NOVOCAINE FOR THE SOUL: MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

As the antithesis to drifting, an all-wheel-drive Impreza is pretty much perfect. And when Perry Feighan felt his life required a little more grip, this modified Subaru Impreza Blobeye was the clear solution…

MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYEMODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

The Subaru Impreza is a lot of things. A rally icon, a B-road hooligan, an appreciating modern classic, a practical family car that’s also a ballistic weapon. One thing it isn’t however, is a drift car. That’s not to say it hasn’t been done, there are a few drifters out there who’ve converted Scoobs to RWD and gone out to run the wall and drop a few jaws, but it’s fair to say that this revered Japanese everyday-hero has almost always been chalked up as ‘grip’ rather than ‘slip’ on the performance ledger.

In this particular case, the Impreza has taken on yet another function: a soothing tonic, a mopping cloth for the fevered brow, a rewire for a fused brain. Because when the black dog on Perry Feighan’s shoulder started barking at him that drifting was a no-no, despite having an S14 parked outside and being neck-deep in the tyre-atomising scene, that’s not a voice one can ignore – and the perky three-box Subaru offered the ideal solution.

MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYEMODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

“I used to have a drift car as part of a group called Slipwheel,” Perry explains. “We would drift at least once a month, and even started doing little vlogs and videos as part of our journey. However, at some point my anxiety disorder decided to target drifting as a trigger for me, turning a sport I lived and breathed into a strain mentally – to the point where even seeing the car at the side of the house would give me this wave of anxiety. I just had to give it up and sell the S14.

“Imprezas have been in my family for so many years,” he continues, “and out of all my dad’s builds, the blobeye was my favourite. So after the S14 went I immediately went out to buy this Impreza, almost as my own slice of nostalgia. Every time I sat in it I felt good, it was such a nice transition from feeling horrendous to feeling joy… just by swapping out the car.”

MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYEMODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

It’s amazing how the brain can shift from the rational to the irrational and back with such unsettling ease, and how emotions can be as anchored in inanimate things as they can by people, memories, or good old chemistry. Suffice it to say that something needed to change, and the Impreza was the answer. It was more than just a car, it was a splash of novocaine for a troubled soul.

This isn’t to say that any old Impreza would do, of course. Perry’s a hardcore petrolhead through-and-through, and his automotive history plainly demonstrates that he’s never been one to align himself with one particular brand or genre – he appreciates cool cars, that’s as focused as it needs to be, and the number of Fast Car features he’s enjoyed before suggests that he’s pretty bloody good at putting them together too. Regular readers may well remember his VW Polo among others, and he’s flitted from style to style and scene to scene like some sort of hyperactive honeybee, spreading the pollen of success wherever he lands.

MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYEMODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

When he started building himself an Impreza, then, we could tell it was going to be special. “A good friend, Matt, happened to be selling this car just at the time I was selling mine, and I knew I had to take it off his hands,” Perry recalls. “When I got it, it was pretty much an STI replica – seats, bumpers, spats, the works. This wasn’t really my flavour though, as I prefer not to make cars look like something they aren’t. It’s like having an EcoBoost with a full ST kit.” Fair enough really, and so he set about de-STi-ing the blobeye and pondering how to reimagine it in his own inimitable style.

The STI interior was the first thing to go, being swapped with a friendly chap who just so happened to have the correct interior for Perry’s car (who presumably was pretty chuffed with the deal), and the next job was to sort out the XXR wheels. There was nothing wrong with them per se, but they were finished in a distinctly questionable black-and-gold combo; whipping them off and having them refinished in a far more pleasing white immediately made a huge difference to the overall aesthetic, so Perry was already well on his way to victory.

MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYEMODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

“The front bumper was the next thing that had to go,” he says. “It was full of STI bits, with a hawkeye splitter. So I swapped it out for a Chargespeed bumper, and worked with my friend Chris Hill to draw out and make up a custom splitter out of ABS plastic, which came out fantastic! To add to that, I popped some Chargespeed sideskirts on there and reused the skirt extensions from when I got the car, to make the look follow the car round. And one hurdle I had was that I knew I wanted an aero-style mirror, but the WRC ones looked crap and so did the common M3-style – they were never going near my car, so I looked at the GKTech Ganador replicas from Australia. I picked up a set of M3 mirror base plates on eBay, having spotted that the mounting edge looked very similar. I threw away the M3 mirror and the S13 base plate from the GKTechs and bolted what I had left together. Worked a charm!”

