The Ripsnorting, Anti-Lagging<br />Speed Industries Impreza
A Childhood Love Affair

Growing up in India, I never really had a chance to follow motorsport at any level. Despite this I idolised World Rally Championship legends. With what little coverage that was on the government-backed Doordarshan channels, I remember sitting glued to the TV screen every time the WRC highlights were on. I never really understood the technicalities of rallying and its special stages back then, all I concentrated on was the amazing cars – especially the blue 555 Imprezas being piloted by the late legends, Richard Burns and Colin McRae, as they darted across the landscape leaving a plumes of dust in their wake.


Do you remember the time when you first saw a car and immediately started to lust over it? It’s that unshakeable sense of wanting to own one someday, no matter what. When I first saw Speed Industries’ WRC replica GC8 Subaru Impreza coupé at one of their Nordschleife track days five years ago, all those childhood memories came flooding back.


It was the same boxy shape I remember sketching on the back of my maths book in school; the same proportionately-oversized wheels; the classic hood and roof vent and trademark big wing.


The GC8 belongs to Tobias, a close friend of mine who runs the Speed Industries trackday collective based in Zurich, Switzerland. Long time Speedhunters readers might even remember stories on a couple of their past events.


Back then I didn’t have a driver’s license, so I swallowed my desires and admired the car as a spectator. Even if I had a license, Tobi would have never let me drive it anyway – this is his baby after all. Eventually, those wishes and desires were relegated into the back of my mind.


Fast forward half a decade, to a couple of weeks ago when I was scouting for interesting cars to shoot. I remembered that Tobias had put his car up for sale a year ago, but on the off-chance that he still had it I gave him a call.


To my pleasant surprise, the GC8 was still very much in his possession and we arranged to meet a couple of days later in Zurich. Tobi said he knew a cool location nearby, so once I arrived we headed out with me following in my E46 Touring diesel. We drove up an amazing stretch of mountain road, where I mostly struggled to keep up with him, but eventually reached the top.


Tobi quickly gave me a walkaround of the car and showed and explained to me the switches that control the alcohol injection and anti-lag system, which I’ll touch more upon shortly. We hung out for a bit and then Tobias just threw me the keys and pointed to the far side of the hill where he said I’d fine some really epic driving roads.


I’m pretty sure I yelped – but probably in a frequency that only dogs and bats can hear. But there I was, standing next to one of my dream cars, keys in hand, with clear instructions to go and have some fun.


After Tobi disappeared down the road in my car, I sat alone in the Impreza wondering if I was dreaming. I don’t want to exaggerate this, but being allowed to get behind the wheel of someone else’s private car – let alone encouraged to give it a good ol’ thrashing – is something that very rarely happen in Europe.

Meeting Your Hero

Looking around, one of the things I first noticed was that I couldn’t adjust the passenger side mirror from where I was sitting. Why? Because this GC8 was originally a right-hand drive car that was converted to left-hand drive. The original doors fixtures still remain, so as far as mirror adjustment was concerned, I was on the passenger side.


The leather-wrapped deep dish steering wheel with the center marker from OMP jutted out in my face, just like in a racecar.


Seats are pukka Prodrive WRC fixed-back buckets by Sparco, flanked by OMP four-point harnesses. In fact, these very seats are the actual ones that held Gilles Panizzi and in his co-driver in place during their WRC tenure with Prodrive.


Both the dashboard and door panels are flocked in a velvet-like spray coating to minimize reflections on the windshield on a sunny day. It comes in handy when you’re flying across narrow country roads with barely any room to take evasive action should the need arise.


Imprezas of this generation are quite boxy to start with, but this particular car takes it up a notch. The front and rear fenders were custom fabricated from steel, and in this – its final form – Tobi’s GC8 is even wider than the ultra rare, and highly sought after Impreza STI 22B!


As tacky it might be, my inner child simply loves a roof scoop. Every car I ever modified in Need for Speed Undergound had one.


Once you have a blue Subaru and you’re aiming for a rally look, wheel color choice is pretty much restricted to one: gold.


Timeless Yokohama ADVAN Type RGII wheels measuring 18×9-inch were chosen for this project. As the car sees a lot of track use, their staunch dimensions and strong yet lightweight construction is put to good use.


Toyo R888s – the beloved semi slick of trackday regulars – are used at all four corners in a 255/40R18 fitment.


As for scrubbing speed, Brembo callipers sourced from a 2003 WRX STI combined with cross-drilled two-piece Performance Friction discs and Endless CCX pads provide a solid stopping setup at the front.


Something I noticed after my first few corners – and appropriately so for a rally-bred machine like this – is the lack of ABS, so you really have to feel the road under braking as to not overcook it and wear the tires square.


