One of the several requirements I had to take in to consideration when replacing my 2004 BMW M3 was what I called the “Break Neck Factor”. You know what I’m talking about. My M3 had it in spades. I couldn’t walk away from that car without looking back twice.
The 2015 Subaru WRX concept car broke every neck. All of them. Hospitals were filled. People were graving-out right there at their computer desks. That car was low slung and wide and absolutely jaw dropping. There hype was real.
And then 2015 Subaru WRX production car was unveiled and it was a real let down. Anything short of the gorgeous concept car would have been a bummer. When I first set eyes on the redesigned 2015 WRX I wasn’t all that enthused. It did look a bit too much like a Corolla from certain profiles and those 17″ wheels just weren’t large enough for the car. The horsepower and fuel economy specs were attractive but ehhhh… I dunno about that styling.
The 2015 Subaru WRX STI however looked pretty darn good but it didn’t meet my requirement for fuel economy. Besides, I previously owned a 2008 Subaru STI and didn’t want any part of that failed piston and ring land business of which the EJ series engines are known. Too bad. Or was it? I could have a WRX with the good looks of the STI in a matter of minutes. There are entire threads on Subaru forums dedicated to sourcing STI owners to swap trunks with WRX owners. Those 17″ wheels would have to go too. That’s cake. This is happening.
That’s what this post is about.
While signing papers at Subaru of Annapolis I mentioned to my salesman, Wayne, that the first thing I’m looking to do is source an STI trunk. It just so happened that they had just sold an ice silver STI a few days before to a gentleman who said he was looking for a WRX trunk and that he would put me in contact with him the following week. B-I-N-G-FUCKIN-O.
Swapping the trunks on the WRX is literally done by removing a short wiring harness and backing out four bolts. Be sure to have a friend handy. No way this is a one man job.
At the same time I began my search for replacement wheels. Timing was pretty good going into fall because the WRX comes standard with summer tires and they wouldn’t be safe for use in the winter. We do get the occasional blizzard and I’m not about to risk getting stranded with an all-wheel-drive car. How embarrassing would that be?
It took me a few days but I managed to browse through all 9,000 posts of the 2015 Subaru WRX/STi pic thread on NASIOC. I was a big fan of the gold 2008+ BBS wheel design but finding a set for a reasonable price proved difficult. Instead I settled. Kind of. I found a set of anthracite colored Prodrive GT1 wheels in 18″x8.5″ on Craigslist.
The wheels had a little curbing but nothing major. They were straight and included tire pressure monitor sensors so I couldn’t complain. Wait, yes I could. The center caps were busted. Some time before winter ends I plan on plasti-dipping these vintage gold.
So, the plan was to have two complete sets of wheels and tires. One for summer. One for winter. Winter is just around the bend so I needed tires asap. I had planned on re-using the two remaining winter tires from my BMW M3 so I purchased two more to have a complete set to mount on the Prodrives. Turns out this was a waste of money. My old tires had 6/32nds of tread depth and the new tires had 11/32nds. This was a problem because Subaru advises against running tires that are not within 2/32nd of tread depth as it could put excess stress on the drivetrain. I did not want that for my new car. Looked like I was back in the tire market.
Meanwhile, I sourced a set of Dunlop Sport Maxx RT tires straight off of a 2015 STI that I plan to run in the spring on different set of wheels, most likely funded by April’s tax return.
Back to winter tires. When most people talk about winterizing their car they usually mean installing a set of dedicated winter tires such as Blizzacks. Blizzacks are great for snow and ice but here in Northern Virginia we generally don’t get more than a week of deep (8-12″) snow sans occasional blizzard.
If the Subaru WRX wasn’t all-wheel-drive I definitely would have opted for another set of Dunlop Winter Sports. I was on that fence but opted to take a less conventional setup of Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires.
Yes…I went to a chain tire shop. The guys at Merchant’s Tire in Manassas are alright by me. We quickly discovered the factory lug nuts won’t work on the Prodrive GT1 wheels. Luckily they had a set of longer nuts in stock in the warehouse and hooked me up.
And this is how my Subaru WRX sits today. One million times better in my book. I still plan to grab three or four cans of vintage gold plastic-dip for the wheels.
Performance-wise, the next mods for my WRX are take-off STI inverted struts with RaceCompEngineering lowering springs, and a catted J-pipe (also known as a downpipe to the rest of the turbo world) with a professional tune. That should net well over 300 pounds feet of torque to the ground and 300 wheel horsepower.
As for the interior, I want the auto-dimming mirror with compass, the STI center console assembly and a way to lower the seat height an inch or so. I might be out of luck on the latter.
Do you think I should do something different or have some parts I may want? Let me know by leaving a message below. Be sure to check out my WRX on WheelWell.com to stay up to date with all it’s modifications and build details.
I am looking into doing a trunk swap with a fellow subie as well, I was told I needed to switch out the torsion bars due to the Sti trunk being a lot heavier. Did you, or have you ran into any issues?
You do not need to swap the bars. I didn’t and had no problem. The only thing I would recommend swapping over that I didn’t is the trunk rubber weatherstripping as the STI’s is thicker and better absorbs the impact of the heavier trunk closing. And make sure to do that while both trunks are off.