The car’s also wearing an 8-piece flare kit from Karlton Style, which gives it real presence, along with a set of those iconic vortex generators along the roof edge – and he hasn’t totally binned off the idea of STI styling, keeping the high-rise boot spoiler and oversize bonnet scoop simply because they’re off-the-charts badass bits of design. He’s also chased after STI-like levels of power; exceeding them in fact, by bolting a TD05-16G turbo and STI top-mount intercooler to that wubba-wubba-wubbaing flat-four. The boxer’s packing increased fuelling courtesy of 565cc injectors and Walbro 255 fuel pump, while the lungs have been expanded by virtue of a Pipercross Pro-R panel filter and a Milltek 3-inch non-resonated stainless system with Japspeed decat. The cherry on the cake is a RaceDynamix remap, which serves up a hot-to-trot 332bhp.

MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYEMODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

Perry’s put a lot of thought into maximising the potential of the chassis in order to deploy all of this rally car grunt too, with the addition of BC coilovers, a Whiteline anti-lift kit and roll centre correction kit, and the mighty Brembo brakes from the STI, complete with MTec discs and Goodridge braided lines. A comprehensive makeover, turning this blobeye into a proper road weapon.

“One of the common remarks I hear is ‘I hate Imprezas, but this one really works’,” he grins. “I think this is because not a lot of Subaru owners mess with bodykits. It’s usually the same three colours and every one’s an STI rep.” Like so many times before, Perry’s trodden his own path here with the core aim to be to build the car his way rather than seek other people’s approval; after all, this car is therapy, it needs to tick all of his own boxes.

MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYEMODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

Somewhat unusually – and perhaps even uniquely – our shoot takes place while the car’s being sold, the new owner impatiently tapping their toes and waiting to take delivery of their new pride-and-joy as we bugger about with lenses and light reflectors and whatnot. So how has this happened, after the car represented such a revivifying mental salve?

“Throughout my many years building up cars, I’ve spent them shoulder-to-shoulder with my best buddy Tom Shaw,” Perry explains. “We’ve been from static show cars, to aired-out show cars, to drifters, and beyond. Our latest move, and where we feel we belong, is in classic Americans. Spending a lot of time at Santa Pod watching drag racing, you really can’t help but fall in love with the old Yank tanks; my dream has always been a Ford Galaxie, and I’m finally in a position to start the project – a ’64 Sedan in Sunshine Yellow.” So there you have it. The vital and essential lesson here is that you’ve got to do what feels right. You only live once. Drive yourself happy. This Impreza was a necessary means of change for Perry, transitioning him from one life chapter to another, and now it exists as a snapshot in time, preserved in amber; it’ll undoubtedly change again with its new owner (indeed, it almost certainly already has), but the car you see spread across these pages will resonate through the ages. Why? Because it’s not just a car. It’s a route to salvation.

MODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYEMODIFIED SUBARU IMPREZA BLOBEYE

TECH SPEC: SUBARU IMPREZA

Styling:
Karlton Flares style 8-piece bodykit, STI bonnet scoop, STI rear spoiler, wing stabilisers, M2 Motorsport vortex generators, ARP carbon fibre rear recess, carbon B-pillars, Chargespeed sideskirts with custom extensions, Chargespeed front bumper with custom splitter, debadged boot, mirror window tints, Smilefactory sunstrip, replica Ganador mirrors

Tuning:
2.0-litre flat-four, TD05-16G turbo, STI top-mount intercooler, 565cc injectors, Walbro 255 fuel pump, Milltek 3in non-resonated stainless exhaust system, Japspeed decat up and down pipes, Pipercross Pro-R panel filter, atmospheric blow-off valve, 3-port boost solenoid, 42mm alloy radiator, silicone hoses, 5-speed manual, RaceDynamix remap: 332bhp, 302 lb.ft

Chassis:
10x18in XXR 557 wheels, 265/35 Nankang NS-2R tyres, H&R (front) and Direnza (rear) hubcentric spacers, extended studs, BC Racing coilovers, Whiteline anti-lift kit, Whiteline roll centre correction kit, STi Brembo front calipers, MTec dimpled/grooved discs, Goodridge braided lines

Interior:
Hawkeye steering wheel, carbon fibre gearknob, touchscreen DVD headunit, Pioneer component speakers, R-Spec digital stepper boost gauge

Words Joe Partridge Photography Jules Truss

Source

First drive review: 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 provides a welcome escape

Sunglasses. Check. Ballcap. Check. Sunscreen. Check. Spending the afternoon with the top down in a 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 instead of slaving over automotive safety ratings and proper hyphen usage. Check, please.

