Subaru Impreza WRX STI - The Earl of Good Woods

Mike Malyszko

Now all we need is a rally car. Luckily, I've coerced Subaru into loaning me a set of wheels. A fellow named Aaron from Vermont SportsCar arrives with a trailer containing a piece of cargo that is about to elevate our level of silliness by nine or ten notches. He lowers the door and backs out a silver and black Subaru Impreza WRX STI fitted with high-profile dirt tires and, as required by Subaru Insane Rally Car tradition, gold wheels. The interior is gutted. There's a red roll cage and a spare wheel and tire mounted where the back seats should be. Aaron explains that the roll cage shouldn't be trusted, since it's just a cosmetic piece installed for this car's former role as a star in Fast & Furious. The film connection is also why this particular STI wears a deep, ground-hugging, aftermarket chin spoiler. That could be trouble out on Forest Stage 3.

Inside the car, every idiot light is blazing. The STI's SI-Drive system isn't working, and the center differential is locked in a "safe" mode instead of offering its usual adjustability. The exhaust periodically coughs blue smoke. The emergency brake has all the grip of Larry King on a Teflon chin-up bar. If cars could talk, this one would probably say, "Please fill my crankcase with sodium silicate and stop the madness." Sorry, STI. No rest for the weary, I suppose, because tomorrow you'll begin your new career as a rally car.

The next morning, we arrive early, excited to groom our creation into a mini World Rally Championship proving ground. My first priority, naturally, is to build a jump. Since I've never built a jump, I'm not sure how steep or tall to make it, so I just keep adding buckets of dirt with the Bobcat until it seems about right. I want to get air, but I don't want to punch the front struts up through the hood when I land. That said, my jump looks weak. But better to build it up gradually than make it too Red Bull X Games Xtreme right away. Rallying is only fun when your car's not broken in half.

With the most important part of the track in place, I apply driver and navigator ID decals to the Subaru. And with the heroic Scandinavian team of E. Dyerssson and G. Dyerhämäläinen occupying the front seats, you know this car will surely be sideways in those rare moments when the wheels are touching the ground. Graham and I don bright blue Subaru firesuits and open-face rally helmets, and I feel almost ready to give postrace interviews laced with Norwegian profanity and punctuated by straight pulls off a bottle of Svedka.

Had I read this a year ago, I'm not sure if I would have believed you when you said you lost the brakes on a dirt track doing 50mph tops, but after having driven through washboard dirt roads in the deserts of Utah last fall, I believe ya. (I didn't crash, thankfully, but those washboard ripples still beat me up pretty good.)
Nice story, sounds like a blast. What were all of the mods to the STI?

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