Tex Modify and I go way back.
In the early 1990s, car ownership in Japan seemed like a distant goal for me. At that time, I was tinkering with 50cc scooters and dreaming about 125cc 2-stroke sports bikes. But during my travels in Ibaraki, I’d often pass by Tex Modify, seeing a wide variety of interesting cars parked out front and wondering what it was all about. As it turned out, it was this tuning shop that gave me a window into a whole new world. I traded JDM motorcycle magazines for Option, and started visiting Daikoku PA. The rest is history.
During the early ’90s, Tex Modify was predominantly tuning for zeroyon, or 0-400m drag racing. Quarter-mile performance was the flavor of the era, and the man behind Tex Modify, Ooki-san, turned his hand to everything from Mitsubishi Galants to R30 and R31 Nissan Skylines to S30Zs and smaller machines like Pulsars and Toyota Starlets.
Over the years, the tuning direction shifted, moving away from drag racing and embracing drifting. The Tex Modify name can be found behind many iconic Japanese pro drift car builds, including Kazuhiro Tanaka’s bright orange D1 Grand Prix Silvia S15. And Ooki-san has played a part in pretty much every Team Orange build since.
Away from motorsports, Ooki-san kept up with the times and embraced a well-rounded grip setup just as much as anything else. Which brings us to this, the Tex Modify Progress GDB Impreza WRX STI, one of the most aggressive street-going GDBs ever built in Japan.
It all starts with a gigantic Progress snout/scoop atop the hood, which kind of gives the Impreza a muscle car vibe. Except, it isn’t there to feed any sort of intake.
Popping the CFRP hood – which Ooki designed and had M-Sports, the maker of the rest of the wide-body aero conversion create, reveals the heart of the build. In classic Tex Modify fashion, it’s completely performance and function focused.
That scoop I just mentioned feeds air across the core of the top-mounted Progress oil cooler (a Trust GREX unit) which is additional to another cooler mounted behind the front bumper.
The EJ207 STI engine has been rebuilt around a fully balanced stock crankshaft mated to JUN Auto 100mm forged pistons that stretch capacity out to 2,487cc. Ported and polished cylinder heads feature JUN Auto 272-degree cams with a massive 10.3mm of lift, while Tomei Powered 1.5mm metal head gaskets keep the 1.8bar (26.5psi) of boost generated by the Garrett GTX3582R turbocharger contained. That boost is controlled by a Turbosmart CompGate40 wastegate, while exhaust gasses exit via a Trust PE-TiR titanium system.
You might have noticed that the signature STI red ‘spider’ intake manifold is gone and in its place sits a larger capacity JUN plenum that was originally designed to more smoothly distribute the intake charge in D1GP drift cars. It fits in rather well with this application.
Fuel supply is handled by a pair of Tomei 280lph pumps and a set of Blitz 800cc/min injectors controlled by an HKS F-CON V Pro engine management system. The HKS Twin Power module intensifies coil voltage, again in a move to bring more efficiency into the combustion chambers.
With 600hp on tap, the driveline has been toughened up with an ORC triple-plate clutch which also sports a lighter flywheel. The 6-speed transmission and rear end remains unchanged, as does the center diff, but to help juggle the torque and aid traction when coming out of corners a Cusco 1-way LSD has been fitted up front.
Suspension-wise, GReddy Type-S coilovers with 6kg/mm front and 14kg/mm rear Swift springs and electronic control for damping are used. But to get things really dialed in, pillow-ball upper mounts have been added. This tightens up slack in the steering and general handling while the Cusco sway bars – adjustable at the rear – keep roll in check.
D2 Racing 8-pot front calipers join 6-pot rears of the same brand, all biting down on 356mm slotted 2-piece rotors.
Despite the black paint and copious amount of exposed carbon fiber, one look at this car was all it took to conjure up images of Tanaka’s old Team Orange D1GP GDB. Shooting it certainly brought back memories of the days I regularly reported on the D1 series.
There’s another reason the car as a whole might look familiar to you – this aesthetic package ended up being integrated into the variety of aero options that Need for Speed offers for the GDB. Pretty cool, right?
From the Voltex Type-2 carbon fiber GT wing to the Progress front splitter and bumper canards, this build just screams ‘track weapon’ to me. I’m a real fan of how the carbon aero parts have been painted in a way that they seemingly fade into the metal body panels.
My favorite detail has to be the fender-flared Progress overfenders, where extra width has resulted in even more space for a meatier wheel and tire combo. Check out the fuel filler solution too.
Ultimately though, it all comes down to fitment. Helping that cause are Enkei RS05RRs in an 18×10.5-inch fitment, shod with 295/30R18 Dunlop Direzza ZIII rubber at all four corners.
Ooki-san’s approach to tuning has always been about keeping things accessible and getting results without overcomplicating things or letting costs spiral out of control. It should always be a reasonable trade off between cost and performance.
That approach meant making an important decision – keeping the car a four-seater or ditching the rear passenger bench for added focus.
Yep, focus won out. Doing away with the rear seat and the need for rear door access has allowed for an extensive bolt-in roll cage.
The cabin is dotted with all the right additions, including Bride and Recaro seats, a KEY’S Racing steering wheel on a Works Bell snap-off hub, and a bunch of gauges and electronic modules from the likes of GReddy, HKS, Defi and A’PEXi.
I was very happy that I had a chance to return all the way up to Ibaraki to shoot away at this car, but at the same time I am now extremely sad as Tex Modify has since moved and I never got a chance to do a proper shop tour of what in my opinion remains the best and most authentic Japanese tuning outfit in its original location.
All is not lost though. Ooki-san’s operation is now slightly inland, closer to Honda’s Twin Ring Motegi circuit, with better access to the Tohoku Expressway. This move makes total sense, as these days he spends most of his time mapping and setting up cars for Powervehicles and Team Orange at Ebisu Circuit. The next time I’m up that way, I’ll be sure to drop by.
Dino Dalle Carbonare