Life during coronavirus has stripped us of many of the leisure activities we hold dear, but a top-down convertible drive on a sunny 87-degree day is still a simple joy that the virus can’t touch.

The Targa 4 before me is absolutely stunning. Painted Gentian Blue, shod with $3,740 RS Spyder Design wheels, and wearing a classic aluminum Targa bar, it looks sinister, beautiful, and expensive. The looks aren’t deceiving.

This is my first chance to drive a 992-generation 911 convertible and my first shot at the base powertrain. With relatively open mid-workday Michigan roads ahead of me, I soon learn that you don’t have to spring for an S model to get plenty of performance out of the 992-generation 911 and that the Targa is the 911 convertible to buy.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

A convertible in coupe clothing

Both with the top up or down, the Targa does a better job of retaining the 911 coupe’s curves than the cabriolet. It has a similarly sloped greenhouse profile in either configuration but trades the coupe’s aluminum roof for a wraparound glass rear window and the iconic aluminum Targa bar that dates all the way back to 1965. (Yes, you can get the Targa bar in black, but why would you unless the rest of the car was black?) With the top up, the only part of this convertible that says convertible is the black fabric top that sits over the passenger compartment. Squint to look past the rear glass and the Targa resembles the cabriolet, but I prefer to take in the whole, including the Targa bar and the rear window shape, to see a more cohesive coupe-like look.

The Targa top isn’t a removable panel over the front seats like on the Chevrolet Corvette, and it’s not a simple retractable cloth center section, either. The 911 Targa is essentially a convertible with a complex mechanism.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

I flip the switch on the center console (one switch to put the top down, another to bring it back up) and the Targa’s roof does an unexpected dance for anyone who has never seen the top in action. The domed glass rear window pops up and moves back, bringing the rear vents and rear deck panel with it. The cloth roof over the front passengers unlatches automatically, pops up, and begins to travel rearward. The Targa bar splits into the three sections so the outward edges can tuck in to allow the cloth top mechanism to skirt past into a rear compartment. The Targa bar reassembles itself, and the rear glass returns to its proper position. The entire process takes 19 seconds when either raising or lowering the top.

The top is now stowed and I’m ready to set off on the highways and lake country roads outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sunscreen applied, hat and sunglasses on, sun out, and The Washington Post’s “Constitutional” podcast examining topics like the right to a defense attorney, how Prohibition began and ended, and the Loving v. Virginia case that legalized interracial marriage in 1967, this is a better way to spend the day than combing through the features list of the Chevrolet Spark.

A highway jaunt out to better roads reveals that the 911 Targa is a quieter convertible. The Targa bar and rear glass help the wind flow over the top instead of buffeting inside the cabin. And yet, it feels open from the driver’s seat, imparting that feeling of freedom only a convertible can create. Later, when I put the top back up, the noise dies down to near-coupe levels. The only downside is the Targa mechanism’s weight. It adds 314 pounds compared to the coupe and 150 pounds compared to the cabriolet. Still, between its looks and its quieter cabin, the Targa is the better 911 convertible.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

Performance comes standard

I’ve driven the 2020 Porsche 911 S and 4S and found them to be greater than the sum of their parts. In fact, our team agreed and we named the 2020 Porsche 911 the Motor Authority Best Car to Buy 2020 based on the strengths of the S models.

The twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-6 in those cars spins out 443 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque, which enable 0-60 mph times of 3.3 seconds for the S and just 3.2 seconds for the 4S. A detuned version of that engine powers 911 base models, including the Targa 4. With 12 psi instead of 16 psi of boost and smaller turbine and compressor wheels, it makes 379 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, which is 9 hp more than the 2019 engine thanks to better intake efficiency, a symmetrical turbocharger layout, and new piezo fuel injectors. It’s good for a 4.0-second 0-60 mph run, according to Porsche.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

That may seem like an unachievable time for the 3,658-pound Targa 4, but, like the S models, the 911 Targa 4 feels like it has more power than its stats suggest, both from a stop and at speed. The power is ready and willing at highway speeds when the revs are already up, though it’s not as He-Man strong as the S version. 

