Subiefest 2017: SoCal’s Biggest Subaru Festival

This year’s Subiefest promised to be bigger and better than ever before as SubieEvents LLC, the original creators of the event reacquired the rights to Subiefest after Robert Champion, events director admitted he regretfully sold back in 2013.

The 2017 reacquisition of Subiefest meant a full overhaul of the event as the team started from scratch, devising new ideas and concepts that were implemented to rebirth SoCal’s Biggest Subaru Festival back to its former glory.

Subiefest coincided with the presenting sponsor, Subaru of America’s 50th anniversary. To mark this milestone achievement, Subaru rolled out their celebratory carpets to all the loyal vehicle owners both young and old in appreciation for their dedicated support by treating them with an impressive display of movie cars, prototype vehicles, and race cars all packed in at this year’s event.

The 1968 Subaru 360 was the first car sold in America which kicked off a long standing heritage of vehicles that went on to win numerous World Rally and motorsports championships.

2001 Impreza S202 STI Version

Limited to only 400 production cars made for the Japanese market by Subaru Tecnica International (STI), the S202 is considered the holy grail of earlier second-generation GDA (2002-2003) platforms. The S202 is based on the “RA Spec C” Impreza which was hand built and stripped down to a no frills model for the ultimate performance package. The EJ20 2.0-liter engine was stuffed with a custom ball bearing turbo and recalibrated ECU that delivers 316bhp, a bump in horsepower from the previous 276hp model.

Inside the car the S202 received all black interior, vastly different from the typical blue and black interiors that most STI models were accustomed to. The S202 also uses a special edition blue gauge cluster that the USDM market Subie owners have long lusted over. There are a few other small upgrades such as a red emergency warning button switch among many items but we won’t get into the details.

The exterior was upgraded with a roof vent, adjustable rear carbon fiber wing, Rays forged alloy wheels, gold Brembo calipers, custom tuned suspension, pillow ball bushings, and a mechanical limited-slip differential.

The intercooler comes with a sprayer, while the front mount oil cooler is a standard STI branded item. Did we mention the titanium exhaust tip exiting out the rear bumper? The S202 was packed with a chock-full of STI goodies that made it one of the more successful Impreza’s to ever debut. This vehicle was pulled from the Subaru Technica International’s private collection and has never been showed outside of Japan till now.

2007 Impreza WRC2006

There was plenty of hype coming into this year’s event including the display of the 2007 Impreza WRC2006 piloted by Petter Solberg. The Prodrive constructed Impreza was displayed in tarmac spec from the 2007 Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo and is considered the most highly developed competition vehicle in the history of Subaru Technica International’s motorsports efforts.

Based on a production Impreza chassis, this full-race vehicle was extensively reworked to handle the rigors of World Rally competition. A full FIA roll cage and Sparco seats protect the driver though the treacherous courses.

The engine consists of a modified 2.0-liter EJ power plant delivering 400 lb-ft of torque despite being restricted to 300 by regulations and uses a highly modified symmetrical all-wheel drive system that paddle shifts a manual transmission.

A set of rally spec BBS wheels sit on all four corners while STI/AP Racing monoblock calipers and two piece tarmac rotors help with the vehicles braking.

Carbon fiber pieces are used throughout the entire vehicle including the rear wing, exterior body panels, and engine air box for weight reduction.

1998 Impreza 22B STI

In 1998, Subaru produced a special edition wide body coupe of the Impreza STI to commemorate the brands 40th anniversary and their World Rally Teams third consecutive World Rally Championship. The 22B-STI Version is considered around the world as the ultimate first-generation Impreza models with a limited number of only 424 sold worldwide.

Based on the WRX STI Type R coupe, the 22B was designed with hand built wide fenders, adjustable rear wing and unique bumpers and hood to replicate the ’98 WRC car.

Under the hood sits a 2.2-liter with an upgraded IHI turbocharger delivers 276hp. A twin-disc ceramic clutch distributes power though a five-speed manual transmission to a set of 17-inch BBS wheels. This particular vehicle is from Subaru of America’s private collection, and is a one-of-a-kind pre-production prototype.

