The hardcore Civic Type R has been made harder by Modulo. 19-inch Modulo wheels wrapped in 225/35R19 tyres, revised suspension, new front and rear bumpers, side skirts and wing complete the aggressive new exterior look (along with some dodgy-looking chequered stickers like the Renaultsport F1 Team R26).
On the inside Modulo has replaced some of Honda’s panels with carbon fibre and has bolted in custom Recaro seats. To top it off, an F1-inspired steering wheel with integrated shift lights sits in front of a futuristic digital dashboard.
Race organisers for the Lisbon-Dakar rally have decided to run all stages despite terrorist activity (possibly by Al Qaeda) in Mauritania. Two weeks ago terrorists shot and killed four French tourists and four Mauritanian soldiers, south of the usual hotspots of Morocco and Algeria. Last year two stages were canceled over security fears regarding Algerian rebels when France’s security services said participants risked being kidnapped or ambushed by Algerian rebels when passing through Mali.
Perhaps participants should have entered armoured vehicles, and who knows how many will now be carrying weapons for self-defence. The race begins tomorrow (5 January) departing Lisbon, Portugal and ends in Dakar, Senegal on 20 January after 9000km of grueling motoring.
This aggressive-looking concept helmet, the ST4, was designed for Stilo. Predominantly carbon fibre composites and manufactured in an autoclave, it is extremely light compared to conventional helmets, which means less neck fatigue in long races.
Lateral intakes are designed to accommodate a drinking straw system and radio connection. The helmet doesn’t appear to have any significant aerodynamic aids to prevent lift in open-topped cars, so expect some modifications or add-on accessories before production (if it ever goes into production).
If 3.3 seconds to 100kph isn’t fast enough for you, Mine’s will save the day with its aftermarket mods for the new GT-R. The fact Mine’s got the parts out just weeks after the official launch indicates either a large team worked seven days a week, 24 hours a day, or that they had a test mule quite some time before the GT-R was released to the public.
The modifications include a Mine’s Silence VX Pro Titan II exhaust with Super Catalyser II, a 400mm 24-slot front brake rotor kit, a 400mm 16-slot rear brake rotor kit, a suspension kit, VX-ROM tuned ECU, and the VX air filter. Given Mine’s history with fettling other Japanese rockets, a Mine’s GT-R will be nigh on unbeatable around a track.
It’s funny how different people hate different things; some hate eating their broccoli and some hate heights or flying or even wearing underpants. Marcus Rose doesn’t hate wearing underpants or eating his greens, but he does hate bumps in the road and when you look at his 1986 Nissan Navara it’s not hard to work out why. As you will see Marcus’ Navara is a little out of the ordinary.
After reading Mini Truckin’ magazine for a few years, then meeting up with Tony Hines of Slammed Kustoms, Marcus had a few plans to transform the would-be farm hack. First item on the agenda for the Navara was to add some drop spindles to the front suspension and a small C-notch into the chassis to get the whole package closer to mother earth. These small plans soon ballooned to giant proportions and became the masterpiece you see before you.
For the intended C-notch, the tray had to be removed from the chassis and the fuel tank relocated to just behind the cab. It was at this stage the boys got talking about changing the leaf spring rear suspension for a full airbag setup. To give the ride the height they had seen in American magazines, a custom ladder bar setup was fabricated, as were custom mounts. The chassis rails were raised six inches above factory, allowing the ute to drop so low the chassis rails hit the ground.
Enabling the truck to actually drive are 1/2-inch line airbags fed by twin 40-litre tanks mounted behind the diff. The tanks themselves were painted-up to replicate large Red Bull drink cans. (You’ve got to get your wings somehow I guess.) Each giant tank is fed by its own compressor, meaning this truck can do a whole lot of up-and-down and side-to-side action before needing a rest.
One-and-a-half-inch steel was used to create the top air bag mounts and strengthen the whole rear end and the bags themselves are mounted to a unique flame-shaped plate on each side for added effect. To match, the whole chassis section was airbrushed with blue flames over the gloss black base coat.
The rear section of tray was then chopped to fit over the air bag equipment and provide a window to view the mods below, while the front was given a custom cover over the battery and fuel tank.
Making sure the bounce doesn’t get totally out of control is a short set of chromed shocks — once destined to live out their lives on the front end of a hot rod.
