There is something to be said about Subaru brand loyalty; owners of the quirky company’s vehicles often assemble in mass numbers to pledge undying love for their favorite rally-inspired automaker. Nowhere is this loyalty more apparent than on the grounds of the nation’s largest all-Subaru festival, the Wicked Big Meet. Set up by the same SubieEvents team of masterminds who have created Boxerfest, Big Northwest Subaru Meet, and the Rocky Mountain Subaru Festival; yearly the Wicked Big Meet draws their largest crowd, which measured over 7,600 attendees in 2016.
Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut holds the annual Subaru meeting within the confines of its paddock, while the car show and spectator parking fill in every row of the gigantic grass parking lot. A sea of vehicles from the Subaru brand cover the ground from the entry point to the furthest reaches of the speedway’s property.
Companies like GrimmSpeed brought out a number of remarkable booth cars to show off new products and help to attract the crowd over to their area. This Factory Five 818R is a kit car normally pieced-together for track-day festivities, but fit in with this crowd perfectly thanks to its Subaru engine swap by iWire.
This car bends the rules completely, in the best way possible – the wild Toyota 86 from PrimeSMY didn’t feature the stock FA20 Boxer engine that normally finds its home in the compact sportscar. Instead, a single Garrett-turbocharged RB26 engine from a Nissan Skyline GT-R powers the bright blue Rocket Bunny-equipped Toyota. The car also features an all-wheel-drive drivetrain swap, which feeds its power to the wide Enkei RS05RR wheels at each corner.
Rally racing honors the company’s heritage, and Subaru’s continued involvement with the on-the-edge motorsport shows where their future lies. However, some private enthusiasts still prefer the tarmac to the gravel and find their joy driving their turbocharged flat four-cylinder engines down the quarter-mile. This pair of STIs – armed with Hoosier slicks and matching drag wheels – displayed their high horsepower numbers and their best elapsed times for everyone to see.
The grey STI creates 550 horsepower from its turbocharged boxer powerplant and has run a best time of 10.1 seconds with a 144 mile-per-hour trap speed at the dragstrip.
Meanwhile, the blue STI generates a more-extreme 721 horsepower number, which helps to push its best time at the ‘strip down to 9.8 seconds with a 150 mile-per-hour measurement through the traps.
No Limit Motorsport brought out this white Hawkeye with its hood removed. This showed the attendees its rotated Garrett turbocharger, Process West intake manifold, and custom hood-exit exhaust setup. The polished three-piece CCW Classic wheels on the exterior and bright red Bride seats/panels on the interior completed its modified package.
RavSpec consistently represents the Subaru community in style with the cars outside of their booth, including this blue Blobeye STI equipped with a rare and discontinued Cusco front lip and wide Weds Maverick wheels mounted over an Endless big brake kit inside the fenders.
You may remember this black Bugeye WRX from our coverage of last year’s Wicked Big Meet when it was parked in the show field in the gravel parking lot. This year, it’s been upgraded to park inside the event, as the Airlift Performance airbag suspension-equipped sedan found its place in the Bag Riders booth. With a multitude of colors present throughout the chassis – including a slight green flake in the paint – its rare Maziora-painted Bride seats continued the flush of vibrance into the interior.
It also showcased the most unique air tank setup at the event. Mounted inside the trunk was a faux shop layout complete with checkerboard floor, a miniature version of the car, and hydraulic lifts.
Speaking of unique, Subaru’s four-door Baja truck model is rarely modified, especially to have a lower ride height than stock. But this particular example uses an Airlift Performance airbag suspension setup to sink the body down over a set of three-piece gold-faced Work VS-XX wheels. The exterior has been finished up with a truck bed cap from A.R.E. and a subtle HID-headlight retrofit for improved night vision.
Kendrick Gray, owner of gray.auto.design, definitely had the longest commute of the event. Gray drove his truck and trailer – with STI racecar in tow – from his hometown of Seattle, Washington across the country to Connecticut just for the Wicked Big Meet event. And I thought my 4.5-hour trip was bad!
Initially only interested to see how his car stacked up against the competition outside of the Pacific Northwest, Gray was pleasantly surprised when his STI took home the Best of Show honors. Each and every aspect of the car has been modified to improve its appearance or to lower lap times when it sees the racetrack. The entire chassis shows the passion injected into the build; from its inspiring overhauled engine bay complete with external reservoirs for the JRZ race suspension, to its stripped and painted interior filled with bars from a custom rollcage, to the Sparco racing seats accompanied by Schroth Racing harnesses, each detail was well thought-out and executed.
Much to the delight of the off-road enthusiasts, the grounds of WBM feature a large grass hill, which can easily be conquered through the use of Subaru’s famous symmetrical AWD system – and raised ride height to match.
The view from atop this hill overlooks the spectator parking lot of the massive Wicked Big Meet event. The rows are all stuffed with various models from the highlighted manufacturer stretching though the vast expanse of the lot’s dimensions.
Located in the sectioned-off car show area, this significantly modified Bugeye WRX grabbed immediate attention due to its bright yellow paint scheme, then kept attendees attention through polished accessories located throughout the chassis.
The yellow scheme covered the entire exterior and transitioned into the trunk, where a custom fuel cell and pump setup feed the engine. The polished Enkei RPF1 wheels carried the shine from the engine bay back onto the exterior of the car.
Adopting the style of VIP cars, this right-side-drive Bugeye wagon was dramatically lowered over a set of three-piece Art In Motion wheels, finished in stunning chrome and secured together with copper hardware.
Although the event was filled with impressive machines, a walk through the seemingly endless parking lot still yielded a diamond in the rough. The 2.5RS Impreza was available during Subaru’s heyday, when unstoppable star driver Colin McRae led their World Rally Championship winning team. Its coupe body shape, large wings, and AWD-system were only missing one crucial ingredient to make it the ultimate production vehicle: a turbocharger. This particular RS has been swapped with a newer engine, drivetrain, and hubs from an STI model, giving it the power it should have received when it was originally released. The professionally built white rollcage and use of the newer STI interior are a nice finishing touch on this Impreza.
Historically, Subaru of America rolls out some of the brand’s most coveted models and racecars for these types of events, and this year’s WBM was no different with the inclusion of Colin McRae’s world-famous Impreza. Arguably one of the most iconic cars in the brand’s history, this car powered Subaru to three manufacturer championships and three driver championships in World Rally Championship (WRC) competition during the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.
They also debuted their new Series.Yellow Subaru BRZ. This new 2017 model features enhanced taillights, a newly-designed front bumper and spoiler, a unique yellow paint scheme, and matching yellow accented interior pieces.
We’ll close out our coverage of this enormous Subaru showcase with scenes from the raffle and award ceremony, which concludes the day’s festivities in front of a flood of attendees. Other than windy conditions and a surge of clouds at the end of the day, it was another successful event for the crew of Wicked Big Meet; we enjoyed covering the festivities!