The Demaras family has a long relationship with Scarboro Subaru. Their list of cars starts with grandpa Bill’s 1986 XT, onto father Chris’ 1992 SVX and mom Alice’s 2006 Impreza and her 2014 Forester XT. Long before first-born Daniel daily drove his Bugeye, he received sponsorship and support from the Vigliatore family that runs the dealership.
Demaras dad and lad Chris and Daniel had the Scarboro Subaru colours on their karts and in their hearts while racing at Goodwood Kartways, and in some small way, hope that they helped introduce Vigliatore father and son Gaetano and Francesco to the track. But nobody expected this!
Right on time for 2022 KartStars Canada race at Goodwood Kartways this weekend, heavy advertising and promotion for the east end dealership now appears all around the kart track. The timing tower and flag stand bear the Six Star insignia, and drivers will line up at the Scarboro Subaru Starting Line.
The most impressive part is the Pit Lane. The timing tower and elevated podium now bear the Scarboro Subaru brand and each year will display top-line offerings from Fuji Heavy Industries, including the latest Subaru WRX.
The support Daniel received from Scarboro Subaru really had an impact on young Daniel. Not only does he daily drive that 2003 Impreza WRX, but he’s taken it out to race tracks such as Shannonville and Cayuga, Daniel even learned to rallycross it at the Crazy Farm. It’s quite amazing how much a little encouragement at an early age can create brand loyalty.
In 1982, racing driver Enzo “the wolf” Coloni founded his own team, Coloni Motorsport. That same year, he won the Italian F3 title, promptly retired, and refocused his efforts as team principal. The team competed in Formula 3 before making the big step up to Formula 1 in 1987 when the FIA announced the end of the very expensive ‘turbo-era’.
By 1985, Japanese car companies were winning races in Formula 1. In fact, Honda won the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship in 1986, 1987 and 1988. In 1989, Subaru had enough of watching their rivals succeed in Formula 1, and decided to become an engine supplier. The same F1 regulations that encouraged Coloni to move up to F1 also attracted Subaru, giving them a global platform to demonstrate their engineering ability.
In 1989, the flat-12 Subaru 1235 racing engine was developed with an established engine partner. Plans to supply engines to independent teams such as Minardi were scrapped when Subaru instead took a controlling interest in the Coloni team. Subaru brought substantial financial backing, paid off Coloni’s debts, and brought an exclusive new engine. Rebranded as Coloni-Subaru, the team would enter the 1990 Formula 1 Championship as a ‘works’ team.
In March 1990, at the US Grand Prix, the Coloni Subaru C3B was revealed. With its wide, long sidepods, the car looked different from conventional designs of the day, and did not have a central air-box, due to the unique engine architecture. The ‘boxer’ engine was Subaru’s connection between their road cars in the dealerships and the race cars on the track. Unfortunately the Subaru 1235 engine was heavy, only produced 500 HP, and banished the Coloni Subaru to the back of the pack. Uncompetitive, the Coloni-Subaru did not qualify for the US Grand Prix. As the season went on, improvements were few and results remained abysmal.
By May 1990, Subaru fired Enzo Coloni from the team, but even his replacement brought no improvements. In June 1990, Subaru withdrew completely form Formula 1 and sold the team back to Enzo Coloni no sponsors and no engines, no sponsors but no debts.
After their short stint in Formula 1, Subaru refocused their motorsports efforts on the World Rally Championship. The Japanese firm entrusted their rally program to Dave Richard’s Prodrive and their success over the next decade made the Subaru WRX a legend.
What could have happened if Subaru had remained in F1 for a few years more.
The late ’80s were a boom time for the Japanese economy. Car companies expanded with luxury branding schemes like Toyota’s Lexus brand, powerful sports cars like the Acura NSX, and factory racing teams.
After seeing other Japanese manufacturers such as Yamaha enter Formula 1, Subaru also decided to become an engine supplier too, partnering with Motori Moderni. The firm’s owner Carlo Chiti was previously chief engineer at the successful Alfa Romeo F1 team, providing Subaru some measure of confidence for a successful project.
Subaru had built its reputation on the superiority of the ‘boxer’ engine, with flat-4 and flat-6 engines in its road cars. The plan was to build a 3.5L, naturally aspirated, flat-12, called the Subaru 1235,; the pinnacle of boxer engines.
Howling flat-12 engines powered Ferrari to championships in the ’70s, but the Subaru 1235 was heavy, underpowered, and uncompetitive. The Coloni Subaru C3B race car failed to qualify for the first 8 grand prix of the 1990 season, and the Subaru 1235 engine was shelved.
