BBS RK 028

As master mechanics continue working on the WRX’s brakes, Daniel and Chris have spent weeks checking scrapyards and searching online. Finally, a set of BBS wheels (rare, extra-cost option on the 2003 Subaru WRX) were located in Brampton. It’s so strange looking for factory original parts on a car that usually gets modified!

The German / Japanese wheels were high quality parts, yet often discarded back in the day for a set of popular aftermarket wheels. The timeless split-spoke design suits a car of this vintage. Sadly, this set of wheels had been on ‘snow tire’ duty for a year, and were a little rough.

The model RK 028 is a very traditional BBS style wheel; thin spokes and a wide lip. Very elegant. Daniel has become an expert at steaming and scrubbing wheels during the WRX project, and brought new life to the old rims.

Unfortunately, one of the centre caps was missing. While while Daniel worked on the wheels, Chris’ online search turned up a replacement cap at a Mississauga speed shop.

On the positive, the previous owner of the WRX left an unopened package of black, extended, open-end lug nuts in the trunk. They look pretty good on these wheels, now that everything is cleaned up.

The WRX now has a set of 16″ original wheels for winter, and 17″ optional wheels for summer. Now to select tires!


2022 WRX

Thanks to AutoBlog for these spy shots of the 2022 Subaru WRX. The design is definitely an evolution of the current shape, but still has the characteristic fender flares and hood scoop of the iconic WRXs of yesterday.

Before getting her bright orange Mini Cooper S, Alice went through a couple Subarus including an ’06 Impreza hatchback, followed by a tricked out ’08 WRX. Will this new WRX be enough to entice Alice back into the Subaru family along with Chris’ SVX and Daniel’s WRX?

SVX to NV

The Subaru SVX has been in the Demaras Racing stable for nearly a decade. It’s a fun GT car that can fit the whole family. But ever since the coilovers got bolted on, the just ride hasn’t been right. Lower, yes. Better, no. After much consideration the next step in the project is to put the SVX on air suspension.

Last week the car was dropped off at NV Auto outside of Hamilton to begin the process. As soon as the Subaru went up the mountain and pulled into the parking lot, you just knew you ere in the right place.

NV Auto is a shop by run car enthusiasts. A team of mechanics, fabricators, and competitors that have made their goal to spread the joys of the automotive world. The shop made its name for their Subaru repair services and made their mark racing Subarus. Passionate about their work, Miguel and the crew agreed to take on the SVX as a unique project.

Of course, there’s no bolt-on system for a 1992 Subaru SVX. But the Airlift Performance Series V2 designed for the 2005 – 2007 WRX STi is very close. It’ll take some cutting, welding and fabricating, but the struts, management system and air tank are on their way from the manufacturer.

The build will take the better part of a month, but rumour has it this may be the first Airlift-equipped Subaru SVX in Canada


Special thank you to the man, the myth, the legend…Hundred Dollar Bill. The grandfather of Demaras Racing, this is the man who got Chris and Daniel hooked on Subarus. Bill drove his Subaru Forester XT all the way past Hamilton to pick up Chris, all the while shaking his head at what his son is up to this time.

Odd Symbol

~ by Chris #16 Demaras ~

While cleaning out the trunk of the WRX, Daniel and I stumbled across an odd looking symbol inside the decklid. This was not an ISO standardized graphic.

The symbol looks like it was designed by a primary school kid, and the plastic is all yellowed. But clearly, this lever allows you to open the trunk from the inside. I don’t remember seeing this symbol on the Mini Cooper, Forester, old WRX, older Impreza or any other cars in the family fleet.

I looked it up and learned that since 2001 North American sold cars were legally required to have glow-in-the-dark, emergency trunk releases handles. The story behind this safety feature is scary and bizarre.


Back in 1995, a couple in southern California was kidnapped at gunpoint, robbed and locked in the trunk of their car. The bad guys drove the car to a park in San Francisco where the car was abandoned and the couple was left for dead. Miraculously, the couple escaped by pulling up the carpet in the trunk, locating the remote trunk release cable and freeing themselves.

After her ordeal, Janette Fennell was angry that she could have died that day … because they couldn’t get out of the trunk! She did her research and found that trunk entrapment was a serious problem. Many children had accidentally been locked in the trunks of cars, with terrible consequences. Janette’s solution was a glow-in-the-dark emergency trunk release handle installed inside the trunk.

It took Janette years of effort, lobbying the powerful US auto industry, to make the safety device mandatory. At the 1999 Detroit auto show she demonstrated the device at the by climbing into the trunk of a Ford to show how it worked. That’s commitment! Her (www.CarsAndKids.org) organization’s efforts were successful, and as of September 1, 2001, all cars for sale in North America were required to have the emergency handle.

