euro cars

Subarus man. The lovable, lobey oddballs. Yeah sometimes they need a little help, or a nudge to get over those initial performance limitations. But admit it – these cars have a quirky, all-the-sudden-infectious personality about them. And it’s funny that Subaru always markets to dog people, because their cars are dogs too. Meaning – they have a tendency to cock their head & grab your heart from across the parking lot with that silly mug & floppy ears… like a lost AWD puppy. And sometimes you start another day just like any other day… and a Subaru just ends up following you home.

For Mondo, an STI-swapped wagon was always on his automotive bucket list. Even before Baby Driver… which I just finally saw recently. Waaay underrated… that movie was awesome!


Damn Dan

Luckily, the car gods stirred up a little car fate, and Mondo’s Violent buddy, Damn Dan (dmn.dan) had his old STI-swapped WRX wagon sitting on blocks in the backyard. This thing was a diamond in the rough. It actually had the STI EJ207 Version 8 engine swap… that’s the prized one from Japan with forged internals.

Damn Dan had moved on to a damn new FRS. The WRX had stalled due to some engine-swap issues, and had subsequently started slipping into a state of disarray… especially with the FRS in the picture.

The car had the Version 8 engine already. It also had Accuair e-level management, as well as some other appealing enhancements. But on the flip-side, it also had it’s share of abandoned headaches, with a cheap/bad/peeling wrap, effed up bumpers, wiring/misfire bugs, and blocks for wheels. (No – definitely not “blacks for wheels” you racist AF autocorrect!)

Mondo eventually looked over at Damn Dan on the porch swing & said something like, “Bruh! Shit or get off the pot with that WRX!”

Damn Damn said, “Buy it then!”

And a deal… was hashed.


The rest is an 8 month blip in history, that results in the blob of radness you see before you. (lol c’mon Autocorrect… RADNESS not sadness… radness!)

Mondo put new forged/upgraded pistons & rings in the Version 8 swap, and soon after (out of necessity since WRX transmissions are glass) got the matching JDM twin-scroll 4.44 gear tranny from the Japanese STI. The car is feeling like it’s at a sweet spot right now – just under 350awhp with good reliability & drivability. The equal-length header, custom twin-scroll downpipe, and Tomei titanium exhaust give the Subaru a very unique & addictive sound.

Mondo had always been more of the ‘sleeper’ type of builder. Low-key & quick. But since this car already had Accuair, he decided to journey into a new dimension with this car… and flash it up visually. A mean stance was gonna be the key to the kingdom, but Mondo didn’t want to actually have to live with a car that was super-cambered. That stuff can get AIDSY real quick… especially in a engine-swapped, turbocharged, AWD car with some real fun-factor. In its current state, the wagon sits on BC Forged wheels in XXXX with -2 & -3 camber front & rear. Camber? Yeah. Stooopid camber? Nah. Admittedly from Mondo, the tires are a bit narrow/stretched at XXXXXX, and one of his winter projects is going to be clearing wider rubber under the car.

The color is a Toyota/Lexus olive drab green with a custom high pearlescent from PPG. Inspiration for this shade traces back to his childhood in the late 80s / early 90s… when his uncle had a Nova SS in a flaked-out deep green, also with bronze wheels. And – it’s also a bit of a nod back to his roots in the military. Mondo served himself, and he was also raised a Navy brat… born in the Philippines & moving around often in his childhood.


These days, Mondo is a full-time tattoo artist who travels around the country for appointments. So if you’re in the market, hit him up at or

IG @mondotattooer and support one of your own. Tell him you saw his feature in S3, and he might give you a hookup. Or… he might just hide a weeny in your tattoo I really don’t know bro.



JDM STI EJ207V8 engine

Cusco hoses & connectors  

twinscroll downpipe

Tomei expreme TI turbo-back exhaust

CSF aluminum race radiator

JDM WRX TY754VB4AA 5mt with 4.44 final drive and LSD

Stage-2 tune by Turn-In Concepts


AccuAir e-level air ride

STI upper & lower sway bars

Cadillac ATS/CTS 4-piston Brembo front calipers

STI rotors

BC Forged MLE81 wheels

-18×11 -25 squared

Achilles ATR Sports



Voltex front bumper

Karlton fender flares

Custom paint by Drew Klei


Cobb Tuning short-throw shifter

Likewise shifter extension & shift knob

Vertex ‘king of vertex’ steering wheel

Custom stitched boot cover, armrest, and e-brake by Top Stitch Trim

STI factory floor mats

Text by Wooley   Photos by Sam Igel II