Parts Is Parts: The Art Of The Deal

Justin's 2015 Subaru WRX

After turning my Subaru BRZ into a WRX, I found myself with a number of leftover parts for the BRZ that won’t work on the WRX. I made the deal to buy the car with a requirement of no additional money out of pocket. I’ve made myself a similar deal when it comes to modifications for the WRX, which means a budget of no more than whatever I can get by selling the BRZ parts. It’s been a whirlwind week of wheeling and dealing, but so far this plan has met with great success.

The first step was installing most of the bits and pieces I’d saved from the BRZ into the WRX – my amateur radio and antenna, my little cargo box for the trunk that doesn’t slide around under spirited cornering (not that I’d EVER do that), and, of course, Westley, the Dread Pirate Trunkmonkey. Thanks to the giant storage cubby between the center console and dashboard, I was able to mount the remote head of my ham radio to the dashboard itself. It’s extremely to access during the daily commute – or, maybe one day, bombing down a rally stage.

Wouxun ham radio in Justin's Subaru WRX

For the parts I couldn’t swap to the WRX, I decided to try Facebook Marketplace before resorting to the wasteland of Craigslist. I posted ads in any relevant groups I belong to that might be interested and where such posts are allowed. These included the MassTuning Classifieds, the 86 Owners of New England, HPDRE Marketplace, and my local area classified groups. The results were quite productive.

OZ Racing Ultraleggera wheels

OZ Racing Ultralegerra wheels

These were my 17″ summer wheels for my BRZ. Let’s face it, gold wheels are the appropriate choice for a World Rally Blue Subaru. I would’ve loved to have kept these for the WRX, except the latest WRX switched to the 5×114.3 bolt pattern of the STi rather than the traditional 5×100 pattern, so I couldn’t use them. Well, technically, I could have used them on the Jetta Ute, but I like the stock 16″ wheels of the Wolfsburg Edition, and any second set of wheels will probably be 15″ for either beefy snow tires, rally gravel tires, or maybe some all-terrain tires to round out the truck look. So I decided to put these on the chopping block. Besides, 5×100 is a common bolt pattern, so these didn’t necessarily have to go on another Toyobaru.

A set of these sells for $1,100 new on Tire Rack. I posted mine up for $500, since there were a few minor dings and one bit of curb rash. I was also clear in the ad that although the Michelin Pilot Super Sports currently mounted on them were included, they were completely spent from my last track day, and I wasn’t counting them in my price. I got a number of bites from the MassTuning group. The first guy came to my house to look at them and decided they weren’t quite in as good condition as he was looking for. Fair enough – at least he showed up, more than can be said for many people on Craigslist. He also showed me some imperfections I hadn’t previously noticed, so when the next guy asked about them I was able to be more forthcoming with that information. I let him talk me down to $425 since I was going to relist them for $450 with the newfound imperfections anyway, met him in between our homes, and made the deal. I figured that money in the hand was better than wheels I couldn’t use in my garage. Instead they’re going on his older WRX. As a good Subaru Ambassador, I threw in a couple of keyrings to spread the love.

Nameless Performance Axle Back Exhaust

Nameless Performance axle back for BRZ/FR-S/86 with 5" mufflers
Photo credit: Nameless Performance

Being a BRZ/FR-S/86 specific part, all it was doing was taking up space in my garage. But I made it a point to save this exhaust and reinstall the original one before trading in the BRZ since I knew I could make some extra money off it. I reviewed it here.

MassTuning came through again with a guy interested in it for his FR-S. Once again, we arranged to meet halfway and make the deal. A few hours before the scheduled meet, however, he messaged me to tell me his FR-S had suffered a hit and run and was probably totaled, so he wouldn’t be able to make the meet. That seriously sucks, so no problem backing out. He casually mentioned he’d ask around and see if one of his friends might be interested, and I got on with my day. Late afternoon, well after our previously scheduled meet, he messaged me again to say his friend wanted the exhaust, and would I be able to meet him after all? I rearranged some plans, met him, and found myself with one less exhaust and another $300.

