The Subaru SVX is without a doubt one of the most interesting Japanese cars of the 1990s. It may not have had the same racing credentials as its rivals, but with unique styling and a smooth flat six powerplant the SVX made for one hell of a unique GT car. It was ahead of its time to say the least.
As cool as the SVX was, it never offered a whole lot in the way of potential for modification. For starters, the Subaru six cylinder never had a ton of aftermarket support, and even worse the SVX was only offered with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Even with all these factors working against him, Speedhunters reader Chris Van Den Elzen of DTR Garage in Wisconsin has managed to take an SVX and build into a capable and fun machine for weekend drift days. Even better is the fact that he did it all on a tight budget.
Chris’ SVX began life as a chassis that needed a lot of work – a parts car essentially. He began by installing a five-speed manual transmission with a welded center diff to send power to the rear wheels. He then added an R200 rear differential from an Infiniti Q45 which required custom mounts and modification of the rear subframe.
At the same time he also dug into the suspension, using a modified set of coilovers originally designed for a GD chassis Impreza and custom heim joints for maximum steering angle.
The original 230 horsepower EG33 engine remained largely stock, with a chipped ECU and custom-fabbed long tube headers with 2.5″ exhaust all the way back to boso style tips.
There’s not much in the way of aero parts available for an SVX, so it’s not surprising that Chris left the body pretty original. He did remount the rear spoiler for a more aggressive look and install a 9K Racing hood vent up front.
Fortunately the factory lines of the SVX still hold up pretty well, particularity with the widened fenders and 18″x9.5 wheels on each corner.
The result is a machine that can drift quite well, and stand out massively from the sea of S-chassis cars that dominate grassroots drift events.
But there’s always room for progression. As the recent build photo shows, it seems Chris has yanked the flat six in favor of a small block Chevy V8. Purists won’t be happy about leaving the Subaru motor behind, but then again there’s nothing pure about a Subaru SVX drift car in the first place.
Thanks for sharing, Chris!
If you have a cool car or build story that you think is worthy of being featured on Speedhunters, drop us a line at email@example.com . Please make sure to include your name and location, as well as some basic details and specs, along with at least 5-10 photographs. Photos should be no less than 800 pixels wide and in .JPG format. You can also get submit by using the #FeatureThis hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
One more thing, the man built the car the way he wanted it. Do any of you think he cares if you don't like it. That car with the stock engine would kill most cars, throw a V8 in it and your on a hole new level. Love what you did with the build guy. Also anyone who knows anything about this car would relies its cheaper for the wallet to beat on a V8 than an H6. Buy an alternator for an H6 $260 New one for a V8 $70, do the math. Reliable cheap horsepower at a fraction of the cost.
I have owned my SVX for the past 13 years has been an outstanding car. At the same time I have owned a handful of other SVX's and am working on a small block 5.7Liter, 4 bolt main. Sourced a sweet 4speed manual out of a 1975 Corvette in hope for the car to be a sleeper.
I have a nicely modded 1992 Subaru SVX LS-L, but also have another the same year that I would love to turn into a rear wheel drive V-8 monster. Thats the reason how I found this site, was looking to see if its been done. Have but one question. How does it handle?.
this is what it's all about. a guy takes a car that has next to NO aftermarket support; and just remedies every problem he comes across with old fashioned home built ingenuity and out side the box thinking! the icing on the cake? it's a SVX of all cars!
here's a link to the fb build page....
Always Always wanted to see a modded SVX on speedhunters. thanks Chris. If you ever change color: World Rally Blue. OOYea!
Wow, sweet svx.... Although some people , including me , doesn't really agree with a v8 swap, but you must respect the dude for all the craftmanship that was put in to it! And that style of the car... Here in Lithuania we have phrase "Kovinis Auto" - it means "Fighter Car "! I Just LOVE it!!!