Up front the drop spindles that started this carry-on have been installed, but with the decision to change to air bags, custom strut mounts also had to be manufactured. Attached to these are matching air bags, which again run the big 1/2-inch lines. These lines allow the truck to raise and lower at the blink of an eye with large solenoids emitting a loud crack at each hit of the down button. The whole suspension setup is run off a 14-function PlayStation-style remote control that allows movement of each wheel separately, or side-to-side and front-to-back movements.
Obviously, to give as much movement as the boys were after, the front inner guards were removed and will soon be wearing mini tubs.
With the suspension side taken care of, the shabby silver paint just didn’t really do the truck any favours and a booking was made with AJ at Whenuapai Auto Repair.
Before this though, Tony and Marcus discussed some simple body mods. Again these became not so simple.
Starting from the front, the standard square bumper was replaced by a more curved 4WD Toyota Hilux bumper and valance combination. As the Hilux bumper has park lights built in, Tony set about covering over the holes where standard lights used to reside.
Deletion of the corner lights also allowed for a Slammed Kustoms phantom front grill to be fitted, effectively disguising what brand of truck it is.Knowing that the 14-inch wheels would make way for something a little more suited to the mini truck style, the front guards were replaced with flared numbers from the 4WD Navara. With the intention of making the doors open in reverse 'suicide’ fashion, the standard handles were removed and panelled over.
In good old New Zealand DIY style, Tony moved the standard door hinges to the rear and the catch to the front instead of purchasing big dollar hinge kits from the States. This left only one problem though, where to put the door handles without ruining the smooth lines of the truck. With some input from Tony’s dad, who is an old skool hot-rodder, the decision was made to conceal door poppers behind where wing mirrors would normally sit. The poppers they ended up using are small skull items that are normally hidden, but truly look the part.
All tie-downs and hooks were removed from the tray and Tony crafted a custom tailgate and roll pan to be fitted before the tailgate was welded shut.
The idea at this stage was to fit clear taillights — that was until Marcus came across some genuine Cadillac lights.
Next came the problem of where to put the number plate without ruining the unique look, a problem easily solved over a few cans of Red Bull. The simple answer was to mount the plate up on the custom panel behind the cab: the chosen answer was to have it mounted on a motorized lifting mechanism so that it raises when the truck is fired into life.
With the not-so-simple body mods taken care of, the car was finally handed to AJ at Whenuapai for some quality paint.
The colour of choice? Taurus blue. Not as in Ford Taurus, but Red Bull Taurus.
With a truck that looks this good standing still, the idea of dropping a hypo engine in simply wasn’t on the cards, so the standard engine remains in place, albeit with a ramflow filter added. In saying that, during our photo shoot I did hear SR20 mentioned a few times, so maybe that’s a possibility for later on.
The Nissan’s factory brown vinyl seats are great to hide the mud that comes in on your gummies or Swandry, but again not so good for air bagged-up mini trucks. Being more of a mini tucker than a lifestyle farmer, Marcus changed the seats for a pair of Mazda RX-7 items.
Steering Marcus around bumps in the road is now taken care of via an ultra cool skull-shaped billet steering wheel and boss kit combo. The standard engine and gearbox remain, but the gear lever was replaced by a blingin’ carbon fibre item.
All remaining brown items in the cab, such as dash, carpet and pillars, were put out to pasture or re-coloured in black, with the exception of the door skins. These were replaced with custom fibreglass panels.
Keeping an eye on air pressure is a quadruplet of air pressure gauges mounted just below the headunit. Replacing the original speedo gauges are custom flame-looking numbers from Marcus’s friend Larry.
The lovely farm wheels did end up being replaced by a set of 18-inch polished Mitsi Pajero items, which for factory wheels, don’t look too bad at all. Keeping these rollers off the tarmac is a set of 215/40R18 tyres all round.
So there you have it: how to perform an extreme makeover on a would-be farm hack. Exactly one year after it was started, this truck is now a standout and leading the way in New Zealand mini trucking.
The boys have talked about a few more simple mods and we all know what happens when these guys get like that. By the time we see this truck next, who knows what it will look like. One thing’s for sure though, with guys like Marcus, Tony and AJ on the case, it’ll be one to look out for.
