Choosing which cars to feature or spotlight here on Speedhunters isn’t the easiest of tasks.
While it makes ample sense to carve out space for purpose-built race cars, genre-bending drift cars, drool-worthy restomods and top-dollar exotics, too much of those and the site becomes a little hard to relate to.
Don’t get me wrong, as someone who reads Speedhunters daily, I enjoy the extremes, but I also appreciate vehicles I can connect with. You know, the one’s that start on a common chassis, are put together with a modest budget, and don’t have a mod list which is a mile in length.
After all, modified street cars are what separate us from them. Them in this case being the general public, who are perfectly fine shuttling around in nondescript utility vehicles.
These complacent folks will eventually become the pod people, while the rest of us hold on tightly to our manually-driven cars. But I digress, thankfully we’re at least a few years off from the machine, and inevitable Skynet takeover.
Richi Bautista’s bug-eye Subaru Impreza WRX is anything but nondescript. At the same time, it’s also not gratuitously over the top. Like so many warm bowls of oats, it’s just right.The Piped Piper
The Subaru bug bit Mr. Bautista around age 12, and it only took a single bug-eye encounter.
Bug-eye Imprezas are a pretty easy generation of Subaru to fall for when you think about it; their aggressive styling and capable performance pairs well with an unmistakable exhaust note. World Rally Blue also has to be one of the most recognizable colors to ever come out of a production line spray gun.
Richi’s interest in cars beyond a tool for transportation came courtesy of his father who constantly imported a variety of vehicles from the United States to El Salvador where they grew up. Much like the rest of us, Richi also amassed a fairly healthy collection of Hot Wheels diecasts.
Humble beginnings, but beginnings not unlike many car enthusiasts around the globe.
This love for cars eventually led Richi to photography, and today he’s a photographer for Mercedes-Benz of Boston. However, being surrounded by three-point stars from nine-to-five wasn’t enough to distract him from the goal of owning a rally-bred WRX.Made To Enjoy
Subaru did a great job with the overall design of the second-gen Impreza, and for quite some time Richi was more than content with the generously-proportioned factory lines. A fan of the versatility that comes with a more track-styled street car, aggressive camber and speed bump ‘lows’ were omitted in favor of a more usable ride height. Fit with a different set of RAYS Volk Racing TE37s, the Subaru proved to be a great street car and occasional track toy.
As is often the case, wheels and a drop proved to be the gateway to more, and eventually Richi wanted something a little more aggressive while still being functional.
ABW Motorsport 80mm flares now house 18×11-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37V Mark-IIs and hefty 285/30 Federal RS595 rubber at all four corners. Finished in classic Volk Racing bronze and complemented by bold red and yellow tire lettering, the wheels look right at home under the uniquely-designed fiberglass flares.
According to Richi, the TE37Vs took over a year to arrive, and adjusting the flares to fit wasn’t as straight forward as one might assume. But as I’m sure you can agree, the resulting fitment was worth the both the wait and trouble.
With the flares finally fit, the rest of the car also needed some distinction injected into it, and up front a JUN bumper has been installed along with JDM headlights. Beneath the bumper an APR splitter has been attached, and between the stainless steel support rods is a black-finished Blitz intercooler.
The intercooler is the most visible of a succinct list of performance modifications. Invidia up and down pipes have been installed, along with an HKS exhaust, COBB 1050x fuel injectors, and a tune to round out the driveline modifications.
At the rear of the car the OEM WRX wing has been propped up with risers, and far beneath a carbon fiber RE Amemiya diffuser has been adapted to fit.Closing The Deal
As it sits, Richi is quite happy with the car. He’s got his eyes on a few more performances mods to bump up the overall output, but he also has his eyes on a 911. Before any more modifications to the WRX, he plans to put the car back on a track, a place where it hasn’t been since his first year of ownership.
There he intends to see if wider is indeed better. Then maybe it will be time to see what the Porsche hype is all about…
Photography by Keiron Berndt