Surely it can’t launch as hard as an S model, can it? At an open country four-way stop I engage Sport+ mode, jam the brake with my left foot, then jump on the throttle. I look left: nothing. Look right: nothing. I let go of the brake before turning my head all the way back to the left, and bam! My right ear hits the headrest as the car rockets forward. With more than 60% of the weight on the rear, the Targa 4’s optional 305/30R21 Pirelli P Zero rear tires (295s are standard) bite into the pavement. Any slip from those massive rear tires is mitigated by traction at the front, so the vast majority of the engine’s power becomes forward motion.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

Sorry I doubted you, flat-6. You’re nearly as strong from a stop as the S version during a hard launch. The S engine just adds an extra bit of punch, but the 911’s ability to put the power to the pavement means both provide a gut (and ear) punch when launch control is activated.

My only complaint about the powertrain is about choice. Like all Targa 4 models, this one is equipped with Porsche’s do-everything 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, called PDK. If shifts smoothly in Normal mode, shifts quickly in the Sport modes, and it’s always ready to tap into the engine’s power with timely downshifts.

However, Porsche reserves its 7-speed manual transmission for the Targa 4S, where it’s a no-cost option. That effectively gives Porsche $4,000 or more of profit as the brand has charged that much or more for the PDK in the past. I’m a fan of the PDK, but I’d rather shift my own gears, and I’d prefer the option.

With the top up or down, those hard launches don’t create body twist, which can be a problem in convertibles. The 911 Targa 4 suffers no quiver or shake over even broken pavement with the top up. Porsche uses thicker steel in the rocker panels and adds shear plates to the underbody to stiffen both the cabriolet and the Targa, and Porsche says the Targa is 9% stiffer than the cab with the top up due to the rear window. 

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4

I’m driving mostly with the top down, though, and disruptions like railroad tracks can create the smallest bit of dashboard shake. However, context is important and this might be the stiffest convertible on the market. I drove the lovely 2021 Lexus LC 500 convertible to get here and the 911 is noticeably stiffer.

The stiffness gives the Targa 4 most of the unwavering stability and poise of the coupe. The tight, quick steering tells me what’s going on at road level, and the tires provide copious grip through turns. The standard adjustable dampers help balance a smooth ride with agile moves, and even in Sport+ mode the Targa 4 never pounds over bumps.

Even though the engine hangs out behind the rear axle, this car is almost supernaturally balanced. The 305 mm rear tires have something to do with that, but driving this car I get the feeling that 50-plus years of continuous engineering improvement has overcome physics to create benchmark handling.

The 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 starts at $120,650, the same price as a comparable cabriolet and $13,200 more than a 911 4 coupe. My tester checks in at a cool $160,920 thanks to options too numerous to mention and many too frivolous as well. Among the group, I would choose the Porsche Torque Vectoring+ ($1,500), the Sport Chrono package ($2,790), and the front-axle lift system ($2,770). The rest only send the price skyward.

As the afternoon fades into early evening, I learn that Parchman Farms prison essential sanctioned slavery into the early 1970s, which constituted cruel and unusual punishment. This drive has been the farthest thing from cruel, though it is unusual to get out of the office on a beautiful summer day. This is what sports cars are about—escape, sanctuary, relaxation, and engagement. There’s hardly a better way to experience the sports car than playing hookey on the workday with a masterpiece like the 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4, and that’s something the virus can’t touch.

Porsche provided a day with the 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 to bring you this firsthand report.

Source

2020 TOYOTA SUPRA AIR LIFT PERFORMANCE KIT

Air Lift Performance have released new front and rear air suspension kits, specifically designed to fit the 2020 Toyota Supra.

As always, the Air Lift Performance mantra is to achieve the maximum drop without sacrificing performance – providing superior handling, sharp steering response, and a comfortable ride, whether on the street, the track, or at a show.

The front kit (P/N 78587) features double-bellow air springs, paired with threaded-body, monotube struts. Completely customisable to the user’s unique performance needs, the struts offer 30-levels of damping adjustability and are topped off with adjustable camber plates, for precise steering feel. Combined, the front kit lowers the front axle 83mm (3.27”) from stock ride height.

For the rear kit (P/N 78687), Air Lift Performance engineers developed a set-up featuring double-bellows air springs, paired with threaded-body shocks, equipped with 30-levels of damping adjustability, combining to drop the rear down 104mm (4.09”) from stock height.

All Air Lift Performance kits are torture-tested on state-of-the-art in-house validation equipment. Both the front and rear Toyota Supra are backed by a one-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

For more info see Air Lift Performance

Source