1986 Nissan Navara
Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder NA
Drivetrain: Standard 5-speed, standard diff
Brakes: Standard front disc, soon to be disc rear end
Suspension: Custom short shocks, custom ladder bars, C-notched chassis, drop spindle, Pan hard bar, Twin 40l tank air air bag setup, 3/8-inch lines, 4 valves, PlayStation controller, custom mounts
Wheels/Tyres: 18-inch polished Pajero rims with 215/40R18 tyres
Exterior: 4WD front guards, shaved park lights, shaved antenna holes, shaved door handles and locks, face lift bonnet, Hilux front bumper and valance, Phantom billet grille, suicide doors, hidden door poppers, custom roll pan and rear tail skin, relocated fuel tank, Cadillac tail lights
Interior: Series 6 RX-7 seats, Skill billet steering wheel, carbon fibre gear leaver, custom gauges, fibreglass door skins
Name: Marcus Rose
Occupation: Territory Manager
Dream Car: “It sits in front of you at this point in time. But have always loved Ford F250, slammed-out air bags of course, tricked-out with all the goodies. I have another project that I also want to build in the next year or two.”
Why The Navara: “I had been buying a magazine called 'Mini Truckin’ from the States and loved how low they got their mini trucks and how different every truck could be, their craftsmanship being the only limiting factor. Saw Tony’s SLAMMD at the 2003 Nats and thought it was the bomb; finally someone had the same ideas as me and we started to make plans from there. Took H8BMPZ into Tony’s for a minor C-section and new tail skin, but — the usual story — we got talking and looked what happened.”
Build Time: 1 year nearly to the day
Length of Ownership: 3 years
Thanks: Mum and Dad, who live in Aussie for their help in finding parts and corresponding for me over there. Tony Hines @ Slammed Kustoms 021 443 029, Andrew Morris (AJ) @ Whenuapai Auto Refinish 09 416 7291, Tony’s Dad for his hot rod help and knowledge, Mark @ Mag and Turbo 09 274 2941, PPG Industries, everyone at Red Bull NZ, Exide batteries, Aaron, Keith, Sam @ VDO car audio. DJ @ Sub Signs 025 293 0955
Mitsubishi began production of the Evolution III in 1995 — its third incarnation of the all-conquering Mitsubishi Lancer rally car. Little did Mitsubishi know, the Evo III would become the dream car of enthusiastic rally fans for years to come. One of those easily affected enthusiasts was Warren Sare and not too long after the Evo III launch he splashed out on a 1991 Lancer GSR. While the 1.8-litre GSR may be the baby brother to the Evo III, it just wasn’t quite close enough to the real thing.
As the years passed, Warren was busy modifying the GSR, but all the while he was dreaming of the Three. Normally when a guy is dreaming of three, it’s a little more deviant, but maybe Warren was the exception to the rule — or he knew his better half would kick his arse. After all, they don’t call Sarah the Little Ninja for nothing.
When a friend of Warren and Sarah’s offered to buy the GSR for a price they couldn’t resist [Sam you fool] the search began for a new toy. What they found was a stock-standard Evo III — stock that is except for the ugliest wheels ever created and a set of rally spec mud flaps.
First thing on the agenda was to replace those hideous wheels and the natural choice was a set of 17-inch Momo GT2s in dark gunmetal (which later became the infamous 'harlequin Momos’ after a high speed excursion off the end of Manfeild’s front straight).
These wheels worked surprisingly well with the stark white paintwork, but also made the car look like it was sitting too high off the ground. The car was lowered to achieve the desired style and from there an evolution of giant proportions began.
Fast forward two years, one engine, countless tyres and other accessories, and the Evo had suffered a common Mitsi fate — rusty roof syndrome. Rusty roof is a result of moisture reacting with glue used in the factory for gluing the roof panel to its supports. The only real cure for this is to completely replace the roof of the car.
Warren and Sarah undertook the mammoth task knowing that around half of it would then require re-painting. It was here that things got a bit carried away when one night, after a few too many bourbons, the boys managed to convince Warren to re-paint the Evo in a more 'unique’ colour.
That was the easy bit; convincing Sarah was always going to be the hard task. But after plenty of nights on the couch, Warren won an agreement and project 'butter chicken’ began, albeit with the proviso to 'do things once and do it right’.
Exclusive Panel & Paint in Grey Lynn were chosen to undertake the job of straightening the body back to its original condition.
