Why spend $5000 to $10,000 on a used beat up WRX when you could pickup any Subaru chassis and make your own for much less!
The above video shows Matt Farah driving the end result after I started out with a beat up $600 Impreza and ended up with a 230 horsepower AWD beast of a car.
Why not just buy the cheap WRX?
It’s for sale for a reason, it’s been beaten half to death! I spend a lot of time looking for used Subaru’s on the internet and your average WRX peddler thinks their car contains an actual part of Colin McRae’s soul. I understand this logic, these cars are highly sought after and they hold their value well, especially in winter states. The fact remains that it will take some kind of miracle if this used WRX makes it 6 months without needing a new turbo, heads, shortblock, or all of the above. It may well have transmission issues from vape-in-hand bang shifting 3rd gear repeatedly at WOT.
So I should just get grandmas non turbo 2.5?
Yes! Even if your immediate plans are to drive it as-is, most NA Subaru’s are underrated capable machines. If you’re willing however, going the extra mile and doing an engine and drivetrain swap will turn any Subaru model into something fantastically good with little more than taking off some bolts, and putting some different ones on.
Lets take a look at the benefits:
- Very small out of pocket costs as parts are cheap and common across many Subaru models.
- No welding required, no matter the engine you choose.
- Potential to have the torque of an H6 or that high RPM pull of a turbo.
- Your chance to finally learn the depths of the automobile.
- When it does go wrong you will know how to fix it.
But the head gaskets will go bad!
All the more reason to swap to a turbo engine or an H6 which never had this issue. While you’re at it, get new gaskets for the engine going in just to be safe.
Now we’re all different here. Just because I enjoy taking an economy car and bolting on some stuff from a different economy car does not mean this will sound like a good idea to everyone. For example if you’ve never waxed or detailed your own car, you probably can’t be bothered to open the hood. If you’ve never went to a track day because you may have to replace your brake pads, this might not be your thing.