No Impreza is complete without a scoop and vents in the hood to draw in cool air and expel hot air, and this one is no different.


Except the scoop is pretty much redundant now that a large HKS intercooler has been mounted up front.


The engine itself has been fully rebuilt using an 2.0L STI block and heads as a base, and an EcuTek ECU upgrade gives the firing orders. To reduce the chances of pre-ignition and knocking, a water/methanol injection system has been added with activation via a flick-switch on the dashboard.


With a Syms header and VF34 turbocharger in the mix, 397hp and 510Nm of all-wheel torque is produced.


The combusted gases find their way out through a full 3-inch exhaust system from Trust; the signature boxer engine rumble punctuated with pops and crackles on every overrun.


The drivetrain comes from a 2003 JDM-spec WRX STI with a close-ratio 6-speed gearbox complete with DCCD. An HKS triple-plate race clutch has also been added – a bold choice for car that also sees plenty of street use. I found that it was often easier to drive off with wheelspin than to do a proper smooth start for the risk of stalling.


Fully adjustable Tein Mono Flex coilovers allow the car to be set up for a variety of different track or road conditions.

We Have Boost!

With the sun slowly heading downwards and most of my images in the bag, I decided to pay some attention to this little switch on the centre console. Hello anti-lag…


What it essentially does is dump a bunch of fuel behind the turbo, which combusts instantaneously from the heat. This small explosion keep the turbo spooled up when the engine’s not delivering enough exhaust gas to do so, giving you boost at a twitch of the throttle pedal.


In real life this translates to instant throttle response and all of the power at your whim and fancy. Oh yes, #WeHaveBoost!


The hour or so I spent behind the wheel of the Speed Industries Impreza were the most frantic I’ve ever experienced. I discovered some tarmac rally special stage roads where the car just metamorphosed into a ripsnorting beast that simple chewed up and spat out corner after corner with immaculate four-wheel grip.


And eventually when the tarmac gave way to gravel, I got the full-on rally experience. For a few moment the inner 8-year-old in me pretended to be Colin McRae. I may or may not have given a couple of those peaceful Swiss cows heart attacks from the shotgun-like bangs from the exhaust…


A full tank of high-octane fuel later, I was completely in love with this real life Matchbox car. The speed, the sounds, the looks – it ticks all the right boxes for me. In a way, it’s a true shame that this was the last Impreza ever sold in coupé form.


I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this chance to drive one of my all time favourite cars. What are your automotive first loves? Please share them in the comments section below!

Alok Paleri
Instagram: rennworksmedia

Cutting Room Floor


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Absolute Impreza perfection; the two door GC8 World Rally Cars just look that little bit harder than the 22B's, love it (I hope there is a proper roof vent under that scoop though!). 
As for automotive first love: its the Impreza! First saw one around the age of 14, sideways (in the hands of some bloke called Colin) with anti-lag on full chat... would dearly love to sample one of the first generation Impreza World Rally Cars myself: this looks like the next best thing!


I haven't researched this at all, but is there a way to run antilag without it eating turbos all the time?


I first fell in love with a car in the 9th grade coming home from high school to a 911 Porsche (that was in 1992). It was red, so small and the wheels were huge I thought at the time. Soon after that, I fell for a S-Class W116, a white one, 350 SEL, with AMG wheels and AMG bonnet (the one with two longitudinally humps like in SLK). Too bad that I cant see that on the road anymore.


This car is probably my favorite Subaru bodystyle, It's a nice, compact little city-sized coupe with big scoops and lights, and it's a lot "pointier" than a modern car.

It also illustrates something I've been saying for a long time - cars this small should be coupes, not sedans. 

The vehicle just doesn't have enough raw size to allow for good, flowing lines in the bodywork.

A coupe works well at this scale. Sedans, on the other hand, look like attempts to stuff ten pounds into a five-pound bag. 

And that's coming from a guy who loves the Evo VIII and IX. 

It's good to see this particular bodystyle getting some coverage. The small coupe is too rare these days.


Few cars pull off the wide box fender look as well as the GC8. This one checks all the right boxes in my book.


AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! :D  Just perfect. Is there a video of this beauty in motion?

I didn't know panizzi was with prodrive...99 monte carlo.  

My automtoiv first love was (and still is) Lancia S4. I wish one day I will have a chance to drive one :)

Gianluca FairladyZ

Another beast from Switzerland!!!! We need more legends like this in our country!!!!! Love the 22B!!! Great post Alok!!!


The best Impreza gen!!


Beautiful Subie.

Anyone know why the camber plates are positioned diagonally?  Simultaneous camber and caster adjustment?


evos evos evos evos evos evos evos (5,7 and 9)


Great impreza ...and now you need to do a session on speed industries AE86.

