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Old 29-05-2010, 11:14 AM
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Default The only car I ever wanted

This is my thread so I guess I can be as long-winded as I like ;-)

My dad has always been a bit of a car enthusiast, and I grew up around Morgans, E-Types, various Mustangs and a ton of hang-gliding. (This is me with my dad in 1968. I'm the bald one.) More pics of my dad's cars in reply #7 below




I got my license in 1986 and my first few cars were a Renault 12, a Cortina TC XL, a VW Kombi van, an Escort MkI and an HJ Kingswood.

My Renault 12 in 1987, after a respray:



This is me in 1988. My then-girlfriend (now wife) and I went to Dwellingup for a camping trip, and I decided the rear drum brakes weren't working properly ...



And a slightly more flattering shot, taken during my 3rd year film trip at Curtin Uni



I got three speeding tickets in the Cortina and decided to slow myself down, so the Kombi came next. This is in 1988, before I did it up:



Same van after I converted it into a camper and painted it white:



After I sold the Kombi I bought a horrible little 1.3L automatic Escort. Looked great but I hated it after about a week:



I sold that and bought something with a bit more beef. It was a fairly run-down Kingswood, although by the time I sold it it looked like new again:



At the beginning of 1990 my job called for a more executive ride, so I bought a 2-year-old 1989 VN Commodore. That thing really had some go.

This pic was taken during a trip to Albany in 1994, when my wife was pregnant with our first child:



I've always been a PC gaming nut, and in 1995 they released 'Network Q RAC Rally Championship'. It featured 28 stages of the UK RAC rally and six cars. You guessed it, the 555 Subaru Impreza was one of them.

I spent hours barrelling down Uk country roads in 640x480 resolution, using a home-made wooden steering wheel and pedals and loving every second of it.

In 1998 I bought a near-new white VS commodore, and barely 7 months later I traded it on a brand new Subaru Impreza MY99. White, manual, you know the rest.

After a few months I took my car to the tuning shop and said I wanted a louder exhaust. They fitted something cat-back or other, and I recently (ten years later!) discovered it's an HKS Super-drager. All I know is you could stuff a full-grown moggie up the end and still leave room for a litter of kittens.

At some stage I picked up clear bumper and side indicators off ebay, and a set of Altezza rear lights which I've since removed. (I don't mind Altezzas on light-coloured cars, but I wanted something a bit more stock.)

This car was my daily drive for the next 6 or 7 years, until I gave up the day job and started working from home. Now my car sits in the garage and gets one or two short runs a week, and I'm lucky if I put a tank of fuel in every two or months.

Fast forward to March '10, and on a whim I decided to sell the wife's Forester GT and get her an MY99. We bought the Forester new in 2000, but our kids are teenagers now, and we didn't need the extra room in the Forester. Plus I figured it would be cool to have two white MY99 WRXs in the garage:



By this stage my car was ten years old and I'd barely looked under the bonnet. I had no idea what all the pipes or the funny little radiator on top of the engine was for, and I'd never wanted to know. I just took it to Subaru for servicing and that was that.

Bear in mind most of my driving was taking our kids to school or picking them up again. The car has 95,000 on the clock and I've only just fitted my third set of tyres to it. (I went from the original Potenza to some cheaper Bridgestone tyres to the current Maxxis MA-Z1)

However, when I parked my wife's MY99 next to mine I realised some of the pipework was different. (Okay, that sounds suss.) At the front left corner there was an inlet pipe missing and a hole right through the inner guard. (Also suss.)

I jumped on the net and started searching for info, and I ended up here on P-WRX. I discovered someone had removed the snorkle/resonator, and decided to put it back to stock.

I used to get right into it with the old bombs, changing oil, brake pads, gaskets, hoses, radiators and so on, but with my Rex I had decided it was the pros or nothing.

That now changed.

First thing I did was pick up front and rear strut braces. They were pretty simple to fit, and after reading all the dire warnings I was careful not to over-tighten the nuts.

Next was an Ultrex H-Brace. I got under the car and it took me about five minutes to realise this wasn't a job I wanted to handle. So I took the car to the local garage, and they hoisted it up and fitted the H Brace in no time.

While it was on the hoist I asked them about some streaks of oil visible underneath, and I mentioned the burning oil smell I'd been getting. They pointed to the driver's side rocker cover.

More research, more reading, and then I bought all the parts from Subaru so I could do the job myself. When I originally asked about 3-bond sealant they said it probably wasn't necessary, so I ended up fitting and cleaning the gasket and half-moon seals three times before I got it right. (With three-bond sealant.) It took me a whole week, but I got an enormous amount of satisfaction out of doing the repair myself. (As mentioned, I'd done gaskets on other cars, but there's a big difference between bunging a rocker cover gasket on a Kingswood which cost me about $2500 vs a Subaru which cost me over $40,000 )

Next up, more handling mods. After a bit of reading and feedback on here, I decided on Whiteline adjustable 22mm swaybars, plus the alloy links and heavy duty rear mounts. The rear bar and links only turned up after the recent test and tune day at Midvale (the first time I'd heard my tyres squeal since I bought my Rex!), and the front bar is still on the way - should be here this week.

The rear was easy to fit. I set it to medium, checked all the nuts and went for a quick drive.

I couldn't really feel much difference in the car, so I hopped in the unmodified MY99 hatch and followed the same route. It felt soggy in comparison, and I realised the suspension mods wouldn't make much difference unless I drove fairly hard.

