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Hard to the Core: 2006 Subaru WRX TR

There are many different things that motivate us to do what we do. For some it's money, many it's fame and a lot of us do things just to get girls. Chris Dunbar of Kennewick, Washington might have had those same factors pushing him when putting together his previous four cars (a 500-hp Honda Civic, JDM Acura Integra GS-R, Ford Focus SVT, BMW 5-Series). This time around, however, Dunbar had a very meaningful reason when starting to get hardcore into the build of his 2006 Subaru WRX – his late father.

When his father passed away, Chris wanted to dedicate the three-year build to the man who inspired him and helped make his car one of the most competitive show cars nationwide. Like many of us, the car started off as a daily driver back in his college days and, again, like many of us, he couldn't leave the car stock for very long as his college apartment started filling up with aftermarket parts like an '80s sketch comedy. After his father passed away, Chris' goal for his WRX was to transform it into something both Dunbars would be proud of. And, since they had always talked about going to the biggest automotive event in the U.S. (SEMA) together, it was important for the car to be SEMA-worthy. Nothing would deter him.

Hard to the Core: 2006 Subaru WRX TR Hard to the Core: 2006 Subaru WRX TR

They say that looks can be deceiving, but there's nothing about Dunbar's WRX that gives off a hint of subtlety starting with the eye catching ZR1-Jetstream candy blue custom paint job by Mobworks. He went with a Zerosports body kit that consists of front and rear bumpers and side skirts, but couldn't leave it at that. For those of us that have faced the frustration of trying to jack up a lowered car with a body kit, Dunbar and co. were able to solve the problem vis a vis an AP/Brando-built air jack system.

Seibon carbon fiber wide fenders give the WRX an even more aggressive look than the car has been known to have. On top of those Dunbar used custom Carbon Kartlon over-flares to pretty much ensure he will never be able to park his beauty in a normal-sized parking spot. To enhance the already-dazzling looks of the WRX and lighten-up the chassis as well, more carbon fiber pieces found their way on the car, including the hood, trunk and roof. A custom aluminum rear under spoiler and Zerosports splitter help keep the car planted at high speed.

Hard to the Core: 2006 Subaru WRX TRVlado Jancev of V's Performance went ahead and gave the car an engine bay and trunk shave, leaving the car looking smoother than Scarlet Johansson's legs. But, only true enthusiasts would notice the attention-to-detail Dunbar has put into his car like the '05 taillights, JDM headlights and the Syms windshield wiper blades.

While the stock WRX boxer motor is strong, it was definitely in need of some reinforcement to withstand the 535 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque Dunbar intended to put to the wheels. A Cosworth long block stuffed with the company's billet crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons made the bottom end more than secure for the excess boost it needed to handle from the Full Race GT4088R turbo. Cosworth also got its hands on the top end with a port and polish job as well as a set of 278/280 cams while petrol delivery is handled via a Walbro fuel pump, Corsa Veloce billet fuel rails and massive 2,200 cc Injector Dynamics fuel injectors.

For additional intake flow, a big bore throttle body and intake manifold open up the passageways to the head so the final mixture can be completely atomized inside the combustion chambers. Any engine with this type of work done to it will accumulate and intense amount of heat, so Process West has fabricated a V-mount setup to provide equal cooling distribution to both the intercooler and radiator. On the exit route, the exhaust gases make their way out through a Full Race turbo manifold and custom four-inch exhaust with a Burns Ti muffler. Even with the engine just sitting at idle, surely this combination is enough to wake up the neighbors from three counties over. Tuner Tim Bailey managed to spin the dyno rollers to 490 hp on just a break-in map. Beyond just the scope of creating horsepower, V's Performance and Pacific Import Auto have both done extensive amounts of work to the engine bay to make it look nothing like the clunky mess of its former self.

Though Dunbar' WRX collects trophies like Jay-Z collects platinum albums, it's more than just a show car and is more-than-equipped to handle the roughest track conditions. The Stance GR+ Pro adjustable suspension was just the beginning; Whiteline adjustable front and rear sway bars keep the 18-inch 24K gold HRE 590R wheels and ultra-wide 315/30R18 Falken 615K tires planted to the asphalt. And, with 600 hp propelling his WRX, Dunbar was in need of something that could stop the 3,000 pounds of mass at any instant. As such, Movit billet six-piston brake calipers take care of the clamping up front with four-piston units doing it in the rear. Extra stopping power comes from massive 15-inch two-piece drilled and slotted brake rotors, custom braided lines and ceramic pads.