On the dimly lit streets, this night warrior makes its move, creeping in the dark, pulling up on unsuspecting victims. Its appetite has grown stronger. First, it was a Talon here, a CRX there. Then even Civics and Integras weren't enough to satisfy this beast. Its eyes flash at the sight of a CBR street bike. It saunters alongside the underpowered opponent at a lonely red light. Little does this bike know, it's about to become the latest victim of this street prowler.
Most Subaru WRXs don't hit up motorcycles, but then again most WRXs don't make this much power. The owner of this street prowler is Donald Lee of Valley Village, Calif. This bad-ass puppy makes 384 hp with only 22 psi on street gas (no NOS). The WRX has unique roots in Australia. Donald enlisted the services of Tony Rigoli Performance (TRP) in Sydney, Australia, to build an EJ20 sleeved and stroked four-cylinder engine that now displaces 2.5 liters. TRP also modified the crankshaft, oiling system and added the company's billet rods. TRP then custom-ground the street/strip camshafts and added TRP lifters. The techs ported and polished the cylinder head. In doing so, stainless-steel TRP valves and heavy-duty springs and retainers were installed. The last TRP touch was customizing a Bosch fuel pump with a surge tank, regulated by Malpasi, with upgraded 750cc injectors. All of this fine engine work was tuned by Dominic Rigoli of TRP.
While this would be enough mods for most performance enthusiasts, Donald didn't stop there. When the engine arrived stateside, the car was placed in the hands of Easy Street Motorsports of Valley Village, Calif. Easy Street is the exclusive U.S. distributor of TRP products. Once the Aussie engine was installed, Easy Street tuned it with a Microtech LT-8 stand-alone engine management system.
When Donald first walked through the door at Easy Street, he intended to purchase only the standard ESX 344-hp package. Ali Afshar of ESX tells us that within a year Donald upgraded to the ESX 500-hp package; six months later, he upgraded to the sickest of the packages, the ESX 740. This is the same package on Easy Street's 9-second racecar. Even though Donald has subsequently moved up to the ESX 740, his street warrior still sports the ESX500 markings-- so future competitors, beware.
Also powering the car is an Innovative turbocharger and wastegate with a 3-inch downpipe and Turbosmart blow-off valve. ESX/TRP supplied the front-mount intercooler, while boost control is also handled by Turbosmart. The humming 3-inch exhaust system on this Subie is also a custom ESX job. Finally, a NOS adjustable nitrous system was put in place. Want to know what's really crazy? These ESX 740 modifications can handle up to 42 psi of boost--that's out of this world. The WRX's dyno numbers are incredible too, given it was only pushing a very conservative 22 psi.
The remix to ignition, hot out of the kitchen, is all MSD coil and MSD DIS 2 with wiring by Jamie Montesalvo. In terms of the transmission, this WRX sports an ESX/TRP dog box five-speed and ESX full race clutch. Rounding things out are a B&M shifter and oil cooler.
As mentioned earlier, this street prowler proved its worthiness at the Easy Street dyno, putting down an impressive 384 hp at 22 psi, on pump gas without nitrous. It's important to mention these factors because we figure this car can easily make more power if the boost was increased, some race gas was thrown in it and NOS was pushed in its veins (then just close your eyes and pray). Ali also pointed out the Dyno Log is a conservative one and receives complaints of low readings. "Too many people are used to exaggerated numbers...from other companies, with 365 hp and [then] only make 208 hp on ours," he says. "That's a great difference, but [their] car runs low 13s on the quarter mile. You tell me which horsepower rating seems to be the right one. Consumers should beware of 'happy' dyno readings."
While this WRX makes a hell of a lot of power, it can't be controlled without proper suspension. Starry-eyed enthusiasts often overlook the importance of a good suspension system on a high-powered car. JIC saved the day with a front and rear adjustable suspension, including JIC FLTA-2 struts and springs and JIC rear links. Not one to skimp on matters, Donald selected Cusco front tie-rods and front and rear anti-roll bars. The WRX also has upgraded undercarriage braces.
The WRX's exterior was also given the once-over. Donald threw some "show" into it with a C-West body kit and had it painted a pristine blue by Steve's Auto Body of Valley Village, Calif. Completing the ensemble are Arceo Alpine Star 19x8 wheels with BF Goodrich 235-series tires mounted and balanced by Easy Street. Well, that's one of the packages. Donald owns four different sets of wheels and tires (must be nice). Peeking out at you are ESX Brembo brakes with 12.9-inch drilled rotors and Brembo four-piston calipers and upgraded pads. Lastly, the WRX's interior needed sprucing up. This car couldn't roll this tricked out and have a stock interior. Once again, Easy Street Motorsports lent a hand and installed the red-and-black leather interior, STi and Auto Meter instruments and a navigation system. Not shy about wanting to cuddle up and watch movies, Donald also purchased a Kenwood DVD 911 system. And speaking of comforts, the car still runs with air conditioning. That's just to rub it in to you diehards who had to give up A/C to install your turbos!
We can't wait to get Donald's car to the track. It should easily put down 10-second runs, since that same ESX 740 package produced numerous 9-second runs on Easy Street's other cars. It's truly a high-powered machine, so watch out for this street prowler on its feeding streets in California.