I was super excited to conduct this feature as I rarely find a Subaru that takes my breath away. This feature actually came about when I had spotted this WRX a few weeks earlier on King William Road. When I saw the lack of seats in the rear, the slotted rotors and overall aggressive look, I knew I had to get in contact with the owner !
As I pulled up to Remo's place, his WRX was sitting out the front, freshly detailed and it looked amazing.
As we headed for the hills I started a Facebook Live Stream and Remo began telling us a bit about the car.
Remo S.: I’ve owned it for about 5-7 years, but since I’ve owned it I’ve only put 10,000kms on it. It's only got 80,000kms. Literally it’d get 1,000kms a year this car, and most of those are driving to and from hillclimb events like Mt Alma and Collingrove.
When I got the car it was pretty much stock as a rock, 1 owner. I bought it from this old guy in Sydney. His missus and his kids made him sell it because they were like “you’re an idiot driving this car” cause he was 50 or 60 or something. Then I just started taking it in the hills and fell in love. I just got the bug man, and was really curious about how far I could take it. So I’d do one mod, go in the hills, feel it, see the difference, add another mod and just got curious about how far I could push the envelope with bolt on mods.
As the stream continued I started to feel ill. All Remo had to do was point and the car would go wherever he wanted. It was solid, and raw. Clearly my stomach wasn't as excited as I was.
RS: Most of the mods I’ve done to the car have been handling, because that’s what I enjoy. I just love the grip. There’s times where I have to slow down because I even give myself a stomach ache.
AC: Yep, I'm definitely feeling it now. We may need to pull over.
I finished the stream and we found somewhere to pull over. The motion sickness from being thrown from corner to corner, faster than I'd ever experience before had turned my stomach inside out. Never in a million years would I have thought me of all people would get motion sickness from going too fast in a car. I was embarrassed to say the least.
After I legged it to a nearby bush (thankfully I didn't chuck), I stood back and admired the car. As the sun peaked through the trees and touched the paint, I saw that Remo's WRX had a streak of gold metallic through it and you guys know how I love my sparkles.
I sat next to the driver's door as my hands regained feeling and apologised profusely.
AC: Remo, if someone with a key to every car in the world came up to you and offered you one in return for your WRX, what would you choose ?
RS: Oh, that’s a big call. I’d have a couple choices. I like my old school stuff, so it’d be the SL300 Merc, like old old school one. I’m not sure what year, but they’re about 4 million dollars at the moment. Or it’d be an Aston Martin DB5 or a DB6 like the old old ones. Or an old Porsche Roadster. Just because these old cars are timeless. Like yeah I love modern cars, I love Lamborghinis and Ferraris and stuff but they just date. The new model comes out and you don’t look at the one that’s 2 years old, you look at the new one parked next to it. Whereas if the classic was parked there you wouldn’t look at either of them – just the classic.
But I have often said I love this car so much that if someone came up to me with their Ferrari and offered to trade me I’d probably say no. People say "that’s ridiculous, the Ferrari is $700,000, the WRX is only $20,000". It’s not about the value, it’s about the sentiment. I built this car like this – to me this car is worth way more than its market value. That’s the way I look at it. I dunno if I could bring myself to sell or trade this car.
But yeah at the moment I wouldn’t mind an old Porsche but they’re so expensive man. Maybe even an AC Cobra.
I got back in and wondered if I should be signing a waiver. As we drove to the photo location it became more apparent both Remo and the car were at home in the hills.
RS: I love to drive with the windows down to hear the car and feel the air. I just think ‘why have a nice car if you can’t hear it?’. I hate driving this car around the CBD, I just really don’t enjoy it. I enjoy driving it fast like it was made to be.
AC: I had the feeling you would say that because I never see this car at local meet ups.
RS: Yeah I don’t really take it to car meets, I’m not a big fan of them. This car wasn’t built for parking – this car was built for driving. For me it’s not ‘do the car up and park it in a car park to have people froth over it’, for me it’s like ‘do the car up, let’s get in the hills and see what it feels like’.
