It’s safe to assume that many of you die hard fitment fans are thinking “Oh, it’s a slow old Subaru with massive wheel gap” right about now. However, this one is slightly different. When I was in high school I thought these first generation Subaru Imprezas were the coolest cars around. Even this one in particular, yes, this exact one. When I first saw James Gawley’s car I was a sophomore in high school. Back then it was just another stock 2.5 RS, but I was still in love. Since then, it has come a long way, and it is my honor to introduce you to James’ awesome Subaru!

James roamed the streets of our hometown in a stock Impreza for quite some time, but every so often he would get new parts that would start setting the car apart from others. A few years down the road, I stopped seeing it around. James had left for school in Southern California, and I went to school further north. We were 500 miles apart. I figured, I would probably never see the car again, but then the galaxies, unicorns and moons aligned. I posted a status about going to Formula Drift in Irwindale and James commented on it, suggesting that we meet up. Shortly after, we got to talking and planned the shoot.

This car has come a long way from being your average 2.5 RS. It’s gotten a complete overhaul from inside out, including a heart transplant. It now has a complete 2004 STi engine along with matching interior, special thanks to Brian Keene at iWire along with Frank Turcios for doing the swap. This Subaru sits on Tien Flex coilovers and has 20mm STi front and rear sway bars. It is no longer a “your typical Subaru”, what do you say?

In the end, this may still just be an “old subaru” to most of you but for me its age gives it character. This car will not out perform a 2012 STi by no means, but a 2012 STi will never have the same essence and character of a car that is built from ground up. Seeing the progression of this car from its life as a 2.5 RS to its current state has been a pleasure that I was lucky enough to see firsthand.

With that said, James is not completely done. His future plans for this GC8 include a widebody and a rotated turbo set up. In James’ words, “This car is going to be a track beast one day.

If you like my photos I would appreciate it if you could follow me on my Facebook and on Instagram @watsonlu.

28 Responses

  1. Drew

    On the contrary, I’d bet that it would most definitely out-perform a GR chassis STi. This GC weighs a LOT less than a new one. Absolutely gorgeous car though.

  2. fr4nk1yn

    I’d say it’s “just another Subaru”.
    Besides the engine swap the mods are quite normal for Subarus at least in my area.
    This seems more about meeting up with an old friend. The car, no offense, is not the caliber of the site.

    • Such

      the time, money, and effort put into the car is definitely on par with cars on this site. Half of the cars on here just have wheels and a drop done.

      this car will outhandle and outdrive a GR, and would be very close to a GD chassis….

    • blw6989

      What do you mean, caliber of this site? There’s been plenty of features on here with only a set of cheap coilovers and xxr’s, this ain’t no easy honda swap

      • Gnar

        +1 for Such and blw6989 – no easy task! Big props for the owner creating something he loves. Keep the “ol’ friend with a sick car” threads coming!

    • elusivesti

      definitely not another sti. would destroy any factory 2.0 car. 1200kg v8 sti? definately capable of a mid 13 the newer models are closer to 1450kg
      + that fitment is pretty damn good for a subi considering the monster guards from a rally background they have, the 18’s fill them nicely and still ultimately functional. yeah he could dump it alot more but then suspension geometry goes out the window
      you dont buy a subi to ultimately “stance” it if yourve already pumped thousands into it for a rapid setup.

  3. Zeppy

    i agree with Drew, a GR weights in roughly at 3350lbs where the gc8 weights is roughly at 2700lbs.

    both engines produce same power +/- 10=15 crank hp

  4. chainsaw

    Cool car, great design work. Like a modern 2002tii or Cortina GT. Boy racer gone rogue.

    From old-school car designer

  5. geoffrey rubick

    this is epicly outdated looking. this is not that beastly of a build either.

  6. Andy

    whats with all the hate? the car is sick and its even better that it has some history, its a hell of a build and props to james for sticking with it. I’d take this over a new STI any day.

  7. Trey

    I really like the GC8 but i think the car should have less carbon fiber. If it only had carbon fiber on that front lip it would look sickkkkkk.

    • Boston

      a 22b is a hell of a lot different than your normal GC chassis
      only 400 made and maybe only 2 or 3 stateside, I could go into some detail on the differences but you can just go do the research yourself.

      • Kevin

        Speaking of 22b my cluster is out of a 22b in my rsti

  8. VIk

    I’ve owned two STIs. 04 n 07. But i gotta say i love rSTIs. Ive always wanted one as a project. Try putting in an 04-07 Sti dashboard and door cards for a more complete swap. Ive seen this several times and it is AWESOME!! Overall Great Build!!

  9. sti

    I have a question. I have a 2000 subaru 2.5rs and I already sway wrx knuckles(5×100)! so which coilovers I can choice? TEIN SS Coilover Subaru Impreza 2.5RS 93-01 is ok? Thank you


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