It all came together pretty fast, I had a good friend, Dak Rothberg (3M certified installer), help with the install (actually, he did most all of it, as I was just in awe of the work being done). We did this over the July 4th weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, …approximately 30+ hours.
We pulled off the bumpers, headlights, taillights, door panels (to get the handles off), headliner (to remove the antenna), removed the body kit, removed all trim pieces, prepped the car, wrapped the car, and put it all back together. While I do absolutely love the look, it does come with negatives.
For one, I realized that I am waaay too busy to do a wrap like this. Although I’ll be offering the service in a new outsourcing venture with Dak, pricing will be what we expected, more than $1500-2000. But under the average, depending on the level the customer wants the “quality of install”. There are shortcuts, such as not removing the bumpers and just tucking into the seams, etc. Other things to note are, since it is a matte finish vinyl, fingerprints and outside elements (bird ****, rain, road grime, etc…) are all enemies of the finish. Heck, you can’t even wax it, unless you want it shiny again.
The vinyl also is very sensitive to scratches, even a simple light brush of the backside of your hand with fingernails will mar the look slightly. In just the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed a few areas that needed a little extra attention (edges peeling, a small wrinkle here and there, and small blemishes), but to the onlooker from two feet away, it does look like 100% like a paint job. It really is amazing.
And of course the pros are there as well, it’s removable and overall cost is still under that of a quality paint job but it will just take time to see how it holds up. Also, I’ve spent numerous class hours learning the details of the vehicle wrap, but have yet to see it in real life applications, therefore this was quite the experience.
The other changes are basically the same high-end parts I’m accustomed to using. The SSR wheels are the same size and offset as the last time but in a custom gold finish. The seats were an easy choice as well. I wanted interior of the car to stand out and what better color than red. The carbon kevlar on the back of the seats matches up perfect with the matte green finish and gold wheels. I think the red is the perfect contrast to the monotone grey interior.
So, while the Subie is still for sale the prospective lucky owner now has a few options on color. Price will stay the same as before and if it doesn’t sell, who knows, maybe it will change yet again. In the meantime, the car will be back out for the rest of the season promoting my company, Underground Graphics.
Bought STI in 08, modded the car, was happy and had my fun with it, couldn't sell in 2011, so wrapped it and made a few changes.
Edit: Bonus Video!!