John Iacobucci likes to share his cars. No, he won’t hand you the keys to
enter a burnout competition but he will let you share the viewing pleasure that
his extensively modified Subaru provides.
This is John’s third show car – and it’s an absolute ripper.
“My second show car was a white WRX that I gave tiger stripes and did some
engine work on. That was a great car – it was the motivation for me to buy this
car and go all the way,” says John.
John is a man who knows exactly how to get it in the shortest possible
time. True to form, it has taken just 6 months to transform this ’99 WRX from a
stocker into a 300+ kilowatts at the wheels trophy stealer. Given its short
gestation, it’s no surprise that John hit the car with body, interior and engine
mods at the same time.
John says he passed up on a US-spec STi 2.5 litre engine because he wanted to
disprove the knockers who reckon you can’t get 300+kW at the wheels out of a 2.0
litre. As such, the standard 2.0 litre EJ20 has been rebuilt by G-Tech to
include Aries forged pistons which are strong enough to make big power at high
boost levels. The DOHC heads are untouched and the standard camshafts are kept.
The power push comes largely from a big GReddy T67 ball-bearing turbo teamed
with a Blitz 47mm external wastegate. The turbo and ‘gate are mounted on a Drift
tubular manifold which is heat wrapped from flange to flange. A custom dump pipe
merges turbine and wastegate gas flow into a Blitz 3 inch exhaust.
On the intake side, John relies on a Blitz pod filter and a Blitz front-mount
air-to-air intercooler with custom mandrel bent plumbing. Boost pressure from
the big T67 is currently limited to 25 psi using a Blitz electronic controller
(which, at the time of photography, was set-up in tandem with a pneumatic
Controlling fuel and ignition is a MicroTech LT8 programmable computer with
an in-built MAP sensor. The LT8 fires a set of 700cc injectors, which are
installed together with custom rails, a FSC regulator and FSC ‘700hp’ in-tank
pump. The ignition is stock.
A surprise power hit comes courtesy of a nitrous system that can be tuned to
deliver a 50 – 80hp shot. John triggers the nitrous using an arming switch wired
in series with a hidden momentary switch. We’re told there’s no need to use the
nitrous off the line because the turbo spools up fine without any assistance.
When John wants to make a fast getaway he gives the tuned EJ20 a big rev and
sidesteps a clutch that he describes as “extra, extra, extra, extra heavy duty”.
In other words, it’s bloody strong! For the time being, the standard 5-speed
gearbox is being used but John expects he’ll soon need a dog box.
John is yet to make a quarter mile appearance but says he’s hoping for a high
10 or low 11 second pass. This seems pretty reasonable given the car has slogged
out 304kW at the wheels on a 4WD Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno. This was achieved
with 25 psi boost, a conservative ‘street tune’ and nitrous.
So that’s the engine and driveline make-up – what else does this show car
have up its sleeve?
Well, let’s start with the body.
While the engine was being built, John had 5 Star Panels strip off the
original dark blue paint, massage out any dings and hose on some custom paint.
The colour is based on the Ford XR Citric Acid with a little something extra to
make it glow. Whatever that something is, it sure works!
Aside from the new colour, John has added a carbon fibre bonnet, STi
high-rise wing, JetSpeed front lip (which is moulded into the original front
bumper), clear lens taillights and clear indicators. Oh, and there’s plenty of
sticker-work in appreciation of the sponsors who have helped during the
Wheel choice is paramount in the show scene (you’d be a laughing stock if you
rolled up on yesterday’s wheels) so John uses current-fashion Advantec 18 x 7.5s
painted white and wearing 215/35 Falkens. These fill the guards nicely thanks to
King super low springs.
The interior is particularly innovative.
John went off the beaten track when he had a set of SAAS seats fitted front
and rear. These seats are intended for front seat installation and, as you might
imagine, there was a lot of time and effort invested trying to mount them in the
rear at a suitable height and angle. And if you’re looking for a rear centre
armrest you can use the big nitrous tank – just don’t go twiddling any knobs...
John has also trimmed the door inserts and centre console lid in the same blue
fabric used in the SAAS seats – a nice touch.
The interior is completed with a triple gauge pod containing an AutoMeter
air-fuel ratio, oil pressure and nitrous pressure gauge. At the time of writing,
a big audio system was yet to be installed. The new system will use Philips
components and provide plenty of kick without adding excess weight.
When we caught up with John and his WRX the car had been on the road for just
3 weeks. Inevitably, there are some small jobs yet to be completed but once
they’re done, John will be hitting the show scene in a big way. And he won’t rest
there. He’s already thinking about pulling the motor out for some heavy-duty
strengthening, big cams, more boost and extra nitrous. The goal has now been
changed to 350kW at the wheels running the standard 2.0 litre capacity -
+61 3 9305 2888
John would like to thank Darren and the crew from G-Tech, Autobahn Sunbury
and all of the other sponsors – Drift, SAAS, 5 Star Panels, Glenroy Exhaust,
Mothers, Raine Graphics and Philips.