We pulled up to the photoshoot location and it was stunning. It only got better as the sun started set too.
AC: So I notice 2 names on the rear, what's the story ?
RS: The intention for the car was always longer duration hill climb events. Mostly multiple stage. A lot of the local stuff we have here for hill climb events, from start to finish is only a minute or something depending on where you stand in the ranking. It’s not a lot of seat time and you don’t really get into much of a rhythm where you can feel the car before you’re at the end. I’ve always wanted to do longer events like a targa where there are multiple stages over multiple days where the duration is a lot longer. So hence the two names on there, one is my name and one is my cousin. The intention is that he will be a navigator, but to be a navigator you obviously have to have bigger balls than the driver and so far he’s the only person who can take it when we’ve been going balls to wall in the car. So the idea is to do a targa in the next year or so, but the entry to those events is quite expensive.
I walked around, taking the car in. From every angle there was something cool to look at, something to peak my interest and comment on.
AC: Did you always have a thing for this platform of Impreza ?
RS: To be honest I never had a thing for Subaru’s… at all. My dad being a strict Italian was always like “you’re not getting a turbo car, too much power, you’re going to kill yourself, blah blah blah”, and I got sick of going slow – I’d still go through the hills in my Beemers though. But it was time for me to get a turbo and I just remember driving one day and seeing a GC8 at the pub near my house and I don’t know why but I was like “I want a Subaru, I want a WRX”.
I started looking them up and researching them to see what we could get for our budget at the time which I don’t remember what it was. Then this one just popped up and my dad finally caved but he didn’t want me getting some molested rice box thing that had a million different mods already. And this one was bone stock and really tasteful.
I almost didn’t end up with this car because a silver one came up and it had an aftermarket red interior (not gross like the dash and everything because those make me cringe) but just picture as if it came out with red seats from factory. It may have been factory anyway. So my dad rang this dude and flew there and he rocks up asking for the service books and the guy’s like “I lost them” hahaha, it was a deal breaker right there. So we left it. A few weeks later, this black one came along and it was meant to be.
Short of the GC8 (which I love), this shape here I find is one of the more iconic Subaru’s from the rally point of view. This is my favourite shape because of the wide body kit.
AC: How does your dad feel now about what the car has turned into ?
RS: Oh he loves this thing. He thrashes it more than me. Like I said, he never wanted me to have a fast car and then like he eventually grew an appreciation for it. Still to this day he thinks it’s one of the most radical cars he’s been in. He just loves jumping into it.
AC: Haha, that's awesome ! The car is extremely impressive. Is it done or do you have more plans for it ?
RS: There’s still more I want to explore with it. I want to strip the sunroof out and do a full build on the engine because currently it’s an EJ205 (2L) but the later model they go to the EJ255 (2.5L). What most of the guys do when they do a build is they chuck the 2.5 block in because you can run a lot more torque and you can run a bigger turbo without having the lag. So ideally, I want to do a build with the 2.5 block and bore it out to a 2.6 or 2.7 so you can a bit greedy with the turbo while still being responsive. I wanna get a BorgWarner EFR for it because at the moment they’re sort of the bee’s knees. And then a cage isn’t too far away. Now that I’m getting older and a bit more mature I’m a bit more mindful of safety.
AC: I have to ask - what's your opinion on Evolutions ?
RS: I like them. I’m not one of those stereotypical people that hates one and loves the other. Although, a lot of people talk up Evos higher than WRXs or STIs and I thought the same until I drove my mates 7. It was crazy when I drove it but I didn’t enjoy it as much as my car. My car feels very raw, it’s like a go-kart. You can feel every bump, but his car felt a lot smoother and creamier which may mean it’s more refined, it might be a better thing in terms of a construction point of view. But I didn’t like it, I like the raw go-kart, driver feedback feel. His felt a bit more detached.
As I continued to walk around the car, taking in everything from the wide fenders, to the sharp lines, I picked up the splitters inside the spoiler.
