The first generation of Subaru Impreza has become somewhat of an icon among car enthusiasts, engraved into the minds of those who witnessed the intense battles waged in the stages of world rally with the likes of Colin McRae and Carlos Saintz at the wheel in the Japanese domination era of rally in the 1990s. The first generation shape matured well over its 8 years in production, culminating in arguably some of best looking Imprezas in 22b and rb5 guises; however when the second generation “bug-eye” was launched in 2000 it caused quite a controversy, it looked polarizing to say the least and, if you ask even the Subaru faithful, it has a cult following not universal acclaim.
Photos by: OCEY.FOTOGRAFIA,BRUNEI
Subaru addressed the main criticism of the “bug-eye” front fascia with a facelift in 2002; with a more muscular front end which blends far better with the rest of the body it was simply more aesthetically attractive. Enough history though, on to the build and here it comes courtesy all the way from South East Asia in Brunei: I’m from the UK so I’ll keep quiet on that one. Not exactly a country that is well known for performance car passion, this is somewhat of a rarity and with this Impreza build, detail is the key word. The build hasn’t been about chasing dyno figures with massive power outputs, gleaming show specs or creating a rally replica for the road, this build has been about sticking to the manufacturers original intention for the car and simply improving it with every detail; it could almost be a factory edition or tune company limited run; a nice change from a car that can be butchered badly with rally-esque vinyl and ugly bolt on bodykits.
Engine upgrades are relatively minimal in terms of pure power with the focus more aimed to keeping the good OEM pieces while replacing other factory items with better quality aftermarket parts. As such the car retains the OEM Sti intercooler and all of the internals of the infamous EJ257 engine are completely standard; upgrades meanwhile include a Kakumei radiator shroud to improve the radiator core cooling while a Samco silicone hose and turbo inlet with Apexi air filter has also been fitted to improve air flow and provide better engine response; another advantage is the inlet can be fitted without removing the intake manifold and as old inlets do crack and leak the upgrade was an inevitability. The only other mentionable upgrades are the HKS sequential Blow off valve, providing all the pops and turbo whistles an Impreza must have, and the Apexi N1 exhaust; you can’t have a Subaru without a proper boxer burble now can you? Meanwhile a Walbro fuel pump completes the set; Subaru owners seldom use anything else and for good reason.
Now, the exterior of the car is perhaps one that captures the JDM philosophy as well as any you’re likely to see, subjective I know, but it’s so subtle in its way of standing out it could be mistaken for a factory edition if you weren’t in the know. Thankfully the slightly cliché blue and gold colour combo is absent here in favour of the factory pearl white which fits perfectly with muscular body and stays true to the simplicity of the car itself. Exterior modifications themselves meanwhile are cherry picked from newer models and aftermarket parts; the rear bumper comes courtesy from the more subtle spec C model with arch extensions further muscling out the body; an OEM rear diffuser has also been fitted from the “hawkeye” Impreza with a Cusco bracket which gives a more aggressive look. The impreza also sits lower with Tanabe DFF210 springs on the standard Sti shocks providing a more appropriately aggressive stance; this coupled with the gun-grey 18″ Rota RT5 wheels means the car simply looks more purposeful with the emphasis on low but not slammed, resulting in function and form with driveability the dominant factor. Other small touches complete the aesthetic side of this Impreza with the addition of a kakumai roof spoiler and the Granada side mirrors; very understated parts but ones that still give the car a unique presence helping the car stand out from others modified in the same vein.
Azri’s Impreza then; it’s not the most modified car you will ever see, it’s not got a ridiculous amount of power nor does it have a gigantic amount of bolt on parts. This impreza however is, and sorry to use a time old cliche here, more than the sum of its parts: The subtlety of the modifications that have been done mean that the car is simply an Impreza that is better in every way due to the work that’s been put in. It strays from the rather stale WRC mod-guide that so many impreza owners seem to stick to so religiously in favour of a clean and simple style that epitomises what JDM enthusiasts strive towards. Altogether a simple yet great build.
*OEM STi Intercooler
*Kakumei radiator shroud
*Samco hose and turbo inlet
*HKS SQV bov
*Apexi N1 muffler
*Walbro fuel pump
*Agency power clutch line
*Agency power brake line
*Agency power short shifter
*Cusco strut bar
*OEM STi ver9 steering wheel
*HKS turbo time type1
*ATI meterpod with boost, oil temp, oil press and water temp meters
*Ganador side mirrors
*Spec-C ver8.5 rear bumper with fender arch
*Sti ver9 oem diffuser with Cusco bracket
*Tanabe DFF210 lowered springs
*Rota RT5 wheels 18×9.5 +38.
Words by: Callum MacHugh