Home Automobile Challenge Spec C: Rally Heritage For The Highway

Challenge Spec C: Rally Heritage For The Highway

Challenge Spec C: Rally Heritage For The Highway


It’s been properly over a 12 months since my preliminary Speedhunters Storage put up, the place I launched a few AE86s and this – my Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C.

Over that point rather a lot has occurred, however an equal quantity hasn’t. Life outdoors of automobiles has been very busy, making an attempt to stability work priorities and a brand new addition to the household. I discover once I can spare a while, it turns into a way for escape and to reset, even cathartic at occasions. Having a brand new mission automotive to work on is at all times an thrilling prospect too.

SH Subaru 047

Earlier than I get caught into what I’ve been as much as with my Subaru and what’s deliberate for the longer term, I assumed I’d begin with a little bit of background on the mannequin and my particular automotive.

Up till 2005, the WRX STI served because the Impreza Group N homologation mannequin, regardless of a Spec C variant being obtainable for buy. That each one modified with the 2005 mannequin 12 months STI Spec C, the place extra dramatic revisions have been undertaken.

SH Subaru 045

Beginning with an STI base, the brand new Spec C was placed on a strict food regimen. Thinner glass, a thinner roof pores and skin and much less layers of paint, alongside an aluminium bonnet and boot lid and no underseal or sound deadening all contributed to a 70kg (154lb) weight reduction. The mannequin additionally acquired bigger wheel bearings and had its hubs modified to a 5×114.3 PCD, whereas elevated castor and a wider rear monitor improved dealing with. I can’t neglect the final rally addition both: a pop-up roof vent.

SH Subaru 064

All of it sounds fairly good, proper?

SH Subaru 061

I knew I wished one, however now got here the problem of truly discovering one which ticked all the fitting containers. That’s simpler stated than carried out contemplating the Spec C’s shortage, not to mention the truth that most have been changed into Group N rally automobiles or grime path or gymkhana automobiles, which is basically what they have been designed to be.

Following a number of unsuccessful buying makes an attempt, the fitting automotive was ultimately received at a Japanese automotive public sale home. Following an arduous two month wait whereas it was shipped from Japan, the automotive – which up up to now had lived its total life in Fukuoka Prefecture – lastly arrived on the UK docks.

There may be at all times a level of uncertainty about what precisely you’ll get when shopping for a automotive sight unseen from any public sale home – mine being half a world away. We’ve all heard the horror tales of less-than-accurate public sale grading sheets and sub-standard restore work, however fortunately there have been no horrible surprises in retailer for me. Actually, the Impreza was higher than I anticipated it to be. The timing belt had been not too long ago modified and a stack of service receipts supported the Subaru’s total situation.

SH Subaru 014

Particularly, my automotive is a wide-track Subaru WRX STI Spec C 16-inch, which differs barely from the traditional (17-inch wheel) model. This was the mannequin devoted to gravel, and the specification it acquired mirrored that. Smaller brakes from the common WRX allowed 15-inch wheels to suit, ABS was eliminated alongside central locking, and the automotive got here fitted with the base-spec Impreza GX inside. There was little level for Subaru to specify the automotive with niceties when most purchasers can be gutting the within for a roll cage and racing tools.

To me, it was the perfect base for an fanatic automotive. Probably the most pure, lightest model obtainable, and uncommon with solely 103 made in 2005.

SH Subaru 066

I began with the inside, swapping out the manufacturing unit entrance seats with a pair of fixed-back Recaro Pole Positions. They’re good for protecting one from sliding round throughout spirited drives.

SH Subaru 001

Used JDM automobiles are infamous for have mountains of aftermarket wiring for TV/CD/MiniDisc/navigation head items and different equipment like digital toll assortment (ETC) readers. I changed this 2DIN Kenwood unit with a extra fashionable unit that options CarPlay.

SH Subaru 013

I at all times have some type of hearth extinguisher in my automobiles, however fortunately I’ve by no means had to make use of one in anger. It’s undoubtedly higher to have one and never want it, than want it and never have one. As a substitute of a cumbersome extinguisher, this time round I opted for an ultra-compact Fireplace Security Stick mounted in simple attain from the motive force’s seat.

The actual fact my Spec C got here fitted with chunky snow tyres made it obvious the automotive was used year-round in Japan. Respectable 16-inch rubber may be exhausting to come back by nowadays, however the Dunlop SP SportMaxx RTs I’ve since fitted have confirmed their value as a high quality summer season efficiency tyre.

SH Subaru 004

I then changed the entrance brake rotors, brake traces, pads and fluid. OE rotors and Challenge Mu HC800+ pads have been deemed the fitting stability of cold and warm efficiency, noise and mud.

SH Subaru 042

Extra upkeep adopted within the type of an engine oil change and changing the STI panel filter with a Ramair equal.

One factor the Spec C didn’t include – that will be good – are Xenon headlights. To present the halogen items the greatest probability at casting first rate mild, I gave them a sand and polish.

