The Beating Heart Of Godzilla
All Bets Are Off

If you’re holding an ace card, there are two ways to present it.

You can either keep it up your sleeve, wait for the right moment and let your opponent play into your hands, or you can slam it down on the table straight away, scream “Blackjack” and rake in your winnings. There are no prizes for guessing the approach Austin Barnett’s 2012 Subaru Impreza has taken.


It smashed the table, upset the dealer and there are chips everywhere.


Before we get to the elephant in the room and delve under the imaginary hood, let’s take in the exterior details first. Austin purchased the car brand new from a dealer, but it didn’t take long before he started modifying it to suit his tastes.


The widebody kit came first. The Impreza was bulked up with a MntRider Design widebody kit, adding around eight inches of girth front and rear.


The front fenders are then further modified and accompanied by Carbon Fibre Element front fenders and flares, left with their weave exposed to contrast with the pearl white paintwork.


At the front, a Varis front bumper, custom headlamps and IPF JDM fog lights bring additional aggression…


…while from behind an APR Dodge Viper rear diffuser was modified to fit the Subaru and a Blacktop Aero rear spoiler tops off the look. The car was then coated in a one-off gold pearl white.


Inside, Takata Drift Pro LE seats and harnesses hold you in position and an Agency Power six-point roll cage helps keep the squishy matter inside in one piece, should the worst happen.


A custom carbon-fibre steering wheel, dash and transmission tunnel cover was created by Carbon Fibre Elements for the build. The shift knob and e-brake button are Billetworkz’ own items.


It’s hard to tell from the images, but the steering column, dash, pedal box and seating position have all been altered from stock to take into account the repositioned engine and drivetrain, which called for a re-think of the bulkhead and transmission tunnel.


Ah yes, the engine and drivetrain – Austin decided that he wanted more power and, building the car to coincide with the launch of his new business, Billetworkz, it made sense to do something extreme to grab attention. This, coupled with the desire to keep the Impreza all-wheel-drive made an RB26 swap the obvious choice.

The Ace Card

If you’re reading Speedhunters and don’t know why the legendary Nissan Skyline R34 power plant is so revered, then I’d suggest opening up a new browser window, taking a moment with Google and getting up too speed. We’ll be here when you get back.


Obvious doesn’t mean simple, and Austin tells me that retaining the Nissan AWD system, along with its technical wizardry, was by far the most challenging aspect of the build.


Transplanting a complete engine and drivetrain setup in this manner takes an incredible amount of work, so Austin called in the help of Dave Brown at FAST of West Chester to handle the swap.


To make room for the new inline-six and Nissan drivetrain, Dave created a custom metal work firewall and transmission tunnel. While the welder was to hand, he also completely shaved and tucked the engine bay.


The result is a masterclass in minimalism.


There’s just as much work that has taken place underneath that you can’t see; a custom tubular front subframe was fabricated at FAST along with a custom transmission crossmember, rear subframe and diff mount. For all intents and purposes, everywhere Nissan meets Subaru had to be modified and/or fabricated by hand.


The RB26DETT is no slouch in stock form, but Austin was keen to extract more power out of this potent engine.

Jason Schmuck of Schmuck Built, was called upon to fabricate the piping for the car, from the full exhaust to wastegate dumps, intercooler piping and radiator. Jason also built the piping on Willy Izaguirre’s E21 Batmobile that we also featured recently.


A BorgWarner EFR 9174 twin scroll turbo brings the party, ramming inordinate amounts of boost through the 90mm throttle body and into a Plazmaman intake manifold.


The necessary combustible fluids are supplied by dual AEM 320 E85 fuel pumps and ID2000 injectors overseen by a Zeitronix flex fuel system, while a dry sump oil system keeps everything nicely lubricated and safe from oil starvation when cornering.


The RB26 is powered by a Haltech Platinum Pro ECU, hooked in by a Wiring Specialities harness. The resulting power is a not-too-shabby 713whp and 568tq, along with a sweet six-cylinder symphony to boot.

The Art Of Machine

Austin tells me that it’s a visceral driving experience, not because of the power alone, but because of the cacophony of sounds fighting for your attention – the turbo whistle, the fuel pumps, the dry sump system, the electric steering system all whirring away. That’s without mentioning the roar of the engine and four-foot flames shooting up in your line of sight whilst trying to hold down over 700hp.


Putting the power to the ground at all four corners involves an ATS Triple Carbon clutch and Driveshaft Shop Stage 4 axles and shafts. Austin can then use his Full-Race Motorsports ETS Pro centre diff controller to manually assign power, even allowing for some rear-wheel drive fun, should the fancy take him.


The task of stopping the madness falls to four huge anchors, one at each corner. A Runduce eight-pot front big brake kit and six-pot rear kit are more than up to the task.

A set of gigantic forged Nessen S|7.0 wheels contain the monster stoppers, measuring at 18×12-inches all around. These are wrapped in sticky 315/30 Toyo R888s.


Austin was keen to retain the Impreza’s street drivability whilst building it to be a hit at shows, so air suspension was the logical route to take. A full Air Lift Performance setup is tucked away in the boot, utilising Air Lift Performance’s 3P management system. Up for street, down for shows. Simple.


