Volk Wheels


“It changes – as soon as you decide to change it.” That’s the moral here. The takeaway. The lesson. 

For the last 4 years, this WRX was a heap in the back of Marcelo’s shop, Chitown Customs. See – Marcelo had owned the bug-eye since new. It was his baby. He had dumped copious amounts of money into various Subaru engine builds. 3 motors; 5 transmissions On the last closed deck 2.5 build, it made 15 passes… then blew up. All that time, sweat, and expense – for not. Wasted. 

Marcelo was done! He was frustrated, heartbroken, and beaten. And that label/cloud of defeat loomed over the car for years. 

LS swapped WRX Chitown Customs

We all have our obstacles to overcome. For some it may be the ‘unfinished project’. It may be weight loss. Or it may be grades, or career satisfaction. A broken relationship. A withering dream. The list goes on & on. We all have our crosses to bear. And sometimes that ‘cloud’ is a necessary step in the journey. But the second we decide to take the NEXT step & change it… poof… it’s changed. Yes – it’s that quick, and it’s that elemental. The ball is in motion. Then all we have to do, is swing all the way through. 

Ahhh – but the follow-through can be the trickier part. Because that’s the character test. You don’t want to be a smoker any more. Poof – congratulations you’re a nonsmoker… now go prove it. Car culture often becomes a test of character, discipline, and resilience. After all, if building cool cars were easy, every geek would do it.

LS swapped WRX

So one day, 4 years later, one of Marcelo’s buddies started jabbing about how Marcelo should just put an LS engine in the WRX. Marcelo couldn’t see through that cloud at first. The car was a pile of disappointments… laid to rest. Why reopen that can of worms, money, distraction, and heartache? 

But Keith, was like, “Naaaah piece of cake bro.” 

Marcelo looked out at the car again, a little bit of sun hit it for the first time in years, and his eyebrow raised. Sometimes all it takes, is the right words at the right moment. The feelings all started coming back around. He talked to a guy named Nigel, who was putting custom LS-ready subframes into Subarus (see modlist). And all the sudden, it started getting stupid again. In the best way possible! 

Text by Wooley   Photos by Chris Sullivan

LS swapped WRX


2003 Subaru WRX LSX

MOTOR – Car sits at 1000hp set up on low boost 


HP Tuners Pro package

Fast Nigel Fabrication tubular subframe

327 LSx iron block, aluminum heads

Built Texas Speed heads 

Turbo Joe Fabrications turbo kit (one of one)

Borg Warner S480-S496 T6 turbo

Dual 44 Tial wastegates

Tial Q 50mm blow off

NOS wet shot 

5” Turbo Joe Fabrications custom intercooler core 

Aeromotive Pro Series pump

Aeromotive Pro Series fuel regulator


Tuned start up by John Drew @ R&D performance

Dyno Tuned By Matt Cater & Ted Kolantzianos at Proformance on a MD500


Hurst pistol grip w/ trans brake & 2-step


Nigel tubular trans mount

5500 precision stall   



350Z LSD 

Fast Nigel Fabrication tubular cradle 

3 ½ CROMOLY Drive shaft with bullet ends

Tuned start up by John Drew @ R&D performance

Dyno Tuned By Matt Cater & Ted Kolantzianos at Proformance on a MD500



Brian Konopack aka Beast Minion Fab


Bob Friedman, Branden Rick, Bobby Morales, Steve Zielinski, Danny Stevens, Joe Kalec (aka Turbo Joe), Brian Konopack (aka Beast Minion Fab), Fast Nigel Fabrication and Paul Stefanczyk for all the support and help on this project. Without you guys I personally don’t think it would’ve possible to finish this project. 

tire stickers