A Blast from the Past

19 Aug

Back in September of ’98 I bought myself my first new car – a ’99 Impreza 2.5 RS (man, feels like a million years ago!)   I was going through a rally phase at the time.  In the stable already was an ’88 All Trac Turbo Celica that was modded, and a ’92 Galant VR4 that was modded.  But Subaru was all the rage in rallying then, and after watching many late night feeds of WRC on the old Speedvision network (before fox turned it into nascar tv), I decided I had to have one!

So I went to the dealership and purchased a World Rally Blue RS.  I had visions of transforming it into my very own US spec STi Version V Type R.

STi V5 Type R Coupe courtesy of Pistonheads

STi V5 Type R Coupe courtesy of Pistonheads

So of course the modding began even before I had the car (typical me).  By the time the car was delivered, I already had Speedline wheels, and a Prodrive/Bilstein suspension kit in hand ready to go!  This was before there were really alot internet resources out there.  The main source of info was the Checkpoint25 site and mailing list where Subaru heads from across the US chatted about news, parts and rumors online.  Within a few months, a Canadian company called Minnam came out with their own turbo kit using a T3/T4, Spearco top mount, and some associated parts.  A local guy on the Checkpoint list was the first to purchase the kit, and did the install himself at his house (whatup Shane…maybe you’re reading this!).  We began exchaning emails, and on a rainy Sunday morning, my brother and I were trecking up to Rockland county to check the car out.  After one drive, I was hooked!  I called Minnam the next day and ordered my very own kit.  We’ll go into detail on that build in a future installment. 

What brings my to the title of the post is an old school video that has been floating around the web for years.  I’m sure many of you might be familiar with it.  For those who aren’t, this shows what OG Subaru tuning was all about!  It was fall of ’99, and some friends from the Subaru community heard that the PBS Show Motorweek was going to be testing a 22B.  For those not familiar with the car, it is the be all, end all Subaru IMHO.  Flared fenders, 2.2 liter flat 4 turbocharged, with every known trick and toy Subaru had at their disposal at the time.  Check out some 22B pics:

This car is owned by a longtime customer Karl, who know lives in Lebanon.  This is a genuine 22B, one of only 399 ever offered to the public (one of the 400 was retained by Subaru to the best of my understanding).  How’s that for limited edition!

Anyway, word got around that Motorweek was going to do this test.  Some friends of mine were somehow connected with the show, and before I know it, we’re organizing a 100 person meet at the Ownings Mills, MD studios.  I think it’s safe to say this was the first Subaru Mega Meet in the US!  Check the video out.  I know the quality sucks.  One of these days I’ll dig through my old tapes and see if I have the master I was given.   The car shown had the Minnam turbo kit, Prodrive brakes, and a ton of other stuff I can’t even remember right now.  Eventually, I went one step further after the original motor finally gave up (led a boosted life for many miles before finally giving up!), and swapped in a built STi V4 RA closed deck motor with JUN cams, a LINK ecu, STi 5 speed trans, and bunch of other goodies.  Anyway, onto the video – alot of memories working on that car, and it’s fun being remember as one of the pioneers in the Subaru tuning community in the US

2 Responses to “A Blast from the Past”

  1. Logan August 19, 2008 at 8:28 PM #

    That’s a pretty awesome plaid shirt you got there buddy!

  2. Mike Ko August 20, 2008 at 5:36 PM #

    That hat is older than some of Z1’s customer base… and it still runs!

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