Why do some people feel the need to impose their own views and opinions on to everyone else. grow up and realize that not everyone will agree with you and you are not necessarily right. there is no one way to be a car aficionado, everyone has their own style. this can be seen by just looking at the wide range of cars and gatherings that get shared with us on this site alone. in other words JDMized, please realize that not everyone agrees with your "you must be baller status and buy brand names" comments that is just your opinion and just like a**holes everyone has one. also i find your derogatory use of the term hipster personally offensive. i have a friend that is a hipster and he is a really nice guy, would give even you the shirt off his back if you needed it. also before you start judging people as you have how about you post a link to where we can check out your ride and a photo of you? if your going to judge someone then that person deserves the ability to judge you.
anyways, to the owner of the ride featured above, tip of the hat to you for innovating and trying to do what you have while on a budget. innovation like this should be cultivated and spread to other young individuals.
I have a lot of respect for anyone who is willing to take on a car with little aftermarket support like this. It always means more headache and fabrication time. Good work.
Always love Speedhunters for the most unique builds around the world and this is by far the most unique. Sad that this car never came in manual or no aftermarket support. I could care less about the wheels or brand( I couldn't tell the difference.) and if you read the article again it states he's on a TIGHT BUDGET. Now can we enjoy the ride for what it is?!
On Gran Turismo I remember saving up for one of these using Autumn Ring only. It seemed you couldn't progress much before they disapeared and you couldn't buy them.... What was with that anyway?
I suppose what I want to say is... Tis great to see an SVX :)
If people are tired of your car's set up, don't do it.
Don't be functional, don't do something that is tried and true, just be different. Run illogical, unreliable set ups.
Or keep it stock with whatever it came from the factory from.
That's what I'm learning here.
Great feature, this is what speedhunters is all about. Great to see a tastefully modded svx instead of skyline/silvia/wrx/evo
With all the debate over "knock off" wheels, what do you all consider aftermarket steelies like DRW?
so sick, i did cringe a little when i heard chevy swap but theirs no doubt this thing is 100% original. theirs an SVX in the neighborhood i grew up in and i always wondered why i didnt see more of them and especially more modified so this was really interesting. (automatic, the best way to ruin a sweet car) but on another note uhhhh if your getting rid of that eg33 .. ill take it :) do contact.
Wow this guy deserved the feature with the unique build and great DIY effort! Awesome car and best luck with the new motor setup, I hope its as good as can be, an LS1 would be even better but they do get pricey to do in comparison. I'd love to have an SVX like this, great feature!
I thought Subaru only made the Vortex Coupe before I saw this. The SVX is a very interesting looking car.
Fuck yeah, old style V8. Any pos with a LSx engine won't be able to touch this thing when he's done.
Omitting on purpose the wheel brand leads to to think one thing only. You guys still debate whether it's ok to promote knock off companies or cast them out?
Wow! You need a hug or something.
People go with what is proven. V8s make reliable power. That is why drifters use them in, well, everything.
Those ARE NOT knock-off wheels. They look like GENUINE Centerline Auto Drags. They have been around for years - like since the early to mid 70s.
But really, that shouldn't matter. This gentleman built what he could - to do what he wanted. Don't blast him because of your lack of ability to go out to your garage and do the same.
well thank you for considering my countless hours of time and fab work as lame. and yes all i do car about is knock off wheels. please go do this same build and tell me how long it takes. The new motor is a last update. i had the eg33 in it, blew 2nd gear, also had it boosted, decided on going with torque..sir you are ignorant
@Other Will My friend put a bucket over his to keep them dry, sort of like how big rig trucks do.
@Lastspark POS LSX? did you bump your head while getting out of bed this morning?
Check out these awesome SBC features! 2 or 4 less main bolts, 150 extra lbs, a 23* valve angle, 7 less ignition coils, and a spur gear oil pump! The LSx doesn't have any of that!
Are you one of those people that can't afford genuine-quality parts but wanna look the part? I figured...
@JDMized I hope the debate doesn't end up being left in a dark corner of SH archives. Leaving out knock off companies' names would be a good start to reverse the 'replica' trend. If that's the intention - hats off to you SH. As for the car - it looks surprisingly good with the drift treatment. I'm not a fan of the Chevy V8, but in the face of a complete lack of aftermarket parts for the Subaru six a small block swap is the only reasonable thing to do. I wonder if a Porsche flat six would fit in the engine bay?