Smashing the front bumper is one of Warren’s favourite pastimes during stints on the track (as seen in High Octane 3), so that required some minor repairs to get it to the required condition.
While the car was being prepped, Simon at Exclusive removed the side repeaters from the front guards and the aerial was smoothed from the flank. Being a genuine Evo III, there was no need for aftermarket body kits, wings or spoilers. Warren, with the help of friends, removed the engine and tidied up the empty hole by removing as much wiring as possible. While the engine was out, all under-body parts, such as the suspension and sub-frames, were painted in a combination of Glasurit arctic Silver or deep gloss black.
Both the body and engine bay received hours of preparation work before the numerous coats of custom Glasurit Apricot metallic paint with Gold tint pearl mica were applied. Once the paint had set a further seven coats of Glasurit clear were applied to achieve the ultra deep look the car now has.
While painting, the decision was made to repaint the door surrounds in the same gloss black as the suspension parts, rather than the usual 'coat everything possible’ in the one colour. The resulting black detail makes the colour — 'butter chicken diarrhoea’ as Warren dubbed it — really stand out.
With the engine due to be dropped back into the freshly painted hole there was a frantic scramble to clean the block and ancillaries. Apparently this involved Warren sitting in puddles of water with a toothbrush. No mention of Sarah getting her hands dirty was ever made. Most engine parts that could be removed have either been painted in gloss black, butter chicken or in Arctic silver.
Meanwhile, a custom spark plug cover was made to cover the 8mm leads and competition plugs. On the inside of the 4G63 lump internals are standard apart from the addition of a heavy-duty head gasket to keep the boost on the inside.
Providing the 17psi boost is the job of a Motorsport Engineering TD05/06 25G hybrid, with a 10 degree back-cut exhaust wheel. Regulating boost is a 35mm Tial wastegate mounted to a stainless steel TRR manifold. From here the boost travels through the standard intercooler and through Glasurit-coated 2.5-inch piping to the standard intake manifold. A colour coded MSE blow-off valve has been added to provide the 'Pish’ between gears.
Providing clean air to the polished hybrid turbo is a Glasurit-coated four-inch intake pipe with an HKS power filter to prevent small children being sucked in. A three-inch Kakimoto exhaust was installed on the underside to vent spent gasses and it ends with a GTR spec muffler and five-inch tip.
With an engine package like this, the standard ECU can’t quite register what is going on, so a custom specced Gizzmo chip has been added to the ECU. This simple, yet powerful combination has netted 211kW at the treads on a conservative 17psi.
Turning that up-and-down power into forward movement is a standard gearbox, albeit with a total rebuild.
This also consisted of a Kevlar/Kevlar Swaggle clutch to make sure no power was lost on the way.
Fancy footwork is taken care of via some very tasty and exotic 18×7.5-inch Rays engineering G-Games, shod with ultra sticky 215/35R18 Falken Ziex tyres. Holding the wheels in place and adding a certain bling factor are matching Rays Forged wheel nuts.
They say good things take time and these wheels were definitely on the 'slow boat from China’ (err … or should I say Japan) taking around four months to arrive.
The Evolution III was designed and built to be an all round package, however, there was still room for improvement. Those include, the addition of Cusco Comp 2 coil-overs and matching Cusco bracing.
Braking was never a sore point with the Evo III, so only minor improvements were needed with the addition of Inter-part cross-drilled and slotted rotors. The standard callipers remain, but now house Mintex 1155 pads.
With the power figure and this superb handling package, it’s not too hard to see how this show pony can run 1:18 round Manfeild, or 47 seconds round the Taupo track. When put down the quarter mile, a best time of 11.95 has been clocked, with a respectable 12.32 best from Little Ninja piloting the car.
The factory Recaro SR-II seats that come standard in the Evo III are a much sought-after item, being ultra supportive and comfortable. However, if you are into serious track work you will want a full-on bucket seat. Warren’s seat of choice was the locally made Racetech 100W in straight black and grey, while the rear seats have also gone to the upholsterer to be covered in matching fabric. Meanwhile, all four doors have also had inserts re-trimmed in — you guessed it — black. However, the factory roof lining was beginning to look a little worse for wear, so this too was covered in black.
