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Old 11-11-2002, 09:34 AM   #1
Necromancer
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Member#: 477
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Vancouver
Vehicle:
GC4 -> GGA -> GM6
Yeah, that's about right.

Default Guess what I drove yesterday!

So I'm expecting to have a lame weekend -- no money, no plans, and no time (been working lately). I drive into Utsunomiya to go to a cafe to get some work done, and notice some familiar kanji on the map. Wait -- does that say "Fuji Heavy Industries" in Japanese?? Yup -- I recognized the kanji from the time I rode a diesel locomotive from Motegi to Tokyo a few weeks back...



Anyway, I wind my way through a bizarre industrial/residential neighbourhood and finally end up at the front gate to the FHI plant...



The place has an eerie feel, like something out of a WWII movie. You can just feel the thunder of the warplanes rolling out of the plant 60 years ago. FHI didn't make the Zero (that was a Mitsubishi) but I'm sure they had something to rival it -- hey, times haven't changed much after all. More on this later.

Anyway, I snap the pic and drive back to the highway, where I find -- surprise surprise! -- a huge Subaru dealer!

I remembered that there was supposedly some kind of "event" this weekend, so I head in to look for schwag.

Mr. Nakayama comes out and greets me in a nice suit, and I explain that I'm not Japanese, and blah blah blah. 30 seconds into the conversation he says, "Impuressa wo norimasu ka?" ("Wanna ride one?") ... and I say "Hell fawkin yeah!" and then futz around trying to translate that into Japanese. Five minutes later the attendant delivers this ...



They got the new design cars in last week, he said. Actually not everybody in Japan has them yet -- it's just that we're in the neighbouring prefecture to the factory in Gunma.

He asks me:
1. Do you have a Japanese driver's license? (well, I have an international driving permit...)
2. Are you accustomed to the Japanese roads? (err, yeah...)
3. Since it's a fast car, do you promise to be careful? (ahuh, ahuh!!)


By this time I'm smiling and giggling like urbanwhitetrash after drinking the spiked punch at prom. And he hands me the keys! I finally manage to get my wits together enough to shift the six-speed into first and ease out onto the road. Wow. No clutch shudder, no engine shudder, the throws are shorter and smoother, and DAYAM, that engine sounds like NOTHING we have back home!!

OK. So I was a wuss. I didn't press it much, but it was still a hell of a ride. And the new design sure is a lot less fugly than the old one (sorry Sunnys).





The new wheel is cool and feels nice (leather is a lot grippier than what I remember of the old one).

The seats are totally awesome. If you weigh less than 160 pounds or so.

The new instrument panel is OK. Pretty much the same as before, but red, a little fancier (what with the adjustable diff display and all), and of course it has the weird full-sweep thing on startup. Because the illumination is always on, there's a weird little green "headlight on" indicator that comes on with your low-beams.

Standard tires look and feel like R-compounds. I'm not kidding. They fully expect you to get your own set of tires for rain, snow, and mud.

To shift into reverse on the six speed, you grab the collar under the shift knob between your index and middle finger, pull up, and move the lever all the way to the right and down.

Despite the use of hard engine and suspension mounts, the car feels solid, not rackety. I take back the wussy crap I said about using STi mounts. It's livable.

I had fun playing with the headlight leveler switch. You can go into full "searchlight mode" with it going up and down like a fawkin disco in traffic jams. Add the ear wagging effect (motorized folding side mirrors), and you've got a party!

And of course, the bestest feature of them all...



They figured out what to do with the space next to the cupholder! You're gonna need that card tray for all the digits you pick up with that car!


Now, after all this excitement, I was so giddy that I ran to my car and got my computer, and showed the salesman all the club pictures from back home! Yup, he saw me and FireWire rallying, he saw our autocross pictures, the photo from the top of Mt. Seymour, the bubble tea pics ("Is that guy Japanese?" -- pointing to KFC, but not Sunny), the snow drift pics, the lot of 'em.

So he says, how about we go for another ride? This time I'll drive..

OK. We take the same route. But he opens the thing up! Here's the video ... watch those first 2 seconds carefully, that's a rolling start from 20km/h.

VIDEO (MPEG-1, 2MB)

Needless to say, it was a freakin' trip!! As far as pucker factor goes, I'd put it up there with the 5.0L Miata I rode in once. And the sound -- it's NOTHING like aftermarket!! More like a Porsche, seriously. Except you hear that blowoff valve softly swooshing between each of the six gears -- despite the fact that it's a recirculating type just like our own WRX's.

