Are 90s Subarus now too valuable to modify?

Are 90s Subarus now too valuable to modify?

With the oldest Subaru WRXs nearing 30 years old many people consider cars of Japan’s epic 1990 performance era collectable classics. like Skyline GT-Rs, Mazda FD RX-7s, JZA80 Supras, Honda NSXs and DC2 Integra Type Rs, whose values have all shot up in recent times.

So this raises the question of whether these cars, which we have all loved modifying through the years to suit our personal taste or to make them better to drive, should be preserved in factory-fresh condition as classic cars... or are we free to keep personalising them?

One car which has always had strong monetary value in Australia is the limited-edition STi coupe. Aussies got their first official taste of STi Impreza goodness when Subaru Australia brought 400 Version 5 2-door STi coupes in and sold them all in about 35-seconds. (Well it was actually 399 that made it due to rumours one fell off the boat!)

These were the hot sauce 206kW jobbies, up from the already-rapid 160kW WRX, although they were plauged early on with engine failures as somebody forgot to inform Subaru Japan we don't have 100RON fuel Down Under (thanks, Kevin!).

These were followed by 400 4dr Version 6 sedans in 2000, before the STi Impreza joined the WRX as a regular model in 2001 with the launch of the GD as a 2002 model Down Under. Today, mint condition, dead-stock examples of the Ver.5 and Ver.6 Aussie-delivered STis command a premium as so many were modified back in the day. 

We've already seen prices for the Australia-only Liberty RS Turbo bottom-out a few years ago and values for mint surviving examples of this rare early 90s beastie are climbing every year. And, given its rarity and position in Aussie performance car history it is easy to understand why.

But, as with many "classic cars" (especially stuff from the 1960s) they're not great to drive in stock trim today. The brakes are weak, handling soggy, nobody has cassettes to play in the crappy stereo, and 147kW doesn't feel rocketship fast like it did in 1993.  Some will argue this is all part of the charm of classics, but what if you could keep the 90s look but update how the car feels to drive? 

Will we see people modifying their 90s Japanese heroes in ways that can be reversed, similar to how some muscle car owners now strive to keep the original bones of the car so as not to hurt the value? Or should we just enjoy our cars however we damn well want?

Personally, I see nothing wrong with taking what Subaru gave us and making it bullet-proof. Let's face it, the beauty of Subarus is you can literally bolt a better drivetrain and handling package in, which is completely reversable!

If you're reading this chances are you're a fan of modifying cars, so you won't hold it against us if we turn the wick up on this 2 door STI and make it even more epic than when it left the factory! If you haven't seen the new episode, check it out here!





  • Hot rod

    Nice high kilometer example. The reality is the car is not that stock so do as you please.

    Some of the original after market goodies improved the car immensely. Namely anything whiteline including the uber rare group 4 suspension coilovers (hens teeth) or at least trademark green teins – mod 3. The stock suspension you have is more suited to a boat than a jappy super car.

    The car looks rubbish with them crappy silver rims. It’s about as logical as someone from a western Sydney chop shop who went to Fowlers auction and attempted to create a vn ss commodore mock up and replaced their $5, 15 inch interceptor steelies.

    The original 5 spoke gold STI 16 × 7 inch wheels are missing – mod 2, not in tact and should be. That coupe has been through probably 90 sets of tyres since the original potenza Re010 that came from the factory and can now only be seen on low km highly prized Honda nsx’s in Japan. Potenzas on your coupe sti now long gone in your case and will help it grip to the road. Or fork out for 17 inch 22b bbs rims

    Brant keypad is rubbish kit. Whilst the standard anti jack obviously works, it’s not practical and like 75% owners that should be your first mod and remove it.

    Nice car but it’s far from a pristine museum piece with low kilometres so mod The crapola our of it!

    Final mod suggestion is a straight cut dog box and a motor that can do a 9 second quarter mile pass. How it differs from your mates silvias is it can still go round a corner and not roll over like a puppy.

    Keep the sti exhaust (if it’s on the car) and drive train on a hoist. Them v5 heads are the ducks guts.

    One of the most important mod is to tell your mates it’s a not a gc8. It’s a gm8 with two doors not four.

    Finally as you mentioned “it’s originally designed as a rally car” so make it go snap, crackle and pop!!!

  • AHIL Khan

    Love this car! Great car Marty. They are really great for sure. Possibly my favorite car on the channel. I have the same car but widebody WRC look, maybe check it outnon Instagram? @_ahilkhan

  • Morten

    If you have to much money… (145.000 AUD)

  • Mårten

    Make it into a 22B hommage!
    Widebody & more power!

  • Chris

    So we play it safe on mcm now, shenanigans, I wanna see the Nissan and Suby modded out and road raced

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