At first glance you don’t notice how much work has been done to the inside of the car — things like the custom black carpet and black pillar trims don’t look amiss to the untrained eye. However, the black Momo steering wheel and matching gear knob demand a second look, as do the Razo pedals, grey Momo gear boot and Willans three-inch five-point harnesses that now call the car home.
When not stripped out for track duties the car does its Dr Jekyll act to become a full-on sound car. A JVC KD-SH9105 head unit takes control of no less than three amplifiers and eight speakers. The front stage is taken care of by Cerwin Vega 6.02 components, run by a Soundstream amplifier. This 4-channel amp also powers another set of Cerwin Vega components mounted in the rear shelf.
Providing the boom to match the tweet and give those much-needed Auto Salon SPL points are a pair of Soundstream Exact dual voice-coil 12-inch subs. The subs are mounted in a custom rearward-facing box and powered by a Sounsdtream Rubicon mono block 1000W RMS sub amp. Making sure that amp receives enough power is the job of a Soundstream 12-Farad capacitor.
Looking not too dissimilar from Shrek, Warren may be entertaining to look at, but not quite as entertaining as the Xbox and 7-inch screen combination that can be found up the front of the car. The whole install has been expertly finished in black vinyl and perspex by Shayne at Auckland’s Rapid Radio to not only look impressive, but sound equally so.
With the cars first outing in this guise, Warren and Sarah managed to make a clean sweep of the 2004 Sony Xplod Auckland Auto Salon. The huge prize haul proving that doing things once and doing it right is the best way to go.
We have been assured the car will hit the track again shortly to prove that you can have 'go with the show’.
1995 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Engine: 4G63 2.0L inline four -cylinder. Motorsport Engineering TD05/25G Turbo, TRR Stainless steel manifold, Tial 35mm wastegate, Competition head gasket, 8mm Leads, Ralliart 600hp fuel pump, Motorsport engineering BOV, HKS air filter, three-inch Kakimoto exhaust, Gizzmo computer chip.
Drivetrain: Rebuilt gearbox, Kevlar/Kevlar Swaggle clutch.
Suspension: Cusco Comp 2 coil overs, Cusco Bracing.
Brakes: Interpart cross-drilled and slotted rotors, Mintex pads all round.
Wheels/Tyres: 18×7.5-inch Rays Engineering G Games with 215/35R18 Falken Ziex tyres.
Cosmetic: Exterior: Standard Evo III kit, Deleted Aerial and side repeaters, Glasurit Custom Apricot metallic mix with Gold tint. High gloss black and Artic Silver detailing.
Interior: Racetech 100W Seats and re-trimmed rear, Custom trimmed door inserts and pillars, black hood lining, black carpet, Momo wheels and knob, Razo pedals, BLitz MSTT, Willans three-inch harnesses.
Ice: JVC KD-SH9105 Head unit, JVC four-inch screen, Microsoft Xbox, Cerwin Vega six-inch fronts, 2xJL Audio 12-inch subs, Orion HCCA sub amp, Rockford 4080 amp, Rockford 60×2 Amp, Phoenix gold Eq, Fusion 1 Farad capacitor.
Performance: 11.95 quarter mile @ 178kph, Manfeild short track 1min 18sec, Taupo track 47 sec.
Name: Warren Sare and Sarah Young
Age: 25 and 26
Occupation: Sarah – Shopaholic, Warren – professional pie analyst
Previously Owned Cars: GTi Pulsar, GSR Lancer, FXGT, 1.3 Carby Civic, Rolling bomb Pulsar, Impreza, GTiR
Dream Car: Warren – Anything that’s built my way (or a X5 with 23″ rims); SArah – 900hp Porsche
Why did you buy/build this car: “It’s been evolving for three years, a roof rust repair got out of hand due to too much Woodstock, so decided to do it once and do it right.”
Build time: Three years, four months full-on.
Length of Owernship: 3 years
Other Interests: Warran – Pies, making an ass of himself. Sarah – Shopping, shopping, shopping, sleeping.
