It’s odd how many people still think that the Subaru Impreza WRX is Subaru’s first foray into rallying. Like the Lancer Evolution, it is not. The Leone (also called the RX) and Legacy were the runner ups to the rally champ – and even then, the Japanese Rally Wars fought with the then Mitsubishi rally weapons, the Colt Lancer and the Galant. And, let’s not forget the Toyota Celica GT-Four.
The *ahem* Prodrive-built 555 is Subaru’s most iconic World Rally Championship car, piloted by another legend: Colin McRae. The first generation Imprezas established itself as a performance car and to the non-Subaru crowd: A lot of special editions, with the 22B just being one of them. Of course, before you dare to call yourself a Subaru Impreza fanatic, you need to come to terms with the WRX Type R, Type RA, STI, and all the different versions, from I all the way to VI.
If you still are trying to comprehend what’s going on, this white steed is the first generation Impreza WRX, widely considered as the “classic Impreza” – the GC. A very noteworthy point, falling in love with Subaru’s frameless windows is another love factor for this car’s current owner, who is also the only owner.
The Impreza WRX Sensei continued to fill us in with the current state of the GC Imprezas in Singapore – even though he has worked on many newer, faster and more powerful cars. It’s the classic WRX which had his heart beating the fastest.
To him, the lightweight body helps in keeping the EJ207 plant spinning happily, and the low weight also meant that less had to be done to improve the car’s handling – with the exception of bigger brakes and Hardrace spherical bearing bushes. A smooth ride be damned, a taught suspension with a direct feel is definitely a purist’s wet dream.
A lighter body also means lightning-fast pullaways, but the ultimate party trick is the diminutive SM4 ECU. While many will prefer the power of the EJ25 of the later WRXes, the EJ207 in this GC is lighter, and it could be tuned to produce as much power as the EJ25. a nod to the overbuilt nature of the EJ207.
The SM4 could be programmed with anti lag and launch control – a feat only possible to be accurately tuned by the greatest minds in the engine tuning industry. Last but not least, he had left his suspension completely unchanged from the factory setup… yes, you heard us right.
With a open pod air intake for the audible whoosh, much of the time spent in the engine bay was mostly preventive maintenance. Notably, hoses as well as the wiring had to be completely stripped out and rewired for neatness.
Most importantly, as a tuner, he understands the relationship between fuel and air and how they come together for a big bang – thus, he reworked the entire fuel delivery system with new hoses and delivery rails to deliver consistent flow to all four chambers.
Sometimes it’s hard to gauge a car’s age by it’s looks, but we managed to somehow date it once we opened the door. Once you gloss past the rows of gauges, the classic dashboard from the original Version I WRX is right there, devoid of all the extra storage spaces of the Forester dashboard which was only introduced in the final years of production…
For a man with such wealth of information stored in his giant head databank – you might think that he’s just another car fanatic who goes to the extent of washing his engine bay. But stuff like adding an Nismo accessory in his car is just proof that he has a fun side, ready to enjoy the rush when the need arises.
Humiliated, but thoroughly and humbly educated we were indeed.
Subaru Impreza WRX STI
EJ207 ver 6 STi engine
STi 6 Speed Transmission
Autronic SM4 Fully Programmable ECU with Anti Lag & Launch Control
Perrin Turbo Inlet Hose
Perrin Fuel Rail
Perrin Oil Cooler
AP Racing Brake Calipers
Hardrace Spherical Bearing.
Zeitronix A/F Gauge
Pivot Shift Lamp