Kyle & Tom are out there showing everyone that trails aren't just for trucks and 4x4s. Subarus can do it too!
Engine and Drive-train:
Kyle: EJ253, with 4EAT automatic transmission
Tom: Williaty hybrid intake, 2.25” OBX Catback, Cobb Short throw + poly bushings
Kyle: Cragar 365 series V-5 wheels, 235/75R15 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTracs, 1" top hat spacers with Forester top hats and King raised springs to give the car 3" lift. Really hoping to swap over to a proper forester lift soon!
Tom: Forester XT strut assembly lift, Whiteline end-links, 20mm Subaru rear sway bar. Summer: 205/55/16 BFGoodrich Advantage T/A All seasons on white Sparco Terra wheels. Winter: 195/65/15 Bridgestone Blizzak on OEM Outback wheels.
Kyle: Yakima roof rack and basket, cut and rolled fenders, 32" LED light bar, and LED light pods
Tom: Gorilla Offroad rally bar/skid plate/D-rings. Gorilla Offroad mud flaps dipped green. Yakima Roof Rack. Hella 500 driving lights. Rally Accessories spot lights. CB antennae. ’06 Impreza trunk, STi wing. 2x Perrin stiffies. JDM Tails mod. Polish flag gas cap (kurwa!)
Kyle: World Rally Blue and Obsidian Black Pearl painted interior and CB radio
Tom: ’03 WRX steering wheel. ’03 WRX shift knob. Pioneer head unit
Tell us a little about yourself:
Kyle: I am a Customer Service Associate at Lowe's Home Improvement of Bolingbrook, IL working in the Tool department (thankfully). Some of my interests are, well Subarus, most Subarus built for either track, rally, or off-roading. Of course being from the UP of Michigan, I love to be in nature and trail riding. I enjoy off-roading in my beast, and I am also a bodybuilder. It can be considered a career, but I treat it more as a hobby. As well as those two, I love working on cars. Sure it pisses me off a few times here and there, but when I'm done I have such an amazing feeling that I don't know how to explain.
Tom: Right now, I’m a Mechanical Engineering Technology student at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. I work at the local Dairy Queen as a supervisor and their in-house maintenance guy. I’m big on the rally and off-road scene. We’ve got LSPR up here every fall and there are plenty of trails to run around on. When I find the time and money to get back into them, I also enjoy model railroading, slot cars, RC cars, and video games.
How did you guys meet one another?
Kyle: Tom and I actually met through one of the main car groups up in Houghton, MI called Common Stance. I became part of that group because of my brother and a few of my friends. It was a couple years ago, but he showed up to one of the summer meets and we both had a lifted Impreza 2.5RS, so we just started talking about them.
How did you get into cars?
Kyle: I don't really know when. I first got into cars because I've always really loved them. Me and my buddies back in high school would always talk about and dream about all our favorite cars. It really hit hard when I first got my Impreza and went to my first car meet.
Tom: I used to be a huge NASCAR fan when I was little. I played a lot of racing games and owned my fair share of RC cars. When I got close to being able to drive, I started browsing car sites to find something I could hope to own as a first car.
What is your dream car?
Kyle: I don't have one dream car, but two. Ever since I started loving cars however long ago it was, I have always wanted to own a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 or GT500CR (Eleanor). My second dream car that I'd probably kill for would be the 1998 Subaru Impreza 22b STI.
Tom: If money was no object, a Koenigsegg Agera R in white and black with blue trim. Given that’s unlikely, I really want to own a boosted, 6-speed SVX. I don’t think my current one will get that treatment, but I think it’s a reasonable goal if I get a clean shell.
What are your future plans for the car, and what do you like to do with it?
Kyle: My future plans for my Subie are to do a proper Forester suspension lift with aftermarket lifting springs to max out my suspension lift, and then to give it a 4.5" lift kit. Yes crazy, but, it'll be a beautiful monster when I'm trough with it. Maybe, way later in the future, Doing an EE20 turbo swap with a Subaru 5-speed Dual range swap and LSD's. I love to take my car down trails, and show her off at car meets and shows. The looks on people's faces and the speechlessness they have is a fun thing to watch!
Tom: The Impreza is going to get built for RallyX or stage rally once I graduate. I might still use it for winter depending on how dedicated it is.
Do either of you go by any nicknames?
Kyle: A couple of my nicknames are Dick, or Dicky. The first one started off with people trying to make fun of my last name but when they realized it never effected me, it just stuck.
Tom: The Four Wheelers of Michigan Tech will call me Subaru Tom, given I’m the only one so far to run a Subaru in their fall mud bog.