I'm looking forward to fitting the front swaybar this week.

The other difference between my wife's car and mine was the stereo. Mine was stock-standard, and I've been using a cassette adaptor with a battery-powered MP3 player for years, whereas her new car had a grands worth of subwoofer, amp, head unit and speakers. Ironically, the stereo was the first thing I upgraded on every car I'd owned before the Rex, usually moving the same head unit from one car to the next. With the Rex I didn't care about the music, I just wanted to hear the engine and exhaust!

Anyway, I tootled off to SupaCheap when they had their specials on, and picked up a head unit and two sets of speakers. I told myself I just needed something I could plug a USB stick into, because the whine from the cassette adaptor in the stock unit really was annoying.

Much reading later, I finally found a wiring diagram for my specific car (there are four or more variations in the stereo wiring colours of the MY99, it seems - euro, Jap, US, Aus and probably others). So, I got in there with a soldering iron and shrink tubing and it all worked first time. The new stereo was well worth the effort.

Next mod was an Ultrex short shifter and bushes, and at the same time I fitted a leather gater boot I picked up off ebay because my original one was worn. (I have large hands, and my thumb rests on the upper part of the boot when I'm shifting - I'd worn a hole right through it.) The short shifter is fantasic, and I haven't even fitted the bushes yet.

I also fixed an annoying thud when the wipers were on, which turned out to be a broken washer/cap on one of the push arms. Apparently Subaru only sell the complete arm, but I found a budget fix involving the rubber washer from an everyday garden hose connector. The part fitted beautifully, and the wiper bang is no more.

Most recent mod was a bit of engine bling: I fitted a bright red silicone hose kit because all the rubber ones were original and bound to fail sooner or later. I haven't done the larger radiator hoses yet, because I only just had the coolant replaced. There are also a couple of silicone pipes which look like they're off the turbo, and there's no way I'm disturbing that.

Next I did the silicone Y-pipe and the short (90mm?) intercooler-to-manifold joint, which fitted fine. The supplier sent me a 2001+ part for the blow-off valve plumb back by mistake, but I did a tech drawing of the correct shape and they're supposed to be sending a replacement.

I picked up some JDM STi tail lights with the red & white lenses, and swapped them for the Altezzas. It's a much classier look, especially on a white car. Also got some black custom plates off another P-WRX member which I'm very happy with.



Next mod in the queue is an anti-lift kit, which is waiting to be fitted. I'll get the garage to do that, and maybe the shifter bushes at the same time.

Possible future mods: I definitely want to upgrade the brakes with slotted disks and better pads. I'll wait until the current ones have worn though.

As you can tell, I haven't done any performance mods. The exhaust and Y-pipe give a little extra power over standard, and the car is plenty quick enough for me.
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Last edited by Sayers; 29-05-2010 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Updated with new pics.
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Old 29-05-2010, 11:30 AM
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Great story and a couple of very clean looking rexes you have there.
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Old 29-05-2010, 11:38 AM
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Interesting read. Is your wifes car a hatch? Nice choice
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Old 29-05-2010, 11:43 AM
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Well done mate! This is what Perth-WRX is all about IMO. Great read and the two identical WRX's looks awesome in the pics.

5 stars from me!

EDIT: Got anymore pics of the E Type etc..
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Old 29-05-2010, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikftw View Post
Interesting read. Is your wifes car a hatch? Nice choice
Yes, hers is the hatch. When I went to look at it I assumed it would be the sedan (the ad didn't say), but she actually liked the idea of the hatch and the car seemed to be pretty straight so I bought it. Only had 140k on the clock, which I thought was pretty good.

We've just put some Goodyear F1 DS-E3 tyres on it, and if my wife drives like she usually does they'll last about 50k.

She's driven a Forester GT for the past decade, so she's still getting used to the Rex. She used to drive a 1275LS Mini so she knows all about cornering ability ...

Last edited by Sayers; 29-05-2010 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 29-05-2010, 11:52 AM
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I do love the hatch. Good luck with everything!
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Old 29-05-2010, 12:14 PM
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Default More old pics

My dad (in the car) and one of his brothers (with the armband). It does remind me of the recent Midvale test day ...




My dad on a quick run:



This is me trying to 'jack the old man's Mustang:



Hey bro, you got the keys?



My kid brother. You'd probably get jail for doing that to a kid nowadays. (That's a long way down ...)




I remember sitting back there when my dad calmly announced we'd just hit 100mph. Don't recall any seatbelts or child seats in those days.



The only colour pic I could find:



(My dad had a green mustang and then a Mach 1 after that, but I don't remember any photos.)


This is us emigrating to Spain in 1976. Doesn't everyone take a speedboat and a pair of hang gliders?

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Old 29-05-2010, 12:22 PM
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Couple of nice cars there Sayers.

Have to head back the the speeddome when you have all the bits fitted.
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Old 29-05-2010, 12:27 PM
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That's the plan, although I'd really like to get hold of some stock MY99 rims + tyres with maybe 20% left on them. I tore up my brand new MA-Z1s last time, and that won't do.

I've seen a set of MY00 rims for sale cheap, but it would be smarter to get four more of what we already have.

If I can find a set, I can bung them on the car the day before and swap them back again the day after.
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Old 29-05-2010, 01:02 PM
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Great read!
Network Q RAC Rally Championship <- I still have this on cd somewhere, one of the best games in its time!
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