Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Search

Welcome to a blog / build journal about our '02 Subaru Impreza TS nicknamed the Rally Wagon. From near scrap to glory, with a fair share of bumps and laughs along the way. That's the plan anyway.

Over the past few years the competitive driving bug bit me hard. So much so that I've spent a full year looking for my perfect Miata to turn into a dedicated weekend / autocross / track car. Problem was - the car I ended up buying was so clean it would be a sin to drive it through the Canadian winter. But the itch to drive was ever so present through the long and dreary winter months.

And so it began - jokingly at first, but quickly getting more and more serious - my search for a car that would fill my competitive driving void in the winter. And since we're talking Canadian winter, rally cross would be the event of choice.

Despite having a limited budget (it was a side project after all) I wanted to do things properly. I've read plenty of rally-related forums and articles, most of which agreed on one thing - front wheel drive is the platform of choice for an entry level rally car. Wonderful advice I've chosen to interpret rather creatively. Off to the classifieds I went to search for anything rear or all wheel drive. But first I needed to narrow down my choices.

A Miata was too small and low, MR2s were too complicated, 240SXs and AE86s were either complete rust buckets or cost more than their weight in gold (thanks Initial D!)... So in terms of rear wheel drive cars I was pretty much left with the e30, which to me seems a bit odd. See, I can count the number of German cars I'd consider owning on one hand and yet strangely, this one falls into that list. Something about its timeless BMW-ness, or the fact that it's nearly as popular in club racing events as a Miata which can't be an accident. In any case, I really wanted to own one and see what it's like, so it was definitely on the list.

Then there was the all wheel drive category, which is pretty much synonymous with one name only - Subaru. Yes, Audi dominated the WRC with the release of it's Quattro system, and I respect them immensely, but... see point above about myself and German cars. And yes, Mitsubishi is Subaru's ever-present competitor but I wasn't gonna pull an Evo on a beater budget and everything else they make is useless for my purposes. So Subaru it was. Didn't matter which Subaru, they're all brilliant - so long as it was a 5-speed and didn't have leaking head gaskets. Ok, I admit I may be slightly biased.

I spent weeks looking through through the ads for cheap e30s and Subarus. Even went to see a couple. But one day, when driving back from yet another disappointing viewing of a Subaru with a friend of mine, he turned to me and said - you know, I still have that WRX motor that I don't need... A few moments and an evil grin from ear to ear later it was settled - I'd find a shell with a blown motor and he'd provide the turbocharged punch. To hell with that e30, another day perhaps. The search for a Subaru with a blown motor began. Shouldn't be too hard... you know... head gaskets.

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