A couple months ago I started on a project to give a facelift to my WRX. Needless to say, the project went through some interesting twists and turns, but I think I’m now “done” with this car… for now. I have about 50k miles on this 2009 WRX. It’s been an awesome car with very little maintenance needed. The goal in my project was to build a daily driver street car that was also suitable enough for lightweight rally driving off road. I figured it would be good to take some pictures of the car in its most pristine form because one you go into rally mode, things could get ugly real quick.
This car is not vastly different from the stock WRX that already comes hooked up with a turbocharged 265hp 4-banger. On performance, the only upgrades I made was a stage 1 Cobb tune which included a remapped ECU, catback exhaust, and an intake. This brings our power up to a modest 285hp, but just as important, it sounds SICK. The intake and exhaust give the car an aggressive rumble with a high pitched vacuum sound when you mash on the throttle. The Cobb tune was a tricky one. I was getting too much boost, so Cobb had to actually make a special profile for this car to get the boost to a healthier 16PSI from 18. Apparently if I get the downpipe, I can go even higher, but I’ve also heard that really increases the wear and tare on the motor.
The only things I added for a little off road protection was a light bar with monster fog lights and skid plates for the front and rear. The skid plates protect the undercarriage of the vehicle from cracked oil pans or differentials. This isn’t to say that you can air the car 20 feet and expect to come out unscathed. This mod just ensures that if you are going off road, you can probably withstand the blow of a larger than normal rock in your way. The stock fog lights on the WRX are also crap, so these PIAA lights do a much better job of lighting the way in some of the vicious Tahoe snow storms. I also added some mud flaps to protect the paint from rocks that fling up. The flaps were better designed for the wide body version of the car so they stick out a bit, but I decided not to trim them.
Moving on to the exterior fun; I was originally going to do a vehicle wrap, but I found a body shop willing to do a matte paint job for cheaper than the wrap. I actually asked for a dark gray color to match our Boombot2 gunmetal gray color and they royally botched it. It came out about three shades of gray lighter (at least it wasn’t fifty shades of gray?!) It was an odd moment to walk into the shop and figure out how to deal with this. Rather than making them repaint the car, I negotiated to have them do all of the parts installation and we called it deal.
My buddy Tony at Palmer Signs in Sacramanto worked with me on the vinyl. These were pretty big decals we were doing, so I thought it would be best to have pros take care of it at this scale. The hardest part was doing the carbon fiber roof laminate. 3M makes a really sick carbon fiber vinyl that actually has the texture of real carbon fiber in a matte finish.
On the interior, I didn’t do squat besides the KartBoy shift knob. I already has a sound system put in from when I first got the car, so I was pretty happy as is. I’ve trained my dog to puke out the window now, so hopefully I can keep this guy in good shape for a long time to come. After the next 50k miles have passed, we’re gonna strip this sucker down and throw in the tube frame, race seats and drive it like I stole it.