The build’s not done either – Austin is currently working on a fresh RB26 block, stroked to 2.8-litres, along with a fully built head. He’s aiming for more power and an improved powerband with a view to take the Impreza on track this year.

Who says that show cars can’t be go cars too?

Words by Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters

Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

and Louis Yio
Instagram: lusciousy

Cutting Room Floor


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Audacious styling aside, the build quality is astounding! The engine bay really makes the build. I would say the best car to be featured so far in 2018.


I Agree 100% with you. I think this is more a Promotion Project for him. But he and all who build this beast, has my biggest respect. Great Job Jorden Butters, i love your writing style.


Promoting what tho? His business made the Shift knob and E brake button...... like $100 worth of stuff


I designed and made a lot more parts on the car than just the shift knob and e-brake button. The car wasn't just built to show off the parts I make, the car was built to just gain exposure to my company. Let me ask you a question; have you heard of Billetworkz before reading this article? Maybe you have, but many people haven't. So the point of building this car is very clear, it get's people talking about it and my company, which is exactly what you're doing. So thanks for the exposure!


"Austin decided that he wanted more power and, building the car to coincide with the launch of his new business, Billetworkz, it made sense to do something extreme to grab attention."

Thats insane but today thats standart to build such a big Project for Promotion on SEMA or other Shows


great job. the fenders and wheels are terrible and kill the looks of whole thing IMO. and the firewall sink is shaped kinda hokey :/

Daniel Rabs Jessop

Really? Why comment "great job" then??


if you couldnt detect that as being sarcastic im afraid you might be autistic tbh


You dropped this – /s




I am confused, it feels so wrong and so right in the same time :D


Something just seems off with the photos...maybe too dark?


What is that being used for speedometer?


AIM MXG digital dash


Thanks Austin! Also wanted to thank you again for answering my question last week regarding my shift boot issue. Haha


So, air-ride, and a RB engine. Why not just buy a Skyline and ruin that. Sheesh!


His car, his choices my friend.

Tryon Lippincott

Nicely done, but still stupid. No hood no care. RB is nice, but is a waste in this car.


The car has been street driven without a hood for a year now. Hoods are overrated ;)


Given this was rolled straight from SEMA to the shoot I think we should forgive the lack of hood. Being dismissive of the entire build purely because of this is a bit silly.

Tryon Lippincott

Having an opinion I guess pisses people off around here.


It’s quite hypocritical when you try to say others are “pissed” by your comment, yet you seem to be “pissed” about the lack of hood.

Jordan, it’s too bad people don't understand what a “discussion” is. Either way, thanks for the great article!


This is called a discussion - you present your opinion, I present mine, others present theirs. That’s how this works.


Hardly pissed about it. Just really don't care for the car all together. 95% the cars on this website are great, this one is that other 5%.


And that’s OK.


So i guess this is also still a street car i suppose? And does he just run no hood like that? What does he do when rain drops? And I see a lot of backlash about this car, but I don't see why, it's a unique take on a subaru really.


To be fair, this was shot immediately after SEMA so I'm sure they could run a hood if they want.


No hood isn't really a big deal from a functional perspective. I don't even know if it's illegal.

Not uncommon among muscle car guys.


Oh man no photos of the ex-viper diffuser?


You know how sometimes, you can do everything wrong and still win?

While that might be the philosophy behind the hero of pretty much every single Judd Apatow movie, it really applies here.

This car's got it ALL.

Hatchback? Check.

FOUR-DOOR hatchback? Check.

Clearcoated parts to show off that they're made of carbon fiber? Check.

Clearcoated parts to show off that they're made of carbon fiber INSIDE THE CAR? Check.

No air filter? Check.

Slammed? Check.

Graphics with plural word ending in "Z?" Check.

Wheels with too many spindly little spokes? Check.

BLACK wheels with too many spindly little spokes? Check.

Yet ANOTHER car from California? Check.

And yet, despite that dog pile of cliches - IT'S AWESOME!

Love the exhaust, love the wheel dish, love the RB, love the high-contrast paint scheme.

There's a lot of presence here.


The car is from Pennsylvania, not California ;)



Hellacious drought, I guess.


Speedhunters: Helping to spotlight and ruin Subaru culture 1 vape bro at a time


We are on the look out for a blue Impreza with gold wheels and rally graphics to feature but couldn’t find any. If you know of any let me know personally please - the dream is one with a Scooby Doo toy on the parcel shelf and the owner must own a matching Subaru jacket too. Inspirational sticker with a Colin McRae quote optional.


Listen here wanker, not every Scoob driver is the same but we’re all pretty much unanimous on the fact that vape Bros, air ride, and whatever else done to a Subaru just for the shock factor or “for the haters” is degrading the scene and making Subaru as rice and beans as hondas


Touch a nerve? Funny when someone thinks it’s ok to piss on someone else’s taste but doesn’t like it when someone does it to them. GG




this so so ghey


Opinions welcome, homophobic slurs can jog on.


His opinion is that it was rubbish or weak, not that he was afraid it would touch, you have dictionary and Wikipedia but you just love that crap pc speak the news force feeds your brain.