Back in the 80’s, Fuji Heavy Industries differentiated their brand from other Japanese GT cars with the wedge-shaped Subaru XT.
These were turbocharged, all-wheel-drive, 2-door coupes with incredible aerodynamics and very quirky looks. The cars never sold that well, but did have Keke Rosberg, the Formel-1 Weltmeister in their German ads.
Why would Subaru of Japan make a Keke Rosberg edition Subaru Justy? Seems like an odd thing to do in honour of Finland’s first Formula 1 champion. After all, Rosberg was driving a Williams FW08 powered by a Ford Cosworth DFV V8.
Rosberg was already a famous F1 pilot by the late 1970’s and he used his notoriety to try to find Finland’s next great racing driver. In the 1980’s, Keke Rosberg created the Subaru Racing Series in Finland.
A spec series using the Van Diemen Subaru Sport 2200. The car was an open cockpit, two-seat race car built by Snetterton-based Van Diemen International.
Subaru regular production parts were used, including the EJ22 engine and manual transmission. When combined with a lightweight, fully adjustable chassis design, the car produced “formula car-like” behaviour even with a standard production, four-cylinder engine (a recipe that worked in Formula Vee since the mid-60s).
There’s a very vanilla Subaru Justy for sale in Ontario for north of five figures. Demand (and nostalgia) is strong for retro, analog cars. There isn’t a more basic car than the Justy. But even econoboxes had special editions back in the day. Case in point, the Subaru Justy – Keke Rosberg Design.
The car is currently for sale in Finland with an asking price equal to $9,620 Canadian dollars, but it will also cost plenty to ship it across the ocean too. Most F1 fans and Subaru enthusiasts have probably never even have heard of the limited production car.
To celebrate Keke Roberg’s 1982 Formula 1 World Championship, Subaru created this special edition with a planned production run of 150 vehicles. The actual number built was just over 50 vehicles (this is No. 22 for sale), making it extremely rare.
Some of the extra features unique to the Subaru Justy – Keke Rosberg Design include:
- Lower and stiffer suspension
- 13” alloy wheels
- Leather steering wheel with image of Keke Rosberg’s helmet
- Side skirts
This is no rally-spec pocket rocket, and only boasts a “…yellow rally style stripe…”. The carbureted 1.2L, 3-cylinder engine was never a powerhouse, and the seller notes that the odometer reading of 63,470 km may in fact me 163,470 km or 263,470 km!
Mostly rust free, the vehicle does appear to have been to the body shop during its life. It’s more of a ‘survivor car’ than a museum quality vehicle. Plus… what museum would you even put this thing in?
~ Chris #16 Demaras ~
When my kids were little, I took them to car shows all the time. Even back then, then Michelle and Daniel were drawn to the World Rally Blue cars.
These pictures are from Hypermeet 2014, a big car show held at Subaru Canada’s head office. The star of the show was the Can Jam Motorsports tent, with it’s incredible cars. Well known for their experience with rally cars, the Thornhill shop even brought their time attack car called ‘Black Storm‘.
Fast forward 7 or 8 years, and we’re finally here at Can Jam’s location just north of Toronto. The parking lot has Subarus of every type; rally cars, daily-drivers, slammed street rides and several of the Race Lab cars from the Crazy Farm event earlier this winter.
Duane and Kevin are the second generation in the business, and they really know their stuff.
Daniel’s trusty Bugeye WRX was brought in to correct some ‘issues’ that came up after Race Lab, but really, there is no limit to what Can Jam could do to this car. Daniel’s just glad to have his ride back!
~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~
When I was a kid, back in 1988, my father bought his first Subaru. The brand was still a little quirky back then, but the blueprints of Subaru’s future success were already written. Every Subaru model came with 4WD, including the lowly, subcompact Subaru Justy with an MSRP of only $9,969.
Far from an all-wheel-drive ‘hot hatch’ the Justy was an uninspiring commuter car Subaru built from 1984 to 1994. Equipped with a 1.2 L three-cylinder engine making 80 HP, one interesting detail was the Justy was available with a CVT decades before mainstream car manufacturers started using them enhancing fuel economy.
Even as a Subaru enthusiast, I have to say this is crazy money. But, with only 101K on the clock, could this car be a good candidate for an STI engine swap?
Thank you to Alex Smalley from Go Fast Photography for the incredible pictures of the Bugeye WRX at rally school. We sent him a thank you note upon receipt of his pictures from the recent Race Lab event, and modest Alex wrote back:
The camera does most of the work, I just press the buttons 😛 Really happy with how these ones turned out. You guys brought a pretty photogenic car for the snow!