@Other Will Why not just drill a small hole in the bottom of the tip?
I remember meeting a bunch of classic TVR drivers once and they all moaned about how their upswept tailpipes filled with water. One put bungs in his, often forgot to take them out when starting.
@BlackJacket @Lastspark I think you did. He said any pos car WITH an lsx could stomp this SVX because the SVX is running an oldschool v8
@JDMized No, I've got two sets of wheels. One cheap knockoff set for the track, and one expensive set for summer and looks (CCW LM20's)....so blow it out your ass, guy. I'll thrash the knockoffs before I ruin my CCW's.
@LS1RX7_owen @BlackJacket @Lastspark Except for the part where if it isn't quite running right, it takes 30 seconds to fix. No computer hookup required, everything is a million times easier to diagnose. You don't need 8 ignition coils, one works perfectly fine, they are engineered to work like that. And the valve angle is perfectly fine, why? Because the heads are engineered to work like that. I would put money on the fact that his engine has the same horsepower as any LSx with the same reliability at half the cost. That is, if he built it right. Which I am guessing he did. And before you go on about weight, did you know that you can get old style V8 blocks in aluminum? And heads? And intake? Holy crap it's like DART or Kieth Black or whoever took the perfectly good old style components and made them better! I'm guessing you didn't know that was possible. Also, the oil pump is perfectly fine. I run a high volume and I have never had a single problem with it. So that argument doesn't even matter. Enjoy having computer problems and spending 9 hours wiring up a car and then trying to figure out what wire is shit out of the 600 feet under the hood alone. I'll be on the track.
@JDMized Even if i was, you are one of those dickheads who sits at the carpark at my local meet spot refusing to hit the touge in your car because you had to get either a loan you couldn't afford to get what you have, or you can't drive, therefore you sit around leering at those of us who drive their shit so hard that buying 'REAL' wheels just isn't economical. Fuck your couch. I don't tune cars to be a badass, i tune them because I love it, and no small minded brand whore such as yourself is going to take that away from me. You are missing the whole point and it's sad.
@KevinLG @JDMized Whoa whoa whoa...not what I meant at all. I was merely commenting on the idea of a flat six Porsche engine conversion. Expensive but awesome:) As far as I'm concerned, I agree with what has been said above; who wants expensive genuine products getting destroyed on track? And as far as looks/style goes it doesn't really matter if it costs $100 or a $1000 bucks as long is it looks right. Expensive cosmetic parts do not make the car, it's all about the feel.
@JDMized I've got a buddy who runs a C-Prepared 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe in SCCA Solo II, and competes nationally. He's running 315 width Hoosier A6's. He's also running XXR's. If they're strong enough for him, they're strong enough for just about everyone. This is one of many people I know who use miscellaneous knock-off wheels for real motorsports, and they're fine.
this is my car..and rotas are cheap, which is the reason theyre on a weekend drift car. I dont feel like marring up an expensive set up rims when replacing tires frequently, going off the track, and possibly hitting things. Thanks to everyone for their compliments and support. Please check out DTR Garage on Facebook and DTR Garage Drift SVX on facebook also.
@KevinLG Because Rota, EMS, XXR and many other shit companies don't make strong wheels!?!?
@JDMized @Mighty_Mite50 I have a cheap ass brand of rims on my BMW called ACR. They look amazing and no big shot company makes the style that I have, except most of ACR stuff is knock off. Maybe if BBS didn't make two kinds of rims, and if Kreigger didn't only make the SS looking rim which is ugly as shit, then I would have bought a name brand rim.
@Mighty_Mite50 thru those years I've stopped tolerating the "but it's expensive and I can't afford better wheels" (or whatever other parts for that matter). I've said it before million times, if you don't have money to purchase a legit product, don't buy anything!!!! As simple as that! Wait until you've got more money, or simply change hobby. There are so many hobbies out there that don't gauge your wallet as much as cars.