2018 WRX STI Type RA

The WRX STI Type RA which stands for “Record Attempt” was built for circuit racing in mind and has gone through a steady weight reduction diet. The RA also received a bump in horsepower to 310hp with the aid of an intake, exhaust, forged pistons and retuned ECU.

Weight reduction and aerodynamic upgrades include a carbon fiber roof, carbon rear wing, STI front under spoiler and 19-inch BBS wheels.

Inside the cockpit sits a set of Recaro seats and Ultra suede wrapped steering wheel and finished off with a special edition badge for each of the 500 production units.

2018 BRZ tS

The tS model tuned by STI further refines the BRZ sports model to provide improved grip, stability, and high-speed aerodynamics. This model is the first US vehicle to officially wear the Tuned by STI name.

Features include 18-inch black finished alloy wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport tires, Sachs dampers tuned for the US market at Willow Springs Raceway, STI lip kit and side skirts.

The interior consists of Alcantara and black leather trim with “tS” logo embroidered seats. Production of this model is currently for sale and will be limited to 500 units.

Crosstrek Desert Racer

Crawford Performance teamed up with Grabowski Brothers Racing to develop and campaign this Subaru Crosstrek in a series of Baja events including the historic 49th running of the SCORE Baja 500 in Ensenada Baja California, Mexico. The Grabowski family is not new to off-road, they have had generations of experience racing in Class 5, Pro-Lite, and trophy karts.

This highly-modified Class 5 Crosstrek racecar is nearly unrecognizable now and is designed off a Desert Dynamics chassis with a curb weight of 3,800 lb. Suspension modifications consist of 14-inch travel King shocks and 35-inch front and 37-inch rear BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A tires.

A 2.5-liter boxer engine that was developed and tuned by Crawford Performance powers this desert racer. Quirt Crawford mentioned that the vehicle had just returned from a successful race where it posted a first place finish in its class and beat the competition by more than 1 minute. As a test prior to the Baja 500, the team entered the McKenzie’s 250 race in Lucerne, California, where they won their class by over one hour. Who says Subaru engines aren’t reliable?

Red Bull GRC Rally Cars

Red Bull Global Rally Cross Subaru-sponsored drivers Patrik Sandell and Chris Atkinson were on hand to meet and greet fans before suiting up to deliver some thrilling ride and drive exhibitions for a few lucky guests.

Patrick Sandell #18 Subaru STI

The Red Bull GRC wrapped up its series in Los Angeles on Oct 14th with Sandell crossing the finish line with a third place podium finish. Sandell fiercely challenged his opponents at every event for the 2017 season as he finished with five podium finishes.

Battle tested and still wearing its scars, Sandell’s Impreza STI finished 8th for the 2017 championship season and third in manufactures points just behind Honda and Volkswagen.

In order to minimize damage to the radiator and cooling system when taking large jumps, the unit was moved towards the trunk. Air ducts are mounted on each side of the rear doors to shroud the entire setup and supply cool air as it exits out the trunk.

Chris Atkinsons #55 Subaru STI

Chris Atkinsons STI was also on hand for fans to get close and personal to this amazing Subaru.

The interior was bare with only the essentials to maintain weight reduction. The roll cage and chassis fabrication was performed by Vermont Sportscars.

Similar to Sandell’s STI, Chris’ vehicle sported the same cooling system setup as noticed by the rear door ducting and rear trunk cutout.

We’ve all seen those Superbowl halftime Subaru commercials with dogs driving that became an instant hit. Why dogs you ask? Subaru claims that 66 percent of their Subaru owners have a pet and for that reason, Subaru has had a long history of supporting animal charities. Since 2008, they have donated more than $16.5 million to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Surrounding the vehicle exhibition were numerous Subaru tents that offered official STI swag, free prizes as well as fun games for fans to interact with.

Crawford Performance STI

The Crawford Performance ’08 Time Attack STI made an appearance at the show and looked exactly like it had been nine years ago when Eiji “Tarzan” Yamada of Japan drove it to a number of podium finishes. Crawford Performance owner Quirt mentioned that at the time, this Subaru was the fastest new body style Impreza in the world.

The original 2.5-liter was punched out to a 2.6 unit with 84mm stroker crank and fueled with E85 to deliver 700hp and 750 lb-ft of torque. We asked Quirt if there were plans to bring it out of retirement in the near future and he replied with a simple grin, “Possibly.”