Several manufacturers were early adopters of the device. The odd drawing inside the Subaru’s trunk was an example of the device being installed before standardized handles and symbols were established. I think the story of Janette Fennell reached Fuji Heavy Industries in Japan…because that image of the person escaping the trunk and running to safety….that’s her. That’s Janette.


Sound Improvement

To get the WRX ready for the road, the plan was to complete mechanical repairs, send it out to the body shop to renew the exterior, then clean and detail the interior. But a parts delay on the ABS pump changed up the sequence of tasks.

So, this week, interior detailing was followed by installation of in-car entertainment. A 2-way car alarm was installed to protect the Kenwood DDX6706S head-unit and mid-level C2 series speakers by JL Audio. A pair of 6.5″ component speakers in the front doors are matched up with 4″ coaxial speakers in the rear doors. That’s it! No subs, no amps…just a nice, clean factory replacement.

The car is starting to come together now with lots of new parts under the hood. The car runs strong and the deep, rumbling exhaust note makes for a great experience. The interior is complete and the addition of the backup camera adds a modern touch to an older car.


But a quick trip to the Esso station to fill the tank reveals burned out bulbs in the dashboard and a non-functioning clock and temperature gauges. The car still needs work.

Factory Radio

The WRX has held up well over the years; the design is quite timeless. The original ‘bugeye’ is small, light, quick and a blast to drive. Drivers have to accept that a car of this vintage won’t have all the comforts of a modern luxo-boat, but it also won’t be so big and heavy. It’s a trade-off.

Popping a Metallica cassette into the factory radio just isn’t an option. Much as the car will remain ‘original’ this does not include the crappy factory radio and speakers. So Demaras Racing sped to the electronics gurus at Auto-Links at 300 Nantucket Blvd in Scarborough where John and Cody were ready to help modernize the in-car entertainment.

The electronics are going to be very conservative. Replacement of the six factory speakers with quality JL Audio components, a Kenwood double-din head unit and a backup camera for a little extra visibility when parking. All of it is protected by a top quality car alarm, engine immobilizer and kill switch. Auto-Links has experience with Porsches, Ferraris and plenty of Subarus, so this is just a snack-sized project for them.

Detail

Tucked in behind the Scarboro Subaru dealership’s used car department at 2566 Eglinton Ave East in Scarborough is a hidden gem; Rob’s Complete Car Care. Like the sign says; time is quality…and quality takes time.

Daniel’s WRX had a rough life. One of the previous owners was a smoker, so the car was badly in need of hot-water extraction, steam-cleaning and detail work. The crew at Rob’s used environmentally safe chemistry to neutralize and disinfect the interior; standard practice in the age of covid.

Five hours after he started, a dehumidifier was placed in the back seat to dry the carpet and upholstery completely before the scheduled pickup.

SVX Back from Paint

Along with restoration of Daniel’s WRX, there’s another project on the go at Demaras Racing; the 1992 Subaru SVX belonging to Chris.

Getting the SVX back from paint was motivating; the project is really moving along now. Colour code 269 may not be to everyone’s liking, but a fresh layer of Dark Teal Metallic is a glorious sight in the bright sunlight. It wasn’t a complete repaint; just the front hood, bumper, splitters and spoiler.

The ugly front license plate bracket it gone, and with a fresh coat of paint, nobody can see it was ever there (plate will be relocated under the bumper). Another little detail was painting the centre caps on the BBS wheels to match the body. A nice touch.

Whisky

The WRX is an interesting project. This generation of Subaru is one of the most commonly customized cars on the road, which made the decision to keep the car ‘original’ so difficult. There’s just so many parts available to make the car better, faster, stronger. But if a part could have been on the car since new, then it’s still original equipment. Sort of. Case in point…gold BBS wheels. When paired with World Rally Blue paint, they’re iconic.

While searching scrap yards and classified ads, this item cane up on Kijiji; Custom made, whisky side table, Subaru WRX STi BBS Gold Table with glass top $1,190.00. Kind of a sad ending for a high-quality, forged-aluminum wheel.

Brake Dust

Final steps to steam-clean the WRX’s wheels were completed over the weekend. Years worth of brake dust had corroded the wheels, diminishing their appearance. But through the miracles of modern chemistry, high pressure steam and some elbow grease, Daniel and Chris were able to return the wheels to near stock appearance.

If a set of 5×100 bolt pattern BBS wheels (optional an ’02 to ’04 WRXs) can be sourced locally, those will become the summer wheels with sticky 17″ tires. The stock 16″ wheels would then be be relegated to winter tire duties. But they’ll still look better than they have in years while carving through the snow.