Thanks: Exclusive Panel and Paint 09 376 1429, Simon colin and Laurie. Glasurit Paint / ART (automotive refinish technologies) New Zealand. Rays wheels www.rayswheels.co.nz. Interpart Wellington, Manukau metal polishers, Motorsport Engineering, Performance metalworks, Cookie and Allister, Ajay the cleaning machine, Carl, Moose, Kaz, Dale, Scott-HDP, Patty (negative lil’ bugger) DEVANT, Bear, HRDNTS, Erin and Ethan, Phil Doe, Dennis, Tony, Alana, Cabbage Motorsports, My understanding bosses, Hightower, Sam and Karl @ Slap!, Allison and Andrew Turner, VLOCTI and WAITUP, Dion @ TST, both our families and anyone else who ever lent a hand, shared a beer or told me I was stupid for even trying.
With just shy of 400 ponies under the hood, this new Ford is more than capable at the traffic light Grands Prix. Darren Cottingham inflicts pain on the tarmac.
It’s the bonnet. Take it off and you could use it as a Crusty Demons freestyle motocross ramp. Looking out the windscreen of Ford’s new 'lion tamer’ is like looking out of a WRX. Only it’s not a scoop to suck in air and small birds for the gigantic forced induction system — the small hill in front is there purely to clear the hulking 5.4-litre V8. With 390bhp (290kW) and enough torque to pull a sumo wrestler convention, Ford Performance Vehicles’ GT takes off like a Kawasaki 250 on a dirt ramp.
The engine was developed for the Ford Expedition — a wallowing SUV so huge it probably needs 520 Newton-metres of torque just to get it moving. Put it in something a bit more lithe though, and you start moving quickly.
GT stands for Grand Tourer. A Grand Tourer should be able to cruise effortlessly and serenely at autobahn speeds, but when you want to disturb some wildlife it should bellow fire when you step on the gas. Welcome, then, to a proper GT. Or is it? Shouldn’t a GT have just two doors? Probably, but you can forgive it for its practicality and its pub-geek statistics.
I was expecting to turn more heads driving down the street, but the GT, despite looking all muscular when stood still, only attracts attention with traction control turned off and the loud pedal buried into the carpet. Maybe I need to educate the masses on the exact power figures this vehicle has, or perhaps 18-inch mags, a large chrome exhaust and angular spoiler are becoming 'the norm’ for cars these days.
The body kit blends in perfectly with its V8 Supercar-inspired lower front intake and side skirts that lead to the diffuser-style rear. The spoiler is prominent, but way more subtle than a proper V8 Supercar version.
Sizable Dunlop 245-width tyres grasp the tarmac like a rock climber on dry a cliff, though you would have to be insane to turn traction control off in the wet — it’s more of a handful than a pair of greased jubblies.
So, the Ozzies (in their infinite wisdom) challenged our masculinity by placing the traction control switch closer to you than even the volume knob for the stereo!
“Come on you blokes, don’t be Sheilas, turn me off,” it beckons. So I did, and mashed the throttle for some glorious noise.
Creating the din is the hand-assembled Boss V8 engine with an air filter the size of a bucket of KFC hanging off the side. You can’t see much of the engine because of the plenum cover, but it has race-bred quad-cam multi-valve technology combined with high-compression V8 grunt. It was developed in Australia, so it knows how to drink.
Expect to become friendly with your local petrol station. Double overhead camshafts and 32 valves work together to form a wall of torque from around 1700rpm up to the 6000rpm redline. Keeping the camshafts hollow has reduced weight and gives a faster response due to less inertia.
The block is cast iron — strong and heavy, and it’s what’s used in V8 Supercars — while the heads are cast in aluminium alloy to minimise weight and to reach the optimum operating temperature faster. A forged steel crankshaft maintains strength under the high power and torque loads, each one having undergone a special balancing process at Ford Performance Vehicles to match the piston and conrod combination.
Inside the car you get extremely comfortable and supportive seats, a chunky steering wheel with cruise control and stereo controls attached, and drilled aluminium pedals. You also get some nasty looking plastic in places, but overall, it has a good ambience. Housed in the central console is the air conditioning and 100-watt single-CD stereo. A large screen shows you what’s going on sound-wise, but it has a hideous-looking interface harking back to Microsoft Windows 3.1.