AC: What are these splitters inside the spoiler for ?
RS: These are ‘wing stiffies’, and they stop flexing in the rear wing. It’s an original STI wing and they’re so expensive so I don’t want it cracking.
It was really cool to see everything on this car had a purpose. Even the battery is relocated to the boot for weight distribution. It’s placed on the passenger side to offset the driver.
RS: It chews petrol though oh my god. E85 on its own and then the anti-lag is just horrendous. The worst I’ve gotten to a tank is 180kms on a spirited drive. You can watch the needle drop.
AC: Would you recommend when people start modifying cars, maybe they start with handling (suspension, brakes, tyres) and move onto turbos and other performance related modifications later ?
RS: Yeah absolutely, and don’t do everything all at once too because the fun is in doing things slowly and progressing. If you do it up slowly over time you can enjoy it. The most fun is in researching, you know ? Like coilovers, which ones do I want and what’s the difference between this brand and another brand. Then you decide that’s the brand you want and you save for it and then you get it and trial it and tune them. That’s the fun for me and what I’ve enjoyed the most about this car.
Dude, if you saw how long I researched the wheel nuts I bought for this car, anyone would think I’m insane. I reckon I spent a week researching wheel nuts. No shit. I just researched all the different metals and all the different brands. Going through the process… that’s all the fun.
AC: Dude, thanks so much for taking me out and putting up with my motion sickness. Do you have any final wisdom to impart on the car community ?
RS: Learn power and learn performance. I started with slow cars and then they got faster and faster. For example, this car started bone stock and I did little bit by little bit by little bit and gradually I grew as a driver with the car. I got better as a driver as the car got faster and I needed to be a better driver. Whereas some of these kids might buy something like this off the shelf ready to go and they’ve never driven a car that can perform like that and they end up killing themselves. It’s like you’ve got to appreciate the car and you’ve gotta grow with your cars. So as you get more experience, your car has to be better. You can’t just be inexperienced and go buy the best thing you can afford and it’s like, all this power and you don’t know what to do with it. So that’d be my tip – grow with the car.
You can catch Remo next at Legend of the Lakes and Willunga Hillclimb. Remo also owns a detailing business called Prestige Classic Detailing so make sure you check it out and give him a like.
Year/Make/Model: 2004 Subaru WRX Club Spec EVO 7
- Brand: Factory EJ205 running E85 with Ecutek RACE-ROM anti-lag tuned by SnJ Automotive making 240awkw
- Inlet manifold: 3” Perrin silicone inlet hose and TGV delete
- Induction: Ceramic coated IHI vf34 turbo with Pierburg 3 port boost solenoid
- Oil Pump/Sump: AT Performance Fabrication custom catchcan
- Fuel/Fuel Pump: DW375 fuel pump, MAFless
- Cooling: Process West top mount intercooler with splitter
- Exhaust: 3 inch catless turbo back exhaust with straight pipe
- Misc: id 1000 injectors
- Torque converter/clutch:
Suspension and Brakes:
- Coilovers: Tein Monosport coilovers (Jap spec)
- Steering: JDM Spec C 2.2 quick steer rack
- Brakes: 2 piece rotors & DS2500 pads, rear DBA3000 rotors and Project Mu HC+ pads, Cusco master cylinder brace, Goodridge braided lines, Motul RBF600
- Calipers: Alcon mono4 front calipers
- Other?: 22mm front and rear swaybars with heavy duty mounts and endlinks, roll centre adjust kit, front and rear lateral lock kit, Cusco type OS front strut brace, subframe lock kit, camber bolts and anti-lift kit
Wheels and Tyres:
- Tyres: 255/35/18 Yokahama AD08R
- Wheels: 18x9.5 +35 Enkei RPF1s
- Seats/Steering wheel: OMP steering wheel, Velo GPT2 seat, Beatrush rear seat divider
- Seatbelts: Takata racing harness
- Perrin Pitch stopper
- Battery relocation to the boot
- Lightweight battery
- Positive shift kit and Perrin gearbox stay kit