Cobb Tuning was on hand to not only show their products but also put on an educational tech seminar for show attendees on how to set up a flex-fuel system.

This is IAG Performance’s heralded Stage 4 block, which consists of a billet aluminum short block with Darton ductile iron sleeves. IAG claims this block can handle horsepower ratings up to 1,500hp.

For those looking to build something more reasonable, IAG also offers a closed sleeve deck using the OEM case halves that are good up to 700bhp.

In the world of professional racing, the words road racing and air suspension often don’t go hand in hand but don’t say that to Cody Miles, winner of the 2015/2016 Redline Time Attack championship and 2016 GTA championship class winner. Miles’ 2007 STI tore up the local competition with its Renner Racing Development 500awhp/500 awtq EFR7163 turbocharged engine.

The suspension consists of a Performance suspension kit, 3H management, custom trunk-mount three-gallon tank and Vair 400C compressor.

Renner Motorsports GC8

This past weekend wrapped up another nail biting WTAC event at Sidney Motorsports Park where the MCA Suspension team’s Hammerhead S13 piloted by Tim Slade pulled in an amazing 1:20.90 lap for a first place finish and quickest time ever recorded in a production vehicle. We noticed with every passing year, the WTAC vehicles battling for the title continues to be faster and more extravagant in their aero designs.

This Renner Motorsports GC8 on display had the looks and aero package reminiscent of those machines competing at the recent Sydney event. The custom aero work was added to the 22B body kit prior to installing a custom carbon fiber roof, doors, trunk, hood, and rear wing.

The engine is a complete Cosworth long block with Stage 3 cylinder heads. A Borg Warner EFR 8374 turbo is mated to a Full Race header and uppipe kit and is currently rated at 800awhp.

Suspension comes by way of a set of JRZ two-way adjustable and full Whiteline sway bars and bushings. The interior sports an AiM dash display, RRD custom roll cage, Sparco ADV-Pro racing seats, Sabelt six-point harnesses and a custom RRD dash control.

Here’s a clean Subaru Brat lifted on a set of BF Goodrich A/T tires and beadlocked wheels.

The factory carbureted engine was removed in favor of a more suitable power plant. Notice where the new intake sits used to store the factory spare tire. ¬The vehicles paint looks to be original as indicated by the patina ‘Brat’ decal.

Our favorite part of the Brat are the factory rear facing seats with the “Oh Sh*t” handles reminiscent of old school roller coaster rides.

Vendors were plentiful at the event as they showcased their latest and greatest items. iWire wiring services who specialize in Subaru conversions brought out a 1967 Porsche 912 with a Subaru engine conversion. The power plant was converted with an EJ207 JDM V8 STI engine with VF36 twin scroll turbo and custom equal length header.

From mild to wild and everything in between, iWire can wire up and convert anything from a VW Vanagon conversion to a 2.2-liter powered hovercraft.

Happy Halloween zombie apocalypse fans!

The Fate of the Furious Stunt Cars

Fast and Furious movie fans might recognize this 2016 STI from the latest Universal Pictures’ film The Fate of the Furious during the “ice scene” as Dom and the team try to out-run an attack submarine in the frozen artic. The WRX STI is just one of about 300 cars that were specially built for the movie.

Modifications to this vehicle include a roll cage, racing harnesses, custom wide body kit, blacked-out trim, custom white STR wheels and a rear wing.

Another recognizable car on display was this 2015 BRZ used in the same The Fate of the Furious movie. This iconic BRZ was used in the New York sequence of the film speeding alongside numerous exotics.

Customizations to this car includes a Rocket Bunny V2 wide body kit, hydraulic e-brake, custom grille, Forgestar F14F wheels wrapped in Toyo tires, and a custom roll cage.

Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of roll cages but this one caught me by surprise. The center bar was welded precariously as it blocked the middle of the console while the A-pillar bars were formed to contour around the dash. For safety reasons we highly do not recommend setting up your roll cage like this but knowing this was a stunt car that usually gets crushed or destroyed during movie filming, we were willing to let this one slide. This BRZ was three of four identical BRZ’s built by the production crew that survived the filming of the movie. Vehicle effects coordinator Dennis McCarthy mentioned that film cars usually have only a 25% survival rate.

