photography - Chris Gentle
Danny's Wolf Pack
A Chargespeed widebody Subaru Sti with the lot.
When WRX fanatic Leon Rex from Canberra passed away suddenly in January 2005 close friend and fellow WRX enthusiast Danny Singh was helping piece together the ultimate Subaru for his good mate. Danny, a mechanic by trade had sourced all the hot bits for Leon’s WRX wagon mainly from the United States and Japan. The two of them had spent much time together discussing plans for the car and shooting the breeze. When Danny heard the devastating news of Leon’s death it affected him deeply, so much that he felt compelled to leave the city of Canberra and almost abandoned the performance car scene altogether as every where he looked he saw reminders of his friend. Danny was on the verge of selling his 2002 model ‘bugeye’ WRX STI to become a ‘normal citizen’ but fortune happens as Danny’s wife, Grace talked him around to not only keeping it but making it the ultimate car. The seed was sown and Danny’s passion overcame reluctance and he decided to build the car as a tribute to the late Leon Rex.
The great thing starting with a car like the Subaru WRX STI is that it already has upgraded everything and is a well developed base to begin with, even so the only thing that remains standard are the Brembo brakes and the six speed gearbox. What hits you first is the Chargespeed wide-body kit, being the first fitted to a ‘Bugeye’ in Australia and to Danny’s knowledge remains the only one. Chargespeed, popular with WRX boys and girls worldwide developed the kit to enhance the original lines of the car and give it a more muscular pumped up attitude. Danny’s priority with the kit was to ensure panel fit was perfect and it integrated seamlessly with the original Subaru bodywork. The bonnet has been replaced by a Seibon carbon fibre vented hood, the boot lid was also ditched in favour of a lighter carbon fibre lid also from the Seibon Carbon factory. The carbon fibre GT wing comes from mega cool Japanese company Kakimoto and the rear diffuser has also been given the carbon touch. Add in tough yet simple white 19 inch Arospeed RS-GT rims and you have just about completed the Japanese street racer look.
Following the wide-body STI even for a mere ten minutes on the way to the photo shoot I noticed two different young blokes in the backs of two different family cars reaching around to take photos of it with there camera phones, plenty other people were having double and even triple looks at the car. Danny’s wide-body has undeniable glamour looks and draws attention pretty much any where he takes it. Danny says that while most enthusiasts instantly recognise the make and model, most non-enthusiasts (normal citizens) struggle to identify it particular now it doesn’t have the trademark WRX bonnet scoop on it’s snout.
Dedicated performance aficionados know that looks aren’t everything, a car should excite it should feel great to drive, it should beg you for the next corner and want for another straight. A good car is one that shoves you back into your seat and the exhaust is the only soundtrack you need. Danny Singh agrees and his philosophy equals well thought out engine and chassis modifications that deliver quality performance and increased driveability, which was precisely the reason he opted to increase displacement to 2.5 litres up from the standard 2.0 litre using the U.S. spec Impreza litre block. The enlarged capacity increases low down torque and engine response making the engine package less laggy. To this same end Danny has also fitted the AVO 400L turbo as it has developed a strong reputation for making good usable power throughout the rev range. Danny believes that the instant throttle response generated by this combination is far superior to having a massive peak power that is only usable with high revs.
The crowning glory in Danny’s cooling system is the CRY02 intercooler system which basically cryogenically freezes the cooler using liquid Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Danny swears this is a very effective way of removing heat from the intercooler before it enters the engine again resulting in more power and much better fuel economy. He also states a tank of CO2 lasts about three months even if you use it every day. The intercooler intake piping has also been insulated with heat wrap to keep hot air from undoing all the cooling modifications that have been performed.
With cooling taken care of Danny’s next task was to chose an ECU that would make the most of the modifications. Danny chose the E11v2 series Haltech ECU which utilises numerous correction maps to make sure no matter what condition Danny runs his monster ‘Bugeye’ in the engine will respond smoothly and consistently. The ECU was tuned by Chris Romano at Bob Romano Performance Motors in Brisbane. Not content with the standard gauges and dials of the STI Danny installed the Haltech MXL display which sits where the tacho and speedo should be. The digital display shows all necessary information including speed, revs, gear position and even lap times which is great for track days.
