Hailing from Fallston, Maryland, Agile Automotive Performance has built a reputation for tuning Subarus one WRX at a time. The crew's creations have all the common denominators deemed desirable in the field of import tuning: power, style, footwork and attention to detail. These two wild rides share a lot, including: dyno charts tracking over 500 whp; owners who longed from afar for the WRX before landing their dream car; and drag race aspirations. While both of these fully turned-out Subies are destined for the strip, we caught them at the end of their runs as daily driven street cars.
"I first saw the STi in 1996 while I was serving in the U.S. Air Force and stationed over in England," Minter says. "I was instantly drawn to the car. I decided then that I would buy one at the first opportunity I had. In 2003 I retired from the Air Force and bought myself a 2003 WRX as a retirement gift to myself. Only four months later did the news break of the introduction of the STi into the U.S. market. Needless to say, and to my wife's dismay, in only a few short months, I had two Subaru's in the driveway. I bought the very first STi that was available at the dealership in May of 2003.
The STi has 65,000 miles on the clock and a 529whp dyno sheet in the glove box, which is impressive enough. Once you consider the powerplant is internally stock, jaws start to drop. The EJ25 plant is pressurized by a custom Agile side-mount GT35-R turbo kit with an APS 725 FMIC chilling the charge air.
"The Garrett GT35 ball-bearing turbo is all about torque," Minter says. "I also like the fully custom side-mount install. This setup is so powerful, putting 480 lb-ft of torque to the wheels."
"The APS intercooler is by far the best intercooler on the market in my eyes," Minter says. "It's so efficient, and the installation documentation / hardware and fitment templates are a cut above anything else I've seen."
The fuel system has been upgraded to support big boost with a Walbro 255lph pump, Perrin fuel rails and 850cc injectors. A Cobb AccessPort is employed to tune the combination. The Subie relies on JIC Magic FLT A2/RS coilovers and a collection of Cusco braces for its handling prowess and Disc Brakes Australia rotors for added stopping power.
Visually, a ChargeSpeed body kit is the marquee performance. The kit features a V2 front lip and is further enhanced with a Seibon carbon-fiber reverse-cowl hood. "The styling of this car blends both the race and show, resulting in the unique look that I was looking for," Minter says. "The engine bay is finished with a powder-coated intake manifold, stainless steel braided hoses, anodized fittings, and polished piping. Airbrushed graphics and a ChargeSpeed body kit suggest a show car, while a roll cage and racing seats betray this car's racing background. This car was once a serious autocross competitor and I strive to make it a competitive drag car in the future."
Plans for quarter-mile domination have been laid and wrenches are turning. The stock engine will be pulled and replaced with a built bullet. Jones Junction Subaru will provide the STi block, which will be filled with low-compression forged JE, while a GT Spec Gen-II Racing Exhaust Manifold with Jet Hot 2000 coating will be supporting a bigger GT-Series turbo. Minter reports a new stand-alone engine management, performance heads/cams, and a methanol injection system will round out the transformation. After that: the drag strip. Beware, Baltimore.
Agile's Hill McCarty was motivated by a long running love of rally racing from the 1990s when the blue crew campaigned the Legacy platform. "I watched every rally I could get my eyes on," McCarty says, "either off the internet or on VHS or DVD. Then the hundreds of hours of time spent racing the WRX STi in Gran Turismo just reinforced my desire to own one at all costs.
Hill's World Rally Blue WRX hits all the high notes thanks to its Version 7 RA Spec-C, a 2.0-liter JDM STi engine swap. The RA Spec-C engine is Subaru's race engine; the RA stands for Race Altered. In factory trim the Spec-C sports a closed deck, forged pistons, forged rods and a forged crankshaft. It runs much more aggressive cams, flexes ported heads, AVCS (variable intake valve timing), and has a lofty 8000rpm rev limit. Hill also swapped in the JDM STi six-speed gearbox and all the pertinent driveline parts all the way back to the hubs.
Boost is generated by an Agile SC61 GT-Series turbo kit that pressurizes an Agile FMIC setup featuring a Perrin Performance core and custom end tanks. From the intercooler, boost traverses a reversed custom powdercoated intake manifold before entering the flat four. "One of the trick things about our kit," McCarty says, "is how the turbocharger is not only supported by the pipes themselves, but also by a rigid set of brackets that keep the pipes from cracking or bending under moments of high g-forces or extreme heat cycling."
Other notable engine mods include: Perrin fuel rails, which ensure proper fuel distribution (this can be a concern when WRX's are introduced to big boost); an Aquamist 2C water injection system, which subsidizes the charge-air cooling process and pushes back the engine's detonation threshold; and an AEM EMS unit, which maintains harmony within the RA Spec-C's fuel and ignition mapping schematics. With a set of 800cc Power Enterprises injectors on the front line and diligent tuning on the EMS unit, Agile has extracted 504 whp on the shop's Dynapack chassis dyno.