David Johansson Superior

j_tso yepp. I have it set up the same on my GC8 Type R. The GC8 body needs a lot of caster.


econti Not really unfortunately, interestingly, the car is using one of Subaru's smaller turbos which most people upgrade, so you can get these turbos very cheap and it becomes a consumable.

David Johansson Superior

You forgot to mention that the dashboard is from a new age impreza. Also the speedo and all.

David Johansson Superior

You forgot to mention that the dashboard is from a new age impreza. Also the speedo and all.


Great car... but it's a subaru! #EVO!


Great car... but it's a subaru! #EVO!


You scared the Milka cow! 
Love the Scooby but I miss those big fog lights, looks weird without them.


Which AE86 one are you talking about?


Amazing car! Perfect!


Alok, you have found my dream car too. I was always in love with the 22B. This car also sports my favorite wheels with a killer total package. Love, love, love it! Awesome work!


Honestly, this body style of the Subie was something I instantly fell in love with as a child. Hours of playing Gran Turismo and admiring the track and rally capabilities always made it stand out as a well rounded rumbling machine, I've always loved the STI wagons of this style too. Super jealous that you were able to enjoy this re-imagined machine, must have been an intense feeling of #joyofmachine !


Also forgot to mention how damn beautiful the classic blue/gold is, timeless Subaru look.


EvolveWRC Yeah, a pair of fog lamp covers would really finish the front end off:


Yeah its a Subaru. Lots of potential, fast,tons of aftermarket support and they look damn good too! They are not overpriced, or made by a television company. Plus the impreza is still gonna be in production once the last evo rolls of the line. I'm just saying


j_tso They may be from a GD chassis instead of a GC.  The 3 mounting holes are rotated slightly between the two chassis.  I bought GD camber plates for my GC so I could adjust the caster along with the camber.


j_tso They may be from a GD chassis instead of a GC.  The 3 mounting holes are rotated slightly between the two chassis.  I bought GD camber plates for my GC so I could adjust the caster along with the camber.


@LouisYio  lol, the XP wallpaper was actually taken by Charles O'Rear north of San Francisco in 1996, I rather think the hills of Switzerland look even better!


The dash board is 1993 ver 1... The speed cluster is new age Subaru and most likely has a 2002 GD wiring job.
It's cut corner to wiring in the original dash cluster.


Great article. Takes me back to when I got to drive an evo for the first time. Now I'm lucky enough to own. One thing that genuinely frustrates me is how much Subaru and Mitsubishi alike have deviated from the simplicity and connectivity of the older GC8 and CP9A chassis. To me these were the peak in the evolution and everything their after was compromised via an amalgamation of weight care of "luxury" or tech marketing like appointments. Cars like this are are already cult classics in my eyes and clean examples will be sought after in the years to much like how E30's are today.


Great article. Takes me back to when I got to drive an evo for the first time. Now I'm lucky enough to own. One thing that genuinely frustrates me is how much Subaru and Mitsubishi alike have deviated from the simplicity and connectivity of the older GC8 and CP9A chassis. To me these were the peak in the evolution and everything their after was compromised via an amalgamation of weight care of "luxury" or tech marketing like appointments. Cars like this are are already cult classics in my eyes and clean examples will be sought after in the years to much like how E30's are today.


I've got both the Speed Industries AE86s in my sights :)


The odometer on the GC's were digital?


@zz  Looks like the cluster was changed to a newer model STI.


@zz the 98-01 odometer is digital, yes


@zz the 98-01 odometer is digital, yes


chrisMmarino Dope!! I need to sell my GC soon… But that’s drool worthy…


Love it! Good call on the steel fenders and not the plastic stuff! 
Car is truly a masterpiece to itself. Definitely a car to look into for a future project.


Love it! Good call on the steel fenders and not the plastic stuff! 
Car is truly a masterpiece to itself. Definitely a car to look into for a future project.


natums project car!


The stance of that car is awesome, it has so much presence, I love it!!



Damn you AlokPaleri , You have been getting some serious bangers recently!


Oddly enough, my automotive first love was my dad's 89 GMC Sierra. Not that impressive, but I have so many great memories of burnouts and Van Halen cassettes.


@tom LOL, sure, they don't make Televisions like Mitsu's parent company, but the 16% Toyota ownership makes sure that Fuji Heavy Industries spends plenty of resources on making robot vacums and Polaris snowmobiles.

If I could stop driving my dream car like an idiot trying to see when I loose grip during cornering speeds, my Evo X would be worth more than the equivalent STI of the same year.

BTW the imp and the lancer are still going to continue, just the STI and EVO are going to have a long goodnight. Evo just curtsied first.

... but then again, I never thought the Challenger would ever come back either... fingers crossed!


Awesome car! Pretty much my dream vehicle. You guys did a great job covering the details!


