Nolan Andrew spent years pining after a Subaru WRX STI. And then when, at last, he obtained the keys to a tidy 2011 ‘GV’ example, he had a problem - keeping its EJ boxer-four going in South Africa was an expensive business. Subaru doesn’t have much of a presence in the country, making spares hard to come by and not exactly cheap.
And so, Nolan came up with a drastic solution - drop in a 4.3-litre 3UZ-FE Toyota V8 borrowed from a Lexus. The engine’s all aluminium construction is ideal for avoiding too much nose-heaviness, but with a stock output similar to the stock EJ’s, it needed some extra go.
This came in the form of two Garrett GT35 turbochargers running a modest 0.6 bar boost. There’s also a new exhaust system with some particularly naughty exits on either side of the front bumper. We like.
The length of the engine and gearbox combination meant packaging it with the standard all-wheel drive system wouldn’t have been possible without significant front-end modifications. Not wanting to get into all that, Nolan simply didn’t bother having the front wheels powered, making this STI rear-drive, just in case the purists weren’t annoyed enough already.
Even with the all-wheel drive system ditched, fitting the V8 was far from simple. Various subframe alterations were necessary, as was the fabrication of custom engine and gearbox mounts. The front end of the car also had to be tweaked to make room for a radiator.
The result of all this hard work is one of the strangest WRX STIs which will have the ability to offend some and delight everybody else. What do you think of it?