Project Mu

Chris Neranjan has owned this Hawkeye STI for over a decade. Notice – the trend of longterm ownership with STIs & Evos. These ultimate tuner cars of the 2000s car may have been a little pricey when they came out, sure. But they’re still pricey now. It was a good investment. Your best time to grab them, was either new or slightly used, because the prices never really came down all that much. And demand just increased with time… especially as new cars kept missing the mark. 

White hawkeye WRX STI

So my advice to y’all…

Is to look for the iconic cars when you’re car shopping. The ones that 1) meant/mean something, 2) are important for the manufacturer, and 3) are more than a car… but a statement of identity. A passion project. 

Voltex STI

Because you know – back in the day car manufacturers had balls…

And they used to do this crazy-insane thing where… they’d make cars strictly because they were badass. Hell they knew these cars would have a niche market & never be top sellers for the masses… but they also knew that niche market would carry the image of the brand. And there was value in that. Manufacturers made cool cars… because they wanted to be a brand that made cool cars. That’s why back in the day, you’d see RX-7s & Miatas at the Mazda dealership. You’d see Supras & MR-2s at the Toyota dealership. And those models emotionally defined the brand.

Marsh Composites hood WRX STI

So back in that 06/07 time period, Mitsubishi & Subaru were going head-to-head with the Evo & STI…

Both models were new to America, and they each had something to prove. It was a boxing match, and they each wanted to win. And when 2 brands go head to head like that, they create icons. They create a blip in the mundane… and the ‘motorsports’ comes out. CEOs get fired-up, the suits & bean counters are told to STFU, and the engineers get some leash. (Think Ford vs Ferrari) 

RAYS TE37SL

Chris Neranjan was in high school when the Evo/STI wars were going on…

He didn’t necessarily have a favorite; BOTH were absolute dream cars. In those days, magazines still ruled the world, and Chris would flip through the tuner mags in the back of class, and dream about parts he was going to get for a car he didn’t even own yet lol (exactly like I did in HS 10 years earlier with the Eclipse/Integra). 

sparco steering wheel

There were 3 defining moments for Chris…

The First:

Chris & his dad were waiting on mom outside a mall or something. There was a Mitsubishi dealership across the street, and a badass blue Evo out front. Chris’s dad said, “Let’s go check it out.” While they were scoping out the Evo, a down-to-clown salesman came out with the keys. He knew they were tire kickers; he didn’t care. The salesman took them on some backroads & ripped the Evo silly… and Chris was DONE! 

The Second:

Sometime later, Chris and his dad ended up in a similar situation by a Subaru dealership, so they went to kick tires on an STI this time. And this time – it was a crazy Russian salesman who came out & said in a thick Russian accent, “Let me show you what this thing can do.” He drove that STI like the cops were chasing him. Then he put it on half-gravel & half-pavement, said, “Watch this.” The Russian pegged the tach, dumped the clutch, and took his hands off the steering wheel to show that the car tracked dead-straight even with different grip on the driver/passenger side. Chris was DONE! 

white WRX STI

The Third:

Chris was finally ready to buy! Sort of. It was a big stretch financially, but Chris didn’t care. He was searching for both Evos & STIs, when he found a gray Evo GSR. Chris & his dad drove 2-hours to the dealership. Everything was right. Chris was all set & ready to sign paperwork… when the dealership pulled some last-minute crap & said there was a repeat customer interested in the car… and they give their repeat customers dibs. Chris was HEARTBROKEN! (and mad).

hawkeye WRX STI

The Fourth: 

Chris found a white STI. It was also a couple hours away. Everything seemed good with the car, so he made sure to keep in very tight communication with the dealership this time & let them know he was serious… because he was. When Chris & his dad got to the dealer, they said the car was in back. And ‘in back’ was a giant garage, with no other cars in it & no other lights on… except for the ambient light coming through hitting this STI in a perfectly angelic way. The boys at this dealership sure know how to spice-up a car sale lol. Chris was DONE!! And that white STI, is the car you’re seeing now… over 10 years later. Track car, street car, forever car. 

Text by Wooley     Photos by Taylor Galster

Please make sure to subscribe to the print version of S3 Magazine. We’ll send a t-shirt with your first magazine, And we’ll keep urging you to be radical when the rest of the world tells you to be sensible.

Subaru WRX STI

 

Engine: 

KSTech intake 

ETS front mount intercooler with titanium piping 

Tial QR BOV & 38mm external wastegate

Invidia downpipe 

Tomei Extreme catback 

AEM 320 E85 fuel pump 

KillerB Holy header 

CAE shifter

Cobb Accessport V3 – tuned by Stephen Clark at iA Tuning

Suspension: 

FEAL 442 coilovers – custom valved with optional rear camber plates 

Carbing strut brace 

Whiteline 24mm F+R swaybars & pillow ball endlinks 

Custom Oswald Performance tubular front subframe 

Wheels / Tires / Brakes: 

RAYS TE37SL 18×10 

265/35 Bridgestone Potenza RE71R

Project Kics R40 lugs

Project Mu Club Racer pads

Girodisc 2 piece rotors

Exterior: 

Voltex kit & wing 

Marsh Composites dry carbon hood with forged/twill fade 

Subaru Voltex wing

Interior: 

AutoPower half cage

Recaro seats