The great thing about this car is that as long as you don’t use the horrible automatic mode (Ford didn’t have a manual version for me to try), and keep it in sequential gear change mode, you can easily explore the limits. Don’t even try to explore the limits using the auto mode as it has a violent kick-down when you plant the accelerator. This is a nightmare mid-corner and can lead to an undesired tank-slap. Normally, though, it gives a slight bit of understeer, then four-wheel drift, then a reasonably progressive breakaway at the rear. The trick LSD and V8 Supercar-derived suspension give you a lot of feeling, and the enormous grooved and ventilated disks with their blue callipers put you well into the negative g-forces when you need to stop. The national speed limit comes up in about 5.8 seconds consistently (one thing auto boxes are good for), and if you need a quick blast past an old geezer towing a caravan; 80-120 (the Time Exposed to Danger measure) takes just 3.6 seconds. You’ll need just short of 35 metres to stop from 100kph.
So, should you buy this?
Well, if you have to tow a race car, or you’ve got jet skis and a squad of chubby PlayStation kids you need to move around, then the GT is a sensible choice. Expect to pay around $75,500 for the base model GT, which is considerably cheaper than an equivalently specced HSV. And, if 520Nm of torque isn’t enough for you, Ford even has a turbo V6 coming with 30Nm more, and it’s cheaper!
Vehicle: Ford Performance Vehicles FPV-GT
Engine: 5.4-litre Boss V8, twin overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder (32-valve), Mustang air filter, 10.5:1 compression ratio, hollow camshafts, 75mm throttle body with drive-by-wire linkage
Driveline: Rear-wheel drive with four-speed automatic transmission, sequential gear change mode (5-speed manual available as well), Traction control.
Suspension: FPV, tuned by V8-ace John Bowe. Front — double wishbone with coil springs; rear — independent multi-link with coil springs. Stabiliser bars.
Brakes: ABS. FPV twin-piston caliper front, single-piston rear, grooved and ventilated disks. Brembo upgrade with four-pot calipers and cross-drilled disks available
Wheels/tyres: 5-spoke, 18-inch alloys with Dunlop 245/40ZR18 Sport 9000.
Exterior: Factory body kit, fog lights, side skirts
Interior: A starter button, leather seats with built-in curtain airbags, FPV scuff plate inserts, drilled pedals, driver and passenger airbags
ICE: 100W, single-CD
Performance: 290kW at 5500rpm, 520Nm at 4250rpm, 0-100: 5.8s; 80-120 (TED): 3.6s; 100-0: 35 metres.
Japanese performance tuners are a funny bunch; like Korai-san the owner of this 2001 Impreza WRX STI Type-RA. When it comes to showing off their cars, most are so modest they won’t even lift the bonnet for fear it won’t meet your expectations. Nine times out of 10 though, when they do come round, what you see doesn’t just meet expectations — it exceeds them!
As far as Korai’s car went, I knew I had to get some pictures the moment I laid eyes on it, and anything under the bonnet was going to be a bonus.
Now, I’m one of those people who thought the Impreza — dubbed 'bug-eye’ — didn’t look quite right, but this car! well, I think the pictures speak for themselves!
At the time Korai was just an enthusiastic customer of the Aqua tuning shop, but a few months on — after a little role reversal — he actually runs the place. He built the Impreza from a stock example, with the clear intention of racing it on a Sunday, then driving it to work on a Monday.
To strike the balance, Korai used lessons — learnt by Aqua on their own Impreza race machines — and applied that to his own car, all the while conscious off crossing the boundary that limits use of your daily driver to track-only duties. Anyone who’s been there will know what I mean!
The look has been well and truly sorted with a full Aqua original, FRP bodykit, which has literally transformed the nature the car. A deep bumper up front extends to meet pumped guards giving the Impreza a wide and menacing stance end-on. Some custom carbon trim ties the guards into the side skirts, and their design flows into the unique rear bumper. This particular Type-RA was never specced with the boot spoiler and Korai has kept it that way. The bonnet was a different story however, and was replaced with a lightweight Aqua-designed piece of art with big vents and a reverse duct to get the hot air out.
Under that bonnet is the Impreza’s 2000cc STI-tweaked boxer engine. It’s pretty obvious that it’s not a standard affair in the engine department. In fact, the four-cylinder you see in the car is actually a lesser replacement for a full-house JUN 2.2-litre number that once sat between the strut towers. Korai-san pushed that engine just a little too much it would seem and a terminal meltdown ended that plan of attack! A replacement STI engine was sourced and a more street-able build plan was put into effect.
Contrary to the sticker, there’s no NOS in this car. Maybe some little dude ran off with it.
