Having worked at Sydney's C&V Performance for more than a year, Paul Zervos got sick of building killer Rexes and watching them disappear out the door - where was the reward in that? It's no surprise, therefore, that Paul soon decided to treat his personal MY00 WRX to the whole performance enchilada.
Before knuckling down and getting really serious, the car was already made into "a great street car" with a substantial 190kW at the wheels; a power level many people aim to one day achieve... This 80-odd percent power gain came from the fitment of a 3-inch mandrel exhaust, a K&N pod filter inside the guard, a front-mount intercooler, VF22 turbo and a UniChip. Plenty of boost was also a key aspect of the 190kW ATW output, but when the VF22 turbo unexpectedly broke Paul decided it was as good a time as any to get stuck into things on a larger scale.
With big power forthcoming, the EJ20 quad-cam flat-four was fitted with a billet stroker crank from Japan (stretching the cc count from 2000 to 2200), CP forged pistons (with a secret compression ratio), Carillo rods and a stud kit. The whole engine has been blueprinted and oh-so carefully assembled by Paul; as he says, "we've done a few Rexes now, but I knew this was always going to be a big one..."
The standard cast iron exhaust manifold was discarded to fit a set of custom tubular extractors, which feed each 550cc putt to a Turbonetics T66 roller-bearing turbocharger. Side by side with the big turbo is an equally large external wastegate - a 55mm XTR unit. Exhaust gasses are channelled through a giant 3 ½-inch mandrel exhaust system - not much backpressure there!
Compressed induction air is handed to a custom front-mount bar-and-plate 'cooler that's squeezed in behind the standard front bumper (a larger version than the FMIC fitted to the car in its VF22 stage). A TurboSmart atmospherically venting blow-off valve is installed on the pipe route to the engine, while a K&N pod filter can be found in the right-hand side of the engine bay - "it was too big to fit inside the guard" explains Paul.
The existing UniChip mated to the factory Subaru management system was fine for coping with relatively modest bolt-on mods, but the "crazy engine" called for nothing less than full aftermarket programmable management - an EMS. The EMS is wired to a MAP sensor (negating the need for the potentially restrictive factory airflow meter) and excites a set of monster 850cc injectors. Fuel is pushed to these fire hoses by three fuel pumps - twin Bosch Motorsport mumps and a pick-up pump that feeds a surge tank. A surge tank is an effective safeguard against fuel starvation during hard launches and cornering.
But fuel and air isn't all that gets rammed down this EJ20's throat.
Paul has installed a 20/30 horsepower nitrous kit, which is mounted just prior to the throttle body; a switch on the dashboard is used to activate the system. Paul says that "in street trim" (running 15 psi boost, Shell Optimax and a 20hp nitrous shot) the car kicks out 280kW at all four wheels, but "in race trim" (with more boost, C16 race fuel and a slightly larger 30hp nitrous shot) it's up in the clouds at 345kW at the wheels. And for those people into flywheel figures - extrapolating the standard driveline loss of around 40 percent - we're talking between 450 and 500kW! Con and the rest of the team at C&V can be credited with the fine engine tune and nitrous set-up.
A big dose of torque isn't greeted too well by the factory Subaru 5-speed 'box, so Paul went the way of a treat-it-rough dog box. The next weakest link in the driveline chain - the axles - were improved with billet jobs featuring heavy-duty CV joints. Driveline slip is eliminated thanks to a twin-plate brass button clutch.
Just a couple of days prior to our photo shoot Paul received the car back from the spray booth, where it had been draped with a fresh coat of paint - it's very similar to the original colour, except there's a hint of pearl for individuality. A collection of STi badges and stickers were yet to be slapped back on; these will team nicely with the STi 22B rear wing already fitted. Another change since our shoot has been the wheels - the 18-inch Genesis rims seen here have departed the wheel arches to make space for some monster 19s with liquorice strap rubber. Oh, and the ride height has also been further dropped since we caught the car in the viewfinder. The suspension now includes a front strut bar, stiffer front and rear swaybars, aftermarket shocks and, of course, lowered springs. "It handles insane" enthuses Paul.
The standard MY00 braking arrangement (4-pot front calipers and ventilated discs all round) was initially upgraded to cross-drilled discs but when these soon started cracking, Paul opted for a set of slotted replacements. The brake pads are also upgraded.
As is often the case with highly modified late-model Rexies, there hasn't been a pressing need to redo the interior - the factory effort ain't half bad. In addition to the standard Extreme seats and Momo airbag wheel you'll find Paul has slipped in a short shift gear knob, an upgrade CD sound system and a pair of boxing gloves (hanging from the rear view mirror).
Paul tells us he might get around to doing something special with the interior, but - needless to say - he's much more focussed on the engine and running quick times. "As it is, the car should pull a low-to-mid 10-second pass, so long as we can get traction. That's the problem - it just torque steers and spins its wheels when you launch it."
The Rex's near-standard looks certainly provide Paul with a lot of on-street amusement - "I've raced plenty of other Rexes and nothing has come near me - they think it's just another WRX with a wing and big exhaust." And, boy, do they find out the hard way! Still, Paul says it would be nice to later put on a bigger-still turbocharger and crack into the 9-second bracket. The only problem is, the extra performance would make the WRX10S number plates now fitted to the car redundant; oh, well...
So be warned - if you're cruising in Sydney and you spot a dark blue MY00 Rexie, make damn sure you look for those little boxing gloves hanging from the interior mirror before setting off on a traffic light challenge. The gloves give an indication what'll happen to you!
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