Tito Carabelita’s STI-Swapped Impreza
This feature is from a past issue. Currently, the car is under the knife again – going wide body. To see where it’s at currently, check out Tito’s Facebook page.
The short-short story, the part that you really need to know if you skip everything else, is the mod list & the power lurking under this little AWD prom-queen. This is an STI-swapped GC chassis that belongs to Tito Carabelita out of Houston. An STI-swapped GC is a forever car. Rare to come by. And once you build it, it’s not something you let go of. To this day, a lot of enthusiasts still reference this chassis as the classic, best looking Subaru. The last of the coupes. And with the STI swap, what more could you want?
Tito made 500hp with this car – nothing to laugh at. And that was totally enough for any normal person, until he got walked by a modified GTR. For some reason, that really got to Tito. So he narrowed his eyes, gritted his teeth, and responded with a 600hp build.
In order to get from 500hp, to 620hp, the previous 6262 Precision turbo and 1100cc injectors were ditched, and replaced with a new 6765 Precision turbo, 2150 FIC injectors, and a retune.
Big power… until he got schooled by a sprayed Z06. Back to the garage, Tito pulled the 6765 Precision turbo for a 6766 Precision turbo. He also went to E85, which is pretty available in Texas, and got a Bosch 044 fuel pump. Then he had it tuned at Inline Racing, where the car really came alive. Now he makes 702hp… and so far so good.
Think about what this is: a living 700hp (Subaru-powered) Subaru. When is the last time you’ve really even seen one of those. They’re like Yeti – people talk about ‘em, take fuzzy pictures, and speak of encounters, but who’s actually knows if they’re even real. 700hp. Ken Block’s Subaru’s were corporately backed, internationally circle-jerked to, and they only made around 550hp. And don’t get me wrong, they were insane. But now add about 30% more horsepower to a street legal car built by ‘some dude’ in Texas – and you have this.
This car is so balls fast & sketchy, that even Tito’s terrified of it. There’s no mastering a car like this. No ‘getting used to’ the speed. When it’s go-time, you better be in the center lane of whatever road you’re on… because the car gets like Spy Hunter on cocaine. The only consistency is that it’s an animal, every time. And the only way to tame it is to literally kill it (break it).
And the thing to consider here, is that competition makes us achieve more.
I think that when people talk about competition, there is a certain alpha-male stigma that comes with it. And that can be a turnoff. But I also think that there’s a lot of ‘positives’ between the lines that gets missed, or gets locked up in the shadows. Competition is not just an ego thing. It’s not always so much about beating the other guy… as it can be about improving yourself. Competition breeds discipline, and a sense of purpose. It helps us focus in a way that we can become razor sharp & proficient.
To be competitive, doesn’t mean we have to be hitting the track every weekend. Competition doesn’t have to be an organized event. Hell – there doesn’t even need to be other people to compete with. It can be time spent alone, and the sense of competition can come from entirely from within.
But the point is: when you become engrossed with a hobby or a lifestyle or profession, when you really WANT it, and you become committed… you feel life behind the mission. And that, in turn, makes you feel alive & fulfilled. It is human nature to fixate on pursuing passion & improvement… over stagnancy, mediocrity, & practicality.
And to step out a bit further, the real truth – is that competition not only betters ourselves, but it betters our culture, our industry, and our economy. And that’s a bigger deal than you might realize. Passionate, committed people drive enthusiast-based businesses. Meanwhile – cheap, sensible, uncompetitive, and uncommitted people… live in an exciting world that they did not actively help to create.
If it wasn’t for the competitive spirit, there would be nothing exciting, nothing exotic, and nothing beyond what was ‘necessary’ on this planet. Oatmeal & Impalas.
But when you get serious with a passion, you look for ways to get an edge. Not only within yourself, but also in your equipment (think about the world of cycling). This leads to new sales, which leads to cash flow, which leads to new products, which leads to competition amongst businesses, which leads to new inventions & innovations… all of which leads to a stronger economy.
And all of that energy – progresses the sport/hobby forward in a positive way.
Relating it to the import culture/industry – back when tuners were at the height of being performance-minded (circa 96-2006), money was being thrown around, and this industry was booming as a result. People were buying turbos & motor swaps, blowing them up, then buying new turbos with better supporting mods, etc. It was a time of progression & improvement. Conversely – when OEM+ styling and tire-stretching replaced performance as the focus, we saw the aftermarket industry fall on its face. Why? Because it’s hard to sell performance parts when all your cool points come from being low & slow.
We must be conscious of the fact that our buying habits either feed or starve this industry.
Custom tune by Huy at Inline Racing – 702whp and 648tq at 30psi with plenty room for more
2.71 stroker short block 103mm bore (Brian Crower)
ARP 9/16 custom head studs
Cometic custom 103mm mls head gasket
’04 STI heads – ported & polished
Supertech Inconel valves
Brian Crower valve springs and retainers
Brian Crower 280 avcs cams
JDM intake manifold
Mishimoto 19-row oil cooler & oil filter relocation kit
TurboXS intercooler core
Custom 2.75-inch intercooler piping
Tial 50mm blow off valve
Ceramic coated equal length headers
Perrin rotated up-pipe
Tial 44mm wastegate
Custom 3-inch catless downpipe
HKS high power catback exhaust
Precision Turbo 6766 CEA journal bearing turbo
AEM 5 bar map sensor and temp sensor
’05 STI AMS full standalone engine management
Walbro 255lph in-tank fuel pump
Bosch 044 in-line fuel pump
Custom -10 braided fuel line and -6 return
TurboXS top feed fuel rail kit with splitter block
Aeromotive black top fuel pressure regulator with liquid filled gauge
FIC 2150cc fuel injectors
’05 STI transmission & R180 rear diff
One issue that Tito kept running into, was companies would screw up and send him the perts for the wrong year Subaru. The bug-eyes are so much more common, especially in the states, that companies would just ship the 2002+ stuff on auto-pilot. This was especially a pain in the ass when parts were coming from overseas. So Tito just learned to adapt and make the 2002+ parts work.
JDM Zero sport front lip (technically for a bug eye, but Tito made it work)
S13 fender flares
ED / C-West side skirts
Custom made side skirt splitter
ED rear bumper
APR rear diffuser (for a 2002+ Subaru, but custom fitted)
JDM tail lights
JDM black headlights & corner lights
Kaminari carbon fiber wing (for a 2002+ Subaru, but custom fitted)
Custom intercooler grill
WHEELS / BRAKES / SUSPENSION
Work Emotion XD9 18×10 +18 5×114.3
Kuhmo Ecsta V710 slicks
Godspeed lug nuts
’06 STI front and rear sub frame & cross member
’05 STI front/rear Brembo brake kit
DBA 4000 slotted front rotors
Full ’05 STI cv axle and 5×114.3 conversion
JDM STI strut bar
’05 STI dash
’05 STI seats
’07 STI carpet
’06 STI center console
’03 WRX steering column & Momo steering wheel
Clarion double-din stereo
’04 STI complete AC conversion
’04 STI shift knob
AEM true boost gauge
AEM air/fuel gauge
Carbon fiber gauge pod