With such a tough base to build from, Aqua, which has had plenty of experience with Subaru engines, went for a fairly simple unit that mostly entailed re-working the turbo set-up. That started with an HKS GT2835 turbocharger to replace the STI’s factory unit, and a custom Aqua stainless exhaust manifold to replace the cast factory number.
On the intake side, an HKS Powerflow air filter atop an Aqua intake pipe was fitted and the factory top mount air-to-air intercooler was replaced with a custom front-mount setup.
With staff pretty handy behind the mig welder, Aqua built, and then polished up some custom intercooler pipework, before fitting one of their own blow-off valves to rid the intake tract of air between shifts and off-throttle. Other under-bonnet modifications include, an aluminium radiator, custom oil catch can set-up and a full course of Samco hosing.
Exhaust duties are performed through one of Aqua’s own race systems — from the stainless steel front pipe runs a full titanium system through to the rear muffler. Not only is the system ultra-lightweight, the sound emitting from its tip at the rear of the car is quite unlike anything we’ve ever heard, but is still reminiscent of the that signature boxer burble.
Power gets to all four paws through a factory-spec six-speed STI gearbox that’s helped along with one of Cusco’s tough twin-plate clutch kits. Cusco also supplied the MZ-RS limited-slip differential that now holds up the rear end.
Suspension-wise, Korai went with a proven set-up used on Aqua’s own race cars — namely the HKS Hypermax. The fully adjustable package allows both damper and ride height adjustment and is finished with a pair of pillow-ball upper mounts for total camber control. Added to the STI’s factory race-ready suspension set-up are pillow-ball adjustable trailing arms and lateral links from the STI catalogue. The car obviously handles very well, but at the expense of its ride — one that can only be described as harsh.
Volk Racing/Rays Engineering rims are the wheels of choice for most Japanese tuners including Aqua. Not only are the wheels super-lightweight and built to an extremely high standard, but damn! they look good! Korai-san opted for a set of bronze CE28N 17-inch numbers and shod them with track-spec Bridgestone Potenza rubber in 255/40ZR17.
When up to optimum operating temp, these are said to perform pretty well for after-hours road use.
In keeping with Korai-san’s day-in, day-out driving, interior mods were kept to a bare minimum. All the STI’s blue and grey interior remains, except for the driver’s seat, replaced with a Recaro SP-G race number complete with Takata harness belt. A classic Nardi Torino now has steering duties, while a custom shroud on the dash houses Defi meters to gauge boost pressure, oil pressure and oil temperature.
With around 330PS on tap, the car’s a little down on power from the 380-odd it had with it’s JUN stroker kit, but it’s a whole lot more reliable for daily use. With a race track (Central Circuit) on your back door step, it’s little wonder guys like Korai are driving cars like this. Given the same circumstances, I know for sure I’d be doing the same!
Vehicle: 2001 Subaru Impreza STI Type-RA
Engine: STI 2000cc Boxer, HKS GT2835 turbo kit, Cusco front-mount intercooler, Aqua intercooler piping, HKS Powerflow air filter, Aqua intake pipe, Aqua blow-off valve, Aqua stainless exhaust manifold, Aqua stainless front pipe, Aqua full titanium exhaust system, HKS F-Con S computer, HKS VVC, HKS Electronic Valve Controller (EVC) Pro, aluminium radiator, Samco hose kit, custom oil catch system
Driveline: STI six-speed gearbox, Cusco twin-plate clutch kit, Cusco MZ-RS limited-slip differential
Suspension/Brakes: HKS Hypermax fully adjustable shocks/springs with pillow-ball top plates, STI pillow-ball lateral link, STI pillow-ball trailing arms, factory STI brakes with Aqua/RAMs callipers and Winmax race pads
Wheels/Tyres: 17-inch Volk Racing/Rays Engineering CE28N alloy wheels, 255/40ZR17 Bridgestone Potenza tyres
Exterior: Aqua Original bodykit: front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, aero bonnet, outlet duct, wide front fenders, STI Type-RA roof vent
Interior: Recaro SPG drivers seat, Takata harness seat belt, Nardi Torino steering wheel, Defi meters — boost pressure, oil temperature, oil pressure
Performance: 330PS (380PS with JUN 2.2-litre kit)
Thanks: Korai-san and the team @ Aqua — www.aqua-fsp.com, Rob @ GRD — www.genesis-race-division.com