SH Subaru 060

It was at this level that, by pure probability, I bumped into an proprietor of a white GDB WRX STI whereas out for a drive one afternoon.

SH Subaru 059

Parking the automobiles collectively, the STI was visually extra aggressive, however I’ve grown keen on my Spec C’s understated seems to be. It’s type of a ‘if , ’ factor.

SH Subaru 008

Regardless of having no intentions of driving the automotive over winter when British roads are lined with salt, the dearth of underneath seal and seam sealer necessitated some type of safety.

SH Subaru 012

After many hours of cleansing and encapsulating any floor rust, the underside and any cavities have been sprayed with Dynax-S50 anti-corrosion wax. That is by no means a enjoyable job, as a giant proportion of the coating finally ends up protecting you as a substitute of the automotive.

SH Subaru 069

The entire above work was carried out consistent with my authentic plan for the Impreza – to get it to an excellent normal, then use it, work out the place upgrades are wanted, and slowly develop it to be a extra succesful and satisfying automotive. Utilizing it was a main focus, and I took the Subaru on every little thing from quick drives to multi-day street journeys.

Right here within the UK we’re fairly lucky to have an abundance of fine roads. Among the street surfaces aren’t nice, however for probably the most half it doesn’t detract from the general expertise.

The Welsh countryside particularly has numerous roads that deliver a excessive diploma of enjoyment, however there’s a disclaimer to this all: Pragmatism and being respectful means extra of us can get pleasure from them. The Evo Triangle – a well-known three-road loop – has, over the previous couple of years, been overrun by fans who’ve much less consideration for the native group than they need to have. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in an elevated police presence, extra irate residents, and even common pace cameras on some roads. Rant over.


Fortunately although, there are various roads extra off the crushed path to be loved. North Wales for a number of days with mates in a Porsche 911 GT3 and Aston Martin Vantage V8 was massively satisfying. The additional floor clearance and narrower width of the Subaru was undoubtedly helpful down among the roads.

SH Subaru 015

I like protecting my automobiles clear, and a comparatively new technique of cleansing we’ve all seen getting used of late is dry ice blasting. Eager to see the advantages for myself, a session was booked with Tom, aka TheBlastSmith, to clear the engine bay.

SH Subaru 071
SH Subaru 072

One of these blasting is much much less aggressive than vapour or media blasting. As a media, dry ice pellets evaporate immediately upon impacting the floor they’re directed at, the one residue left behind being grime on the ground to comb up afterwards. An enormous diesel-powered compressor gives Tom’s blaster with round 300 cubic ft per minute of compressed air (for reference, a standard store compressor gives round 15cfm) to shoot the dry ice out the nozzle at over 100psi.

SH Subaru 029

Tom defined that the more serious the automotive is to start out with, the better the distinction and due to this fact the extra spectacular the outcomes. It’s exhausting to convey in photographs simply what a distinction it made in my Subaru’s engine bay, and I don’t suppose these outcomes may have been achieved by scrubbing and brushing. Within the area of only a few hours, the dry ice managed to get oil and grime out of even the tightest areas. Dry ice blasting could be a expensive course of, however as a one-off, I believe it’s completely value it. The engine bay is again to close new.

SH Subaru 056

Benefiting from the 2023 UK summer season, I made one other journey to Wales, this time a one-day affair with my pal Rob in his Renault Mégane RS. Each automobiles have comparable energy and weight, which meant we may hold a reasonably regular tempo.

SH Subaru 057

This a part of Wales affords gorgeous vistas and no scarcity of photograph alternatives. However being one of many hottest days throughout a freak heatwave, my engine oil received fairly heat. Peaking at 130°C (266°F) in high-load, low-speed conditions was a bit greater than I’d have preferred, so an exterior oil cooler is unquestionably on the playing cards.

SH Subaru 039

Many a bug met their destiny on the journey which necessitated an intensive post-drive clear. When you could have white wheels and aggressive brake pads there’s some additional work to be carried out.

SH Subaru 010
SH Subaru 038

The spirited driving additionally known as for a brake calliper refresh. Utilizing compressed air and blocking three pistons at a time, it was a very simple course of to pop the pistons out to resume the seals earlier than bleeding once more. The passenger facet entrance hub had additionally began to rumble, so a brand new OE one was fitted.

SH Subaru 058

For these of us within the Northern Hemisphere, gritted roads and miserable climate are upon us but once more. Whereas I’ve grand plans for the automotive – suspension, bigger brakes (which is able to necessitate a bigger wheel/tyre package deal) and a dyno session to get the automotive mapped for UK gasoline – these will all are available in time and certain after numerous hours of analysis. I don’t need to make the automotive undriveable for any size of time.

SH Subaru 067

I can attest to this with my AE86, which has sat for a complete of 12 years; 5 in my possession. The rebuild course of is properly underway and the shell is at the moment being repaired and painted. However that’s a narrative for subsequent time…

Chaydon Ford
Instagram: chaycore


Supply hyperlink


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here