Cleanest Subaru WRX STI Of New York Has A Few Surprises

  • The 2004 Subaru WRX STI came standard all-wheel drive with fore/aft torque adjustment, six-speed manual, and front and rear limited-slip differentials.
  • Highly praised as an everyday rally car, under the hood sat a turbocharged 2.5-liter, 300hp, 300 lb-ft of torque horizontally opposed flat-four engine.
  • New York-based Joe Tobias transformed his previously World Rally Blue STI into a modern-day show-stopper with an M Sports widebody, TE37SAGA wheels, and Lexus Eminent Pearl White repaint.

As cheesy as it sounds, there’s a special bond with the friends you make from a car club. Such is the case with Joe Tobias — the owner of this insanely clean 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI — and I. We met through the Long Island Subaru Club over a decade ago. I’ve had the pleasure of watching the transformation of his Subaru from a relatively stock, less than 30,000-mile sedan to the impeccable specimen you see here.

Throughout our friendship, I’ve always known Joe to be an extremely meticulous and patient person. You can see those personality traits translate over to his Subie. The majority of parts are rare JDM delicacies that took years to track down, or they were custom fabricated by Joe himself.

Joe’s goal was to make the car look as though it was taken straight off the streets of Tokyo but with his own unique flavor. When he first purchased the car, it was finished in the ever so popular World Rally Blue with minimal mods, but that didn’t last long…

It starts with the M Sports widebody kit molded beautifully on the car for the most seamless appearance. The entire body was then resprayed in Lexus Eminent White Pearl before a Voltex wing finished off the rear.

Far more interesting to me are all the subtle little details Joe has added, like the black vinyl garnishes to accentuate the rear quarters. There’s also the JDM rear glass, carbon fiber windshield cowl, and Ganador side mirrors that house his own 3D-printed inserts.

Knowing wheel selection was pretty limited if he kept the vehicle in the factory 5×100 bolt pattern. Joe converted the hubs to 5×114.3, which awarded him the ability to fit 18×10.5-inch Volk Racing TE37SAGA wheels wrapped in Toyo R888 tires. Of course, you can’t throw a nice set of wheels like these on a wide-bodied STI without having front and rear Endless big brake kits behind them, right?

The suspension came next, and while Joe has every intention of driving his Subaru hard on the open road, he also must endure the bumpy streets of New York, hence the Air Lift struts controlled by AccuAir management.

Open the driver’s door, and you’re welcomed by a race-inspired yet luxurious-like interior that’s highlighted by a set of Bride Stradia II Venus seats and Beatrush roof bar. Alcantara and flocked pieces can be found throughout, while Defi gauges sit nicely behind the steering wheel and over the center console.

Now, at this point, you might be asking yourself, “I see the ‘show,’ but where’s the ‘go’?” Don’t worry. Joe’s addressed that, too. Fitted to the factory 2.5-liter Boxer engine is an FP Green turbo and all the necessary supporting mods, including APS plumbing and a Blitz radiator. Tuned via a COBB V3 Accessport, the flat-four puts down a modest 411 wheel horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this, in fact, is one of the cleanest GDB STI builds you’ve ever seen. I’ve watched this car transform over the course of Joe’s ownership, and he’s done it the right way. Joe calls this version of his build the “Final Form.” We emphatically agree and can’t argue that he needs to do anything more.

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