This WRX takes the term maximum traction to another level. Eddie Tapia’s Subaru is outfitted with 18×13 -13mm offset CCW LM5T wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes R888R 335/30-18 tires.

Tapia states the wheel fitment doesn’t run spacers or any crazy camber.

“I can still make a U-turn on a regular street, the fronts turn lock to lock without rubbing, and they provide crazy grip. Proof that you can run real wide specs without sacrificing daily drivability. Yes, I daily this car, plus run it through the canyons. It’s super fun to drive and handles great.”

Only at a Subaru event will you see cars from one broad spectrum to the completely opposite. Placed a few hundred feet from the show cars display was a collaboration of vehicles that I’d like to call the “don’t give an F cars”.

Among these vehicles sat the grittiest and grimiest machines to ever be put on display but don’t get us wrong. We love the fact that there are Subaru owners putting their cars through the paces and using them in the in the open country like they were meant to be.

Subaru SVX’s are a rare sight to see but to witness one outfitted with all-terrain tires was a sight to see!

We’re taking a wild guess here but this Impreza WRX appears to be painted in OEM World Rally Blue Pearl as indicated by the minute hints of color exposed on the trunk and rear bumper. How they were able to drive to the event under traffic conditions while covered in mud is another whole story.

No F’s given? That sounds about right for the owner of this ’86 Subaru Loyale hoisted with a lift kit and outfitted with all-terrain tires. I kind of dig it!

The original engine appears to have been replaced with a newer EJ engine pulled from a Forester.

Smash, crash, or bash this Subaru. It’s all good! If pieces like the exhaust start falling off don’t worry. Fix it quick and easy using ratchet straps!

It’s often said that battle scars are a badge of honor. This WRX had plenty of scars to prove it’s more than just your typical show car. The owner threw on a set of Grabber A/T tires and a snorkel intake for traversing though water.

This Subaru Crosstrek brings whole new meaning to the word camping with this pretty slick collapsible canopy and tent setup.

Check out this self-contained sink, table top and dual burner setup that neatly slides away while you’re traveling anywhere from home to BFE for your next off-grid adventure. This particular unit retails for $1,200 but was being sold at the event for $900.

Snail Performance’s Time Attack WRX

Sally McNulty’s Snail Performance-sponsored ’07 Subaru Impreza WRX has been frequently seen on the track competing in various road race events including the Global Time Attack series.

Nicknamed “Freedom”, this EJ257 powered machine is fueled by E85 and makes approximately 400awhp, at least that’s what it said to make the last time we checked. But knowing the Snail Performance guys, the horsepower output has been raised significantly, especially considering the number of recent modifications made to the car’s chassis, suspension, and engine package.

Jager Racing STI

Mark Jager, driver and owner of this ’06 STI nicknamed “Honey Badger” is a force to be reckoned with as he podiumed on numerous occasions with his Yimisport-sponsored machine. Jager’s domination for the 2016 season included victories in the Redline Time Attack series as WSIR Unlimited AWD Class Record, Overall Event Champion at Global Time Attack Super Lap Battle, 1st Place at Speed Ring Unlimited Class AWD, and Overall Event Champion Global Time Attack WSIR.

With less than a month before the GTA finals, Jager Racing has their eyes set on landing another title as well as setting a new class record.

Current engine specs consist of an Outfront closed deck block, Scat crankshaft, custom port and polished cylinder heads, Borg Warner EFR 7163 and a custom Yimisport tune on an AEM Infinity EMS.

Amidst the heavy foot traffic surrounding the car show and vendor rows, the sweet sounds of tires screeching and distinct boxer engines rumbling were heard just a few feet away from the main attractions. The Subiefest Autocross course was situated inside the event venue and offered plenty of turns and curves to test even the best-tuned suspension among other things. All participants were timed and at the end of the event, one winner from each of the classes took home an award.

With literally hundreds of show cars on display, the volume of amazing examples of automotive art impressed us. Row after row of the latest creations ranged from daily driven vehicles completely built by their owners in their garages to race-bred track cars built by renowned Subaru tuner shops. If you’ve never been to a Subiefest event, start planning a trip to Santa Anita Park, California, next year because you will definitely be entertained.