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Subaru Impreza 3.0GT

Impreza Rear Photo

We start this project with a 1997 Subaru Impreza HX20s. From the factory, this car is a bit of a 'mish mash' (or the first version was) of 'spare parts' left over from previous model runs. The body and suspension were selected due to lower than expected sales of the v1 WRX, the brakes were picked off the 1.8 'GB' Impreza. The engine was originally from a Legacy VZ-R (BF5). Eventually it got its own version of the 2.0 SOHC found in the Legacy TX-S.

Factory Specs:

The Story:

Of course this one had to be different. It was completely bog standard when I bought it in 2006 but with a rusted-out exhaust the modification started straight away, with the fitting of a Version-8 STi midsection and tailpipe.

The suspension got a look over fairly shortly afterwards too, with the fitment of STi struts and springs, and an STi 19mm rear swaybar.

That was shortlived however, in mid-07 I was struck from behind by a Honda Orthia that was travelling at approximately 160kph which left me short a wheel, strut, bumper, rear crossmember, and link arms. While the car was brought back on the road later that same day with a trip to the junkyard and the re-fitting of the old rear suspension, the chassis had suffered a bit of a bend and the hub was bent aswell. The chassis was straightened but the hub was just left for later, as I was able to get it back in spec with a bit of work and money was short

Purchased EngineNewly purchased EZ30R

Fast forward 8 months, and there has been little progress bar some aesthetics (larger top spoiler, v5 crystal headlights/foglights, a PIAA HID kit, etc). By pure chance I came across a seller on TradeMe who was keen to part with one of nine 2006 EZ30R engines. The EZ30R is FHI's flagship naturally aspirated engine, a three-litre six-cylinder boxer variable valve-timing and valve-lift on the intake cam. I'd been tossing up using this engine since day one but the problem had always been their availability, they were next to impossible to get hold of, so naturally I jumped at the chance.

Fast forward another 4 months and the only progress is the fitment of a set of STi Alloy front link-arms, one of which I have recently discovered to have a crack and will need replacing. I've purchased 1990 Legacy GT to use as my daily-driver while this one is off the road, but it's de-registered, has bald tyres, and a dying gearbox. One day on the way home from work I notice smoke under the hood, the power steering is leaking terribly so the decision is made that rather than repair it, it will be cheaper to get the legacy on the road. Two days later the Legacy is road legal, and the Impreza sits in the garage gathering dust while the Legacy is driven daily. A shortage of money (again) brings a halt to any progress, just maintaining the Legacy is gobbling most of that up.

Engine InstalledEZ30R Physically installed in the engine bay

After no progress in 5 months bar the power-steering being repaired, I got bored one day and decided to get things underway. An engine hoist was hired, and the engines physically swapped, which turned out to be far easier than on a turbo Legacy, taking only 2 hours. The next day the nightmare began, the dashboard was removed and wiring loom was stripped back, the old wires removed and the new wires (all fifty-eight of them) run from the engine harness down to the ECU mount, with the temperature sensor and other necessities wired in along the way.

Wiring MessAn auto-electrician's nightmare, unlabeled wires everywhere.

A week of staring at wiring diagrams later, all the wires are labeled, all the systems are ready to go (we hope, theres no way of testing them till the ECU arrives) and the loom has been wrapped back up.

Electrical TestsElectrical Testing in progress, ECU loom is visible in the bottom left

Thats where we stand now, but there will be updates! I refuse to have my car sitting much longer with no gearbox, cooling system, interior or motive power, it's beginning to cause depression and I miss driving it too much

Looking forward, this engine will see three 'stages' of build, though Im not sure how each one will pan out. Ideally it will run completely stock for a while so my Legacy can get some much needed attention. There is paint in the future, and quite possibly one of the largest undertakings in body re-design ever attempted on a Subaru.