At about the same time, a new, pejorative use became prevalent in some parts of the world. Among younger speakers, the word has a meaning ranging from derision (e.g., equivalent to rubbish or stupid) to a light-hearted mockery or ridicule (e.g., equivalent to weak, unmanly, or lame). In this use, the word rarely means "homosexual", as it is often used, for example, to refer to an inanimate object or abstract concept of which one disapproves. The extent to which these usages still retain connotations of homosexuality has been debated and harshly criticized.


This isn't the place for that discussion, but should I really have to explain why a word derived from someone’s choice of sexuality, which can mean ‘weak, stupid, unmanly, lame or rubbish’ (as per your description), isn’t cool here? Really?


Well, the word was around long before anyone started using it to describe homosexuality. If it can change its meaning once, it can change again.


On topic though, I feel like I've seen this car get a feature on here before.


lol at all the hate comments ,nice build very unique amount of hours you guys have in this build are probably insane i wish we could see how the drivetrain is setup


The non-painted frond fenders looks out of order, the contrast is disturbing and out of place specially that the rear fenders are painted, the build is already aggressive enough.
Would love to see a hood dropped on top of that bay for track use even if it'll hide the details and also check the track time of that monster which i think is already overpowered and no need for the new engine upgrade.
Hope Mr. Austin will never be afraid of enjoying the build on track and retire it to show car only.
Good luck in the new upgrades.


Insane build, truly awesome. The only thing that doesn’t fit in my opinion is the air suspension. It seems that everything changed on this car was for performance reasons. Combined with air ... unsure.

Still ... insanely cool.

“We’re not worthy”, etc.


Amazing build all round but why not a billet ej? less annoying fab work for make it fit and easier to work to 1000hp. None the less i would drive the crap out of this its so amazing!


A message to the negative keyboard warriors.

This person built their car to suit their dream. The execution is obviously spectacular to be modest about it. Stop nit-picking this masterpiece just because it's "not how you would do it ".


Nothing wrong with saying you really like a build apart from x or y.

Saying you would do some things differently while still having loads of respect for what it is now *is* possible, you know?

There's more colours out there than black and white.


Congrats Austin! Thanks Larry, Louis and Jordan for the feature.


Wow, now there's a build for ya!
Power of the Skyline in a smaller AWD package? I'd give it a go!
Aside from the air ride, this one really tops it for the opening of 2018. Keep em coming guys & tip of my cap to the owner/builder.


This is an amazing build, very creative drivetrain and interior; a lot of attention to all of the details, of course, lots of money went into this. I get riveting a flare on an existing steel body panel. But riveting a custom flare on a custom panel? why not go the extra minute and make it all one piece for the fender and one piece for the bumper? Cheapens the total esthetic for me.


I fully appreciate the crazy amount of fab work that went into this, its beautifully done.

But why not machine a billet ej block and heads if you own a machining company? Wouldn't that show your skills as a craftsman and show of your companies abilities a bit better than just a swap?


I guess the main goal with this was to make a lot of noise about his business, so the RB26 was the right call there. Don't get me wrong, a billet EJ would have been awesome, but it wouldn't have grabbed headlines like this.


Wasn't this featured last year?


Great job on the words my friend.
I'd like to first say that i've seen this car on many other sites but I am so happy SH did a feature on it. However, the thought of how much time and money went into this car gives me a headache lol Im glad this dude got to build the car he wanted but man so much work! but honestly this is a great car and I have to commend him for his hard work. GREAT JOB BUDDY!
Secondly, BUTTERS!! i've been seeing your Audi on instagram and its a rolling work of art. I hate that we never got that car here in the states AND from time to time I see the regular A3 wagons and love how beautiful they look but I want something thats stick and awd. from my understanding we did'nt get anything like that here in the states am i right????
If I am right then I was thinking of getting a bmw e91 wagon as my next car.


I thoroughly enjoy the use of Jordan's surname in this comment. He LOVES it when people call him by that. Please continue to do so at all times.


Thomas is the only one that gets away with it.


If I ever see you in real life I'm going to yell "BUTTERS!!" and give you a big hug. LOL I hope Archie is with you too :D


i love the engineering that went into this.

Any chance you guys would do a feature on what would be involved with converting a RWD chassis to AWD
This car or any other car planning on doing so in the future.


I shouldn't but I really like this. Pleased it is 4 wheel drive too! Sounds like a load of fun. The exhaust out of the bonnet is my only point of contention.

Great pictures and write up!


Haha. He's using SMC KQ2 fittings for his BOV. that's a unique way to use them...


Crazy build. Where did the headlight assembly come from? I would like those on my WRX


Monster of a car. Absolute monster.

Question though. What does billetworkz do? This was built as a demo car, but the only billetworkz parts are a shift knob and e-brake button?


Another Delaware Valley/Tri-State legend; getting proper respect. We've got some of the hottest cars in the country on the northeast, despite our shit tier roads.


Difuser pics, I went back through the pic looking for more back end pictures.. but found none

Incredible job, unbelievable amount of work and details... kudos !
it’s not everyone’s cup o tea, but at least respect the work !