Build-Your-Own tS: Transforming a Subaru BRZ, Piece by Pink-Badged Piece

When the FRS and BRZ were released, the masses saw a blank canvas powered by a flat four. Wide body kits, wings and wheels were developed by numerous manufacturers to be used as paint in each owner’s individual piece of work; and while many owners opted to splash together pigments from multiple companies, others decided to work in more subtle tonalities. Today’s feature is certainly of the latter camp.

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When Derek purchased his BRZ, the car was never going to stay stock for long. Having owned and modified multiple cars in the past, it was only a matter of time until the car sat on STi Enkei wheels, got a tune, and had the first of multiple exhaust setups installed. Eventually, Derek ponied up for his current setup: the JDM STi Sports Muffler system.

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Looking over the car, it’s easy to miss just how many parts have been touched and replaced to add to the OEM+ look. For example, the lug nuts and valve stem caps are even emblazoned with the STi badging.

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Of course that’s not to say the larger aspects of the car have been overlooked. The large 4.7-inch tips of the axleback exhaust shipped over from Japan and reflective STi GT wing do well to frame the TOMS tail lights in the rear.

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By this point, Derek had long passed the point of no return with the build. The Japan-only tS (tuned by STi) became the new final vision, and with it the STi badging and not-so-overnight parts from Japan kept on coming. Inside the car, the first thing that jumps out is the genuine STi airbag in the center of the TRD MOMO steering wheel.

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Normally, shipping an airbag would be difficult, as the explosive built into the airbag is a hazardous material item. This limits the way items can legitimately be shipped and drastically increases shipping costs. That being said, the help of a friend goes a long way in the car community and this case is no different. After Tokyo Auto Salon 2016, Derek placed the order from Subaru Japan and had a buddy pick it up from the distribution center, remove the airbag and ship over the decorative leather shell. All that was left was installation and voila! — yet another pink badge on the build.

Throughout the rest of the cabin, pretty much every surface that could be covered in alcantara has been. JPM Coachworks alcantara shifter and handbrake boots, speaker pads, knee pads, dash, gauge cluster hood and upper door panels have all given the interior a very cohesive feeling.

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The tuning continues under the hood where an E85 setup, TRD intake and Fujitsubo headers, front pipe and overpipe port the exhaust back to the aforementioned tips in the rear. In addition, eight more parts — covered in the spec sheet at the end of this article — display the pink STi color or badging.

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With all that out of the way, the real kernel of the tS gets its time in the limelight. Over time, Derek has replaced and upgraded nearly every bit of suspension, steering component and subframe. Increased road feel, stiffness and responsiveness are just desserts for his and Auto Tuned’s efforts.

However, one shouldn’t think these parts are Craigslist used-for-a-season aftermarket parts. Each part was factory-developed and tested specifically for the tS. From the flexible tower and V-bars up top to the entire rear subframe assembly and spring/damper combo below, over 15 different parts have been installed to work in concert with one another.

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Since purchasing his BRZ in 2013, Derek has slowly pieced together the most complete tS build in the United States, one pink STi badge at a time. His next step is purchasing the Recaro driver and passenger seats, adding yet another facet of customization to the car. For his effort, even after Subaru brings the tS to the U.S. in 2018, he will continue to own the most accurate recreation of the JDM tS to date.

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TUNING MENU

2013 Subaru BRZ Limited

OWNER Derek So
HOMETOWN Irvine, CA
ENGINE Church Automotive EcuTek E85 Tune; Delicious Tuning Flex Fuel Kit; STi sports exhaust muffler, engine mounts, transmission mounts, oil filter, battery tie down, radiator cap, oil filler cap; TRD performance air intake; Fujitsubo Super EX exhaust manifold, front pipe, over pipe; Driveshaft Shop carbon fiber 1-piece driveshaft; Subaru FA20DIT oil cooler, blue engine cover
SUSPENSION STi tS sport springs, dampers, rear subframe assembly, rear axles, steering rack assembly; STi flexible tower bar, flexible V-bars, flexible draw stiffener, rear subframe bushings, differential bushings, rear trailing links, rear control arms, rear toe links, front sway bar bushings, steering rack bushings; Cusco 16mm front and rear sway bars; TRD door stabilizer set; Subaru underpanel set
WHEELS 18"x7.5" STi Enkei wheels, STi wheel nut set, valve stem cap set
EXTERIOR STi tS carbon GT wing, trunk spoiler, rear emblem, STi front and rear emblems, fender garnishes, dayliner cover extension, pinstripe set; STi front lip spoiler, side skirts, rear spats; Subaru rear diffuser; Tom's LED taillights; Helix JDM crystal smoke side markers; Beat-Sonic FDA9 shark fin antenna
INTERIOR STi push button start, 6AT shift knob, tS airbag cover; TRