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Tag: Turbo

Legacy S401 STI

I don’t always make silly decisions, but when I do it’s usually because of Trademe.

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After once again, not managing to buy a Rover, despite my best attempts, I decided to buy another car sight unseen…. from the other end of the country.

It is a Subaru Legacy S401 STI.

Basically, Subaru decided “Hey, this is the last of the twin turbo Legacies, lets get STI to throw the lot at it and make the ultimate Twin Turbo Legacy”.

What did it get? Well, 6 Speed manual gearbox, front LSD, retuned ECU, hand-built engine, STI exhaust, Intercooler pipes, full STI suspension, big ass Brembo brakes, some lush BBS 18″ wheels, exclusive front bumper, side skirts and intercooler scoop. It also gets a stunning half leather/Alcantara interior, red stitching, and an STI full dash cluster. There’s a few other bits here and there, but that’s the main parts. This Japanese website lists everything in detail, it’s an amazing site.

It’s a really nice place to be, the seats are very comfortable and the interior is simple and easy to use. The 6 speed gearbox, mostly shared with various other STI and later model Legacies, is lovely to use, direct with short ratios.

The STI suspension is nothing short of amazing. Cruising down the motorway it’s firm, and flat, but sucks up all the bumps like they are nothing. Hit some corners, and it’s flat and just grips and grips.

The S401 was a limited edition, and they were apparently going to make 400 of them, hence the number is ***/400 on the badging. In reality, they never made that target, and there were only approx 290 cars made.

Mine is 143/400.

It was looked after by an owner in its past, likely the one before the guy I got it from. Sadly it’s suffered some neglect, so there’s a lot of work to do, including fixing some issues, and giving it a thorough top to toe clean, which should be fun. I hope to do this car the justice it deserves.

How it was when I got it.

And during my ownership




Golf GTI

So after that damn fiasco with the Integra I decided to be more sensible and get another German car, because I’m really a fanboy for German cars.

Had a look around, test drove some more cars, just the usual, and then stumbled on this MK5 Golf GTI. Took it for a drive, and wow, much like the R32 Golf it instantly left an impression on me. Not quite as good as the R32, but the combo of the turbo power and the DSG trans is a lot of fun to drive.

It was a Japanese import, had service history and was pretty well specced with heated leather, HID headlights, cruise control, heated mirrors and puddle lights. It was a really nice place to be and drove so well.

Along with the good spec from the factory it had a few good modifications on it from Japan. VW Racing adjustable suspension, carbon fibre front splitters and rear diffuser, Forge diverter valve, Okada Project coils, some 16v ignition booster system (more on that later) and carbon look cluster trim.

It’s also the little things.

New key badges

The old key badges were worn and ugly. New one cleaned it up for little cost.

And finally got a bottle opener (which also doubles as the divider in the cup holder)

Before it sold though I managed to fit some extended DSG paddles. Man, what a difference, every car with paddles should have ones this long. Much easier to find when driving hard.

But yes the car did eventually sell, and I do miss it. It was a bloody good example. If I get another golf in the future, it’ll be an R32 though.


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After selling the Skyline I was hanging out for something fun and exciting to drive. I decided something simple, like an Integra Type R would do it. So I went on the trademes and had a look around.

What I found, is what I should’ve ran far, far away from. A DC2 Integra Type R, with a turbo. Now, this isn’t my first rodeo, i have had a turbo ITR before and it was a great car. Drove like a normal ITR but it was stupid fast and made choo choo noises.

This one on trademe, well, it had moderate KM, a stack of receipts, and a lovely Milano Pink paint job. I decided to contact the owner as it was within my spending range, and sure enough the owner convinced me the car was in good shape, drove well, didn’t use or leak anything and only smoked “a little at high RPM”.

I should’ve ran, but instead I was silly. I paid the man, booked the truck, and organised for delivery, all without seeing it myself.

A few days later it arrived at work on the truck, filthy and certainly pink, but it made the right noises.

I wrangled a co-worker to help me take the car home and bring me back to work (as I also had the daily at work so couldn’t drive both home). This drive is where I noticed it wasn’t quite all as it was described. There was a definite misfire under boost, and it smoked like a freight train under most conditions (especially deceleration as I quickly found out).

Got it home, went back to work and just left it. After work I had a go poke over of it to see what I had. The receipts for various work, including the tune at NZEFI and some of the turbo bits.

It was great fun to drive, handled like a gokart and was fairly quick with 320 odd hp on tap. The solid engine mounts are something I never want to experience again though, the whole car was like being in a washing machine on spin cycle. Great for racekar, but crap for anything else.

The clear coat was buggered on the roof and bonnet and the paint was pink everywhere else, so I decided to do my first hardcore paint correction.

Grabbed my DA and the Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound and went to work. Two days of non-stop machine work and the outcome was actually really good. The car was deep red again, with only some patches of pink on the really bad bits of the bonnet. I was pleased. Not sure how long it’ll last though, even with a couple of coats of wax.

After that I decided the car wasn’t for me, it was just too rough and unpleasant to drive (not to mention the whole misrepresentation of sale soured the car for me), so listed it for sale. During this time that it was listed, this happened….

Bastard thing decided it had enough of being a car, and stopped right there, in the forecourt (only after almost dying on the motorway). I was driving along, heading into town to update the warrant. First I noticed was a slight misfire when cruising, which then developed into regular misfires and then an almost complete lack of response when I opened the throttle. I quickly pulled off the motorway and limped into the gas station forecourt.

I had about 1/4 tank gas left, but I wasn’t actually sure how accurate the gauge was. I decided I needed to chuck something in the tank as it might have been low, and I couldn’t make it to BP to get 98, 95 was the best I could get. Chucked $20 in the tank, gauge level went up so can’t be that low. Tried to start, just cranked and cranked until the battery died.

The forecourt attendant came over to see what was happening, I hand him my jump pack and tell him hold it whilst I try to jump the battery. Connect it up, turn the key and *BANG* it lets an almighty backfire out. Attendant shits himself and immediately demands I remove the car from the forecourt. I don’t think he found it as funny as I did.

Pushed the car off to the side and called the towie. An hour later he showed up, and all was well.

Turns out the distributor was corroded from a missing weather seal on the cap, and everything was very worn too. Cleaned it all up, replaced the very worn spark plugs and fuel filter and away it went, driving better than ever. No more misfire, and it started easier too.

I eventually sold the car, went to some kid in Auckland and last I saw it was listed on trademe using my exact listing, both photos and words. He also took it to the drags, and somehow managed to stuff the front bumper too, certainly not as tidy as it was when I sold it.

Glad its gone.


Tastes Like Petrol