We’ll wind the clock back to October 2009. I had been working for Marlboro Nissan for about 6 months and had begun developing a more advanced affinity for fast cars. During my time at Marlboro Nissan, I had learned to drive stick on a 2006 350Z, and that’s the powerhouse I had come to want. As things progressed however, Subies started invading my peripheral vision.
It became clear that I wouldn’t be able to buy a $20,000 car as my first (at the time I was driving my parents’ old ’98 Altima). This put the Z and STi out of contention. Enter the fastest car $10,000 can buy… the ’04 Subaru WRX. I bought one that I found in Illinois for $10,500 after everything, having drained my savings and borrowed $2,000 from a friend to afford the down payment. It performed with only a few hiccups for 10 months, save for my ramming into a median island for which it was off the road for 3 months. I got bored.
The STi was at this point the only car I had any interest in. One day in July 2010 I walked up to the sales manager at work and had him appraise my WRX. I found out that I had $3,500 in positive equity in it and immediately jumped on AutoTrader in search of an STi. I found my dream car. An Aspen White 2005 STi with BBS gold wheels and only 57,000 miles on it. I grabbed it at $21,000.
When it first arrived, we started realizing that it was far from the bone-stock Subaru road racer that it had been billed as. It had clearly been modified in the past, then reverted to stock, and there were a number of major concerns. After having my friend Steve – who owns a 700hp 2007 STi – look it over, it appeared that all systems were nominal and the car just needed a bit of TLC. What was uncovered during the thorough inspection was that at one time it was probably tuned beyond 400whp (wheel horsepower) from its stock 240ish whp. A big increase that, if not done just right, could spell problems for the car.
So began the saga. It has not gone well…