WinMax W5 Brake Pads

WinMax W5 brake pads

I used these brake pads for all of my BRZ’s track days, plus street driving shortly before and after each event. They served me well, never fading once. Despite how much use I got out of them, they still have most of their life ahead of them. These are endurance racing pads, with good initial bite as well as good heat resistance. They also squeak like a city bus and throw off so much dust they turned my gold wheels black in a hurry, so I had no desire to run them on the street. The rear pads would actually fit the WRX, but the fronts won’t, so I might as well sell the whole set as a package deal.

I got no bites through the Facebook Marketplace channels that sold my other items. Not too surprising, since there’s a much smaller percentage of people wanting specialty brake pads like this than wheels or exhaust. Fortunately, brake pads are small and easily shipped, so I posted them on the HPDRE Classifieds, the classified section of a group for high performance driving and racing enthusiasts (hence the acronym), to open it up to the many BRZ/FR-S/86 track enthusiasts nationwide. I’ll also post them in the Members Classified section at I haven’t yet sold these at the time I’m writing this, so if you want them, drop me an email.

Even without the brake pads, I’ve managed to make $725 over a weekend of selling parts. That’s a darn good return on investment, especially considering that I’d already bought the wheels and exhaust used. So what am I buying for the WRX with these funds?

Cobb Accessport V3

Cobb Accessport V3

The first mod on the list of most 2015+ WRX drivers is the Cobb Accessport. It’s not cheap at $650, but the improvements in driveability and power delivery completely transform the car and make it well worth it. Josh Taylor reviewed the one he got for his WRX, so go read that to find out more about this little black box of magic.

Perrin Shifter Stop

Perrin shifter stop for 2015-2017 Subaru WRX
Photo credit: Perrin

I have to admit that coming from the BRZ’s most excellent shifter, I’m a little disappointed in the WRX’s. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a HUGE improvement over the previous generation’s shifter I tried at the 2014 New England International Auto Show. That shifter completely ruined the otherwise awesome WRX experience for me. The BRZ, as well as the three Miatas I’ve owned, have spoiled me.

I’d read about this before buying the car, and couldn’t understand how a piece of metal under the shifter boot could possibly take the slop out of the system. But after watching the detailed installation video and seeing how it works, I was convinced, and bought it on sale for $38.70. I’ll give you a full review once I install it and use it for a while.

Diode Dynamics Smart Tap Flasher

Diode Dynamics SmartTap Flasher
Photo credit: Diode Dynamics

One part that I AM able to swap from the BRZ to the WRX is my LED turn signal bulbs. Both cars use the same type, so I switched the BRZ back to its stock incandescent bulbs before trading it in and held onto these. But to avoid hyperflash, I need either resistors in the circuits or a flasher relay capable of handling LEDs. I chose to go for the flasher. I was unable to find my BRZ’s original flasher relay (probably lost in my move last year), which I had upgraded to a used TapTurn flasher, so that had to go away with the BRZ. Immediately I found myself missing the one-touch signaling for lane changes that provided. Diode Dynamics’ standard LED flasher costs $10, but for $60 you can get their SmartTap flasher that incorporates many of the same features as the TapTurn – not just one-touch signaling, but approach and departure lighting and numerous interesting hazard light flash patterns. It’s not inconceivable that I might someday use the WRX as a rally course car, so even those flasher features could be handy. So I splurged. I’ll review this, too, after I install and use it.

Phase 3: Profit!

Here’s the breakdown so far:

$425 wheels + $300 exhaust = $725 in parts sold.

$650 Cobb Accessport + $38.70 Perrin Shifter Stop + $60 Diode Dynamics SmartTap = $748.70 spent.

OK, so I’ve exceeded my budget of BRZ parts sales by $23.70. That’s a not a big deal, less than one dinner out will cost. And keep in mind, I haven’t sold my track pads yet. I’m asking $200 for those, which will put me well under budget even after spending nearly $750 on the WRX.

Eventually I want to upgrade more of the lighting to LED. After the turn signals, which I already have, I’ll start with the interior since those bulbs are cheap. Eventually I want to upgrade the halogen fog lights and low beams – possibly the high beams, but halogen tends to throw light farther according to tests. But the stock headlights, while not quite as good as my BRZ’s HIDs, are still perfectly good, so that’ll wait a while. Most likely I’ll take any remaining BRZ part profit and put it into the Smyth Ute fund. The WRX is simply my fun daily driver and, with these mods, should be quite good as-is. The Jetta is my project car, and is much less expensive to upgrade.

Follow @justinhughes54

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