What's your favorite, and least favorite, thing about your car?
Kyle: My favorite thing is the way she looks, and just everything about her in general. Plus, the fact that she has a PA system. Honestly, I do love the motor, but I hate the lack of power it has to push these tires.
Tom: The RS has been an absolute tank. It’s had over 200k miles on the original motor and transmission and it runs like new, save for the occasional odd noises from the suspension. It’s remarkably capable for what it has and I love when trucks are surprised at how far it’ll go on a trail. With that said, it could use an extra gear. The RS was certainly built to cruise at 55mph on the highway. I sometimes wish I had more power at my disposal, since all my turbo friends tend to leave me in the dust on long straights.
What is your car like to drive?
Kyle: It's... well umm... it's an experience. There is really no other way to put it. It's not that the handling is bad, or superb. It is just the feeling it gives you.
Tom: The RS is a comfortable ride. The Forester suspension soaks up bumps in the road, but it’s also not too bad around corners. Once you get used to how the EJ253 behaves, it’s really easy to attack corners and keep pace with faster cars.
What was your inspiration or objective with your build?
Kyle: My inspiration honestly came from all my Jeep and truck buddies. When she was stock the ol' girl had a hard time keeping up with them. Now a days she keeps up and occasionally beats them in the trails. But mainly, my inspiration and objective is all myself. I do whatever I want to do, which makes me happy.
Tom: Rally cars, for sure. I want to push it more towards an African Safari Rally style build that’s more capable of handling rough terrain than it is for going fast.
Why did you choose a Subaru?
Kyle: Tough question. My brother kind of talked me into them. And after that, I just started learning more and more about them and now they are my favorite brand.
Tom: My dad has owned two Subarus since 2004. When I started looking at cars, I was looking heavily into DSM’s and drift cars until a video on Eagle Talons brought me to the SVX. I fell in love with the car and developed a loyalty to Subaru. Plus, with how much snow they get in Upper Michigan, AWD was a requirement.
What was your first car? Do you have any special stories with it that you would like to share?
Kyle: My first car is my Subaru. My favorite story was with Tom when we were both on a off-road chatty event in Houghton, MI. We were going through this 100-200 meter section of a trail that was just a water hole, and we both had waves of water going over our hoods. Me, more so than him. After getting out of the trail we both stopped and checked on our engines to make sure everything was alright. I had picked up a five foot long stick in my recovery chain on the front end, but needless to say we were both fine and kept going through the trails with everyone!
Tom: The RS is my first car too. The previous owner drove it daily up to 158k miles, and I’ve gone just about everywhere in that car too. I’ve run three mud bogs and beaten two trucks so far, done a midnight run to Copper Harbor and back in a blizzard, towed a Bronco out of the woods. There’s just so much I’ve done with it.
What makes your car special to you?
Kyle: Honestly, my car and I have a huge emotional bond nowadays. That car has been with me through a lot of difficult times in the past 3 years. That, and she was a gift from my father, which gives her a little more of a meaning to me.
Tom: It might be a slow pile of junk, but it’s my slow pile of junk. Even with its lack of power, I can always remind myself why I love it by hitting a dirt road or going up a trail.
Any memorable moments with your car that you would like to share?
Kyle: The first time I got the car is honestly the most memorable moment. Plus, showing up all my Jeep buddies in the trails, and showing up the trucks and Jeeps with Tom up in Houghton. But, definitely when I first got her.
Tom: Kyle and I went out on a relatively easy trail run with some trucks and Jeeps for the Copper County Humane Society. There was a Bronco, in particular, that was having overheating issues. We eventually left it behind while both Subies blazed through water, mud, burms, and everything the lead guy didn’t think we’d pass through. Once we were done, we realized we had to go back and get the Bronco out to the main road, so we sent my RS and a Silverado for safety. We hooked up the RS and dragged it out without a problem. The RS had the gearing to get going and keep going over the elevation changes. We got it all the way to the main road when the Bronco’s brakes blew out, it rolled over the strap, and made contact with my left rear bumper. Once we got the two unhooked, the bumper popped itself back out. I wasn’t complaining about a good day of wheeling and no damage.
Any shout-outs to anyone who helped you along the way?
Kyle: My father and my brother, and all my buddies up north would always help me, and then Tom.
Tom: D’Wells Automotive for the regular maintenance and major work I haven’t had time to do. The guys of Team Forester for helping with the head gaskets, specifically Peter Mika. Jerry’s Transmission Shop in Ripley MI, for reasons. SVXNation for their resources and information for my SVX, and the original owner of the Impreza, for keeping up on her maintenance and leaving an excellent running motor for me to learn on.