AlokPaleri when i saw that switch on the center console i just fort of Scarface and was i like say hello to my little friend. plus great article keep it up :)


Nice article, always an interesting experience to get to drive something you've dreamed about for years.
For me it was the Japanese rh9 gtr's and at the start of this year I got the chance to drive a friends r32 gtr of suitably silly spec, built rb26, t51r spl turbo, e85, 9500rpm...


Alok, can u tell us how the steering was converted? Was it welded? Or was a new lhd steering column installed?


Well, I've been pretty loyal to the car you see in my avatar, the AE86 Toyota Corolla/Sprinter. Like all AE86 fanboys, I learned about the car through Initial D, but still I was a toddler back when I first watched the series... I kind of hated it though, when I learned it was really underpowered(GT4 era)
I quickly gained respect for the car again when I watched the Hot Version Touge Showdowns... That was wicked, didn't know how it happened, but my love for the car grew again, this time with the respect it deserves.


Dang, that must have been so much fun!


We converted it with a LHD column. Pretty straight forward this way.


David Johansson Superior Your car is stunning! I love white subies so much, and not only subies, all Japanese cars look awesome in white. The build is perfect too, it must be very tight to drive around corners  :) :) .


Awesome to see some Subaru coverage on here! Love the classic blue with gold look! Would have been awesome to drive aggressively!

turbo BEAMS ae86

theomaralvarado not all ae86 fan seen initial d..still never seen it..XD


Its nice to see a Subaru AND a car thats not slammed to the ground. Just about perfect.


AlokPaleri Thank you :)


For me, my childhood dream car has always been the Honda NSX. I feel in love with it after watching old Best Motoring videos where it would whip the butt of the mighty Nissan Skyline GT-Rs, Toyota Supras and occasionally the Ferraris. It also helps that my favourite car maker is Honda. :)


Funny how here in switzerland we call subarus "farmers porsche" (at least the first gen legacy).


There is not nearly enough Subaru content on Speedhunters, so I thank you for your feature on an impressive build with some drool worthy pictures!


*remembers he has NFS:UG1 ISO's somewhere in computer. Burns to disk immediately. Puts useless roof scoops on everything.*


@turbo BEAMS ae86 theomaralvarado its on netflix man. super corny lol


RMutt preach! 
Its like in the lsat 10-20 years these cars that were lauded for being straight-forward are saturated with "tech marketing" pieces. Its as if its not an analogue experience anymore with newer cars in general, if that makes sense.


Kirk_B I always thought the Evo was just a cooler ride. I've seen one beat the other and vice versa, so for me I've always like the evo.

I didn't know they were BOTH forever discontinued though, so that's a surprise to me.


wow, someone is really really good at finding and choosing epic locations!! Perhaps all the dream drives help with scouting? Would love to know where this is


It's a little Swiss town called Einsiedeln by the Silsee lake.


Hmm... nearly 300kw ATW from a VF34? Not convinced.


Love it!!! Do you guys plan to cover the Roger Clark Motosport GC8?


I can relate to this article so much -  my first car love was also a rally spec Subaru Impreza, based on a remote controlled version I had. I used to race it round while watching the highlights of the WRC. I was into cars before then, but I always credit that little toy Subaru with starting off an obsession.

This car is incredible. I saw the teaser photos on Instagram, and I was not disappointed. Thanks for sharing!


Praise the lord. Proper Speedhunting. Epic location Alok!


AlokPaleri awesome, thanks!


This is an impressive car!


Im Subaru Obsessed! While the BRZ is a great coupe it is too bad that they don't make the Impreza like this anymore. Hopefully we will see that SVX remake concept soon.


*Throws wallet at the screen... picks up girlfriend* =P


The best model that Subaru ever produced!


Ben Chandler Thanks Ben, Switzerland never disappoints :)


Ben Chandler Thanks Ben, Switzerland never disappoints :)


Early automotive loves for me were Porsche 911's and later the original Dodge Viper GTS. Eventually moved on to Japanese performance cars and have now owned several of those (Subies and rotary Mazdas). One of my favourite cars I've driven tho remains my best mate's GC WRX. Man we used to drive each others cars all the time and I always loved the hell out of that car.


Great car, killer pictures!


This car is still for sale.
Unfortunately it does not get driven enough and we are no museum.
If you are seriously interested then drop us a mail on 
The car does not come cheap though and if no one takes it AlokPaleri and we will have some more good drives on nice roads and racetracks. So please no silly offers.


only thing missing from this is some videos...!


There you go


There you go


What spray was used to flock the dash?


First Love will always linger in you heart... Get the car!... You'll never regret it for sure...

Stepan Familijaskryta

I drew a picture of this car. for sale) Instagram: stepan.olv

Stepan Familijaskryta

I drew a picture of this car. for sale)