Man, there's nothing like a day that totally exceeds your expectations. I even got a free WRC keychain, and the salesman says come by anytime, as he wants to practice his Engrish anyway. We're the same age, so it's all cool. I'll probably go back and maybe he'll let me drive his own STi GF8 wagon... Muhuhuhaha.

Can't wait till you guys come for Tokyo Auto Salon and we can really cruise the town!

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Last edited by Necromancer; 11-11-2002 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:35 AM   #2
Necromancer
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Member#: 477
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Vancouver
Vehicle:
GC4 -> GGA -> GM6
Yeah, that's about right.

Default

Anyway, in the grand tradition of whoring in my own thread...


My current ride. Seriously. Best $4K I ever spent. Did I tell you the rear speakers move when you press the "WARP" button on the radio??

Last edited by Necromancer; 07-02-2006 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:46 AM   #3
Necromancer
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Member#: 477
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Vancouver
Vehicle:
GC4 -> GGA -> GM6
Yeah, that's about right.

Default

Oh yeah, I forgot the whole point of the intro about the FHI factory and such...



See that titanium strut tower bar? The one with "STi / FHI Aerospace Division" stamped on it, just like the previous carbon fibre one? Yup, it's made in the factory next door. How cool is that????

The factory also makes Apache helicopters and other aircraft. I still can't believe it's right in the middle of a neighbourhood in the city next to me.

Forgive my lightheadedness, as I picked up a bottle of my town's local sake at the 7-11 and have been *hic* enjoying its warmth.

Last edited by Necromancer; 11-11-2002 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 11-11-2002, 11:41 AM   #4
Yuhin
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2002 Pimpreza WRX
WRC Blue w/ Sti banner

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Old 11-11-2002, 11:54 AM   #5
Benjamin Tang
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red

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[quote]The place has an eerie feel, like something out of a WWII movie. You can just feel the thunder of the warplanes rolling out of the plant 60 years ago. FHI didn't make the Zero (that was a Mitsubishi) but I'm sure they had something to rival it -- hey, times haven't changed much after all. More on this later.[/img]

actually i don't think you're that far off... there was an article in the vancouver sun a few weeks back about mitsubishi's entry into canada and they wrote something about mitsubishi and FHI originally being part of one large company back in WWII, but where broken up by the US because of their size?

heh... i'm still watching your little movie.... OHMIGOD YOU'RE DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!!! oh wait everyone is hahaha

the coolest thing i like about the gauges is that the little STi logo is backlit

keep 'em coming necromancer
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Old 11-11-2002, 12:35 PM   #6
wrx_sti_ver4
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1997 WRX STi Ver-4
Black

Default

wow, that's rad....I'll have to hit my local dealer up for ride.

have you ever ridden in any other (older) STis other than this one? I have a gc8 ver4 and was wondering what the differences would be like?

Do you ever get out of Tochigi? If you're ever in the Kanagawa area, let me know.

Gary
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Old 11-11-2002, 01:10 PM   #7
Mel 22B
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Chapter/Region: VIC
Location: N. Vancouver, BC
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Silver with Black Tires

Default

Sweet post. I am bright green with envy.

stephen
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Old 11-11-2002, 02:08 PM   #8
Mirage
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Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Vehicle:
01 RS Coupe/Silver
00 SiR/06 ZX-6R

Default

Cool cars.

Nice girls. Are they chinese?

Your hair is long.

When are u coming back?
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Old 11-11-2002, 02:57 PM   #9
goten
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2004 WRX STi

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wow

will u be free to bring me around japan when i come in feb?
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Old 11-11-2002, 03:12 PM   #10
Ken
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World Rally Blue

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Omg... you have to help me go hunting for a Jspec STi when I'm over there after next week. I'm droolin'!
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Old 11-11-2002, 03:26 PM   #11
youthanasia
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2013 R60S All4

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Dude, I only have 1 thing to say to you:


SAAAWEEEEEEETTTTT!!!!!
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Old 11-11-2002, 04:49 PM   #12
Orbiter
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2002 Impreza WRX
Britney Edition

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damn nice video!!! i love the red guages.. i need to do a swap on my car hehe =|


hmm get to drive a sti and have a menage a tois all in 1 night..
your one lucky foolio necro =)
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:06 PM   #13
henryh
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For a second there, I thought you were going to tell us you drove a bus. =p

That's just too cool, Joe. Have you looked into getting a 2-wheeler yet? =)
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:17 PM   #14
ScoopY
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Thumbs up



:monkey:
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Old 11-12-2002, 03:53 AM   #15
Koyo
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Lucky dog. BTW, why are you in Japan?? I'm kinda new here so I don't know anyone.
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Old 11-12-2002, 05:02 AM   #16
Syms
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Alpine white

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wow..thats insane...ur one lucky bastard lol

i couldnt help hearing you saying "oh $hit" and "Pok Guy" in that video hahahahaha
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Old 11-12-2002, 11:36 AM   #17
Necromancer
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Member#: 477
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Vancouver
Vehicle:
GC4 -> GGA -> GM6
Yeah, that's about right.