Power without control is pointless so Danny fitted Tein Flex coilovers with the Tein EDFC (Electronic Damping Force Controller) so the suspension can be controlled quickly and precisely via in-cabin switch dial to suit road conditions and driving attitude while on the go. Danny has only lowered the car 20mm from the standard ride height refusing to sacrifice comfort, practicality or suspension performance. The Subaru WRX STI already comes with big Brembo brakes so they don’t need upgrading but Danny has replaced the Subaru pads with EBC Greenstuff brake pads which he comments are excellent for his daily driver as they warm up quickly and wipe of off speed even faster in any situation. Braided brake lines have also been fitted to keep the pedal feel firm and responsive. Subaru WRX STI by nature of their All Wheel Drive system offer higher levels of grip than most vehicles on the road yet Danny has improved this even more by increasing the tyre width on each wheel by 30mm taking the tyre size up to 245mm using the Silica based Falken 451 tyres on nineteen inch rims. The wider tyres help fill out the massively pumped guards but more importantly between the four tyres they give you an extra one hundred and twenty millimetres of contact with the tarmac which is important when you want to feel your three hundred plus horsepower shoving you back in your seat.
Danny, who served his mechanical apprenticeship in Singapore fifteen years ago has recently opened his own workshop on the Northside of Brisbane called Woofpac Racing and is fast becoming a renowned Subaru specialist. After a solid four months of building the car not to mention loads of hard earned cash Danny Singh, his wife Grace and three year old son Caius have a family car that is not only visually stunning and very quick it is also a very special tribute to friend lost suddenly, Leon would be proud.
Photos and story – Chris Gentle. www.chrisgentle.com
2002 WRX STI WRC Blue.
Under the hood
Engine: Subaru EJ20 with US spec 2.5l block
Induction: Injen custom cold air intake, Injen custom front mount intercooler, Fujita air filter, Perrin custom billet fuel rails, STI hi-flowed injectors, Perrin turbo inlet pipe, Sard fuel pressure regulator, HKS grounding kit, Cusco heat shield, PWR radiator, Samco coolant hoses, Samco radiator hoses, HKS Vacuum hoses, AVO 400L turbo with big rear housing, GFB Deceptor Pro blow off valve, Hyperflow billet oil catch can, CRYO02 air intake bulb, CRYO02 intercooler spray bar, custom water spray on intercooler, NOS pressure gauge.
Internals: JE Pistons, Crower billet conrods, STI crankshaft.
Systems: E11v2 Haltech.
Exhaust: BPM twin dump, GT Spec HPC coated headers, Metal Cat catalytic converter, Varex muffler
Gearbox: 6 speed STI.
Clutch: Custom heavy duty clutch.
Brakes: Front and rear STI Brembo with EBC brake pads.
Front and rear: Tein Flex coilovers.
Wheels: 19 x 9 Arospeed UK RS-GT.
Tyres: Falken 451 245/35/19.
Outside: Chargespeed Widebody kit, Custom blend WRC Subaru blue with hint of purple, Carbon fibre GT wing.
Inside: Kevlar Carbon fibre DRIFT racing seat for driver, APEXi EL exhaust temp gauge, APEXi EL boost gauge, APEXi link controller, Tein EDFC controller, Haltech air/fuel ratio gauge, Haltech MXL dash display.
Et: Hasn't had official run yet.
Special Thanks Chris, Bob & Esther Romano from Bob Romano Performance Motors (07 3395 8255)
Vincent from Motorware (03 95474998)
Troy Patterson from Pro Speed Racing ( 0418 436 861)
Steve Hurkett from Hyperflow Technologies (02 4283 2281)
Chris Gentle from Epicphoto ( 0410 468 102)
Ben Anderson from TurboXS (02 9987 0395)
Bill Matthews from Repco Lawnton (07 3205 1000)
my family, wife Grace & son Caius from Woofpac Racing for their love and support,
lastly to a late WRX fanatic Leon Rex ( 28th October 1949 - 25th January 2005 )
Whats happening and whats cool in the world of custom Street cars
Watch and listen as Ali Afshar from Easy street motorsports talks WRX's and STI. If you love these AWD boxer engined beasts as much as I do it's worth a watch.
If you have appreciated this page please click on the "like" button to share on you Facebook page.