Default

Hey guys! Thanks so much for your comments. Really made my day.

Quote:
Originally posted by wrx_sti_ver4
have you ever ridden in any other (older) STis other than this one? I have a gc8 ver4 and was wondering what the differences would be like?
Yup ... the new cars are smoother, heavier, and generally more luxurious. Personally, I prefer the rawness of the old ones.
Quote:
Do you ever get out of Tochigi? If you're ever in the Kanagawa area, let me know.
Oh yeah! Sent you a PM.

Last edited by Necromancer; 11-12-2002 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 11-12-2002, 11:39 AM   #18
Necromancer
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Member#: 477
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Vancouver
Vehicle:
GC4 -> GGA -> GM6
Yeah, that's about right.

Default

Quote:
Originally posted by Mirage
Nice girls. Are they chinese?
You mean from China? One's Taiwanese and the other is Japanese American. It's was a group day trip to Kamakura and we just happened to snap a picture together. Actually, one of them is really cool but she doesn't like me back. c'est la vie...
Quote:
Your hair is long.
Yeah, I just got it cut that day, too. Really hard to find a decent haircut here -- remember, this is a country where some guys shave their eyebrows and wear makeup...
Quote:
When are u coming back?
Next August, which reminds me, I have to get my arse in gear and reapply for UBC.

Last edited by Necromancer; 11-12-2002 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 11-12-2002, 11:45 AM   #19
Necromancer
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Member#: 477
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Vancouver
Vehicle:
GC4 -> GGA -> GM6
Yeah, that's about right.

Default

Quote:
Originally posted by henryh
Have you looked into getting a 2-wheeler yet? =)
Yup ... actually a bunch of us were in the VIP room at Motegi Raceway a few weeks ago, and I was really pining for something fast....

Unfortunately I'm too broke at the moment to afford one. Maybe if I can find an Engrish teaching job in the evenings or something...
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Old 11-12-2002, 11:48 AM   #20
Necromancer
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Member#: 477
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Vancouver
Vehicle:
GC4 -> GGA -> GM6
Yeah, that's about right.

Default

Quote:
Originally posted by goten
will u be free to bring me around japan when i come in feb?
Sure, send me an E-mail.

Koyo: I'm here teaching Engrish for a year. Here's what my junior high school students look like:

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Old 11-12-2002, 12:06 PM   #21
Ashton
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Location: Burnaby, BC
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2000 Impreza 2.5 RS
Silver

Default

Looks like you're getting on well Joe It's these little moments that make the trip all worth while! I am still trying to plan a trip to Japan, but it may not be for the car show as AirCanada still requires you to fly with the employee to get the discount
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Old 11-12-2002, 12:24 PM   #22
JdanS
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Red GT ltd

Default

Hey, cool post... you lucky $#*&@.

Keep it coming... at least we can live through your posts
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Old 11-12-2002, 12:27 PM   #23
jackwei
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Old 11-12-2002, 12:33 PM   #24
urbanwhitetrash
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Location: Northern Socialist Republic
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2007 Acura MDX
Silver

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joe,


you lucky guy, you... say, how's the okonomyaki? When you get back, I would like to hear about your culinary adventures.

Glad to hear you're having fun, albeit a little on the lonely side. Young leaf, that will change.


later

[b]
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Old 11-12-2002, 12:33 PM   #25
Necromancer
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Member#: 477
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Vancouver
Vehicle:
GC4 -> GGA -> GM6
Yeah, that's about right.

Default

Love the stats page!!

Engine Type 4 cylinder in-line OHC 8 valve with
electronic multi-point fuel injection
Engine Capacity 658 c.c. (yes, not even 1 litre!)
Max Power 52 hp at 7,200 rpm
Max Torque 54 nm at 5,600 rpm
Front Suspension MacPherson struts, coil springs and dampers
Rear Suspension 2-link strut type, coil springs and dampers
Wheels Alloy rims 12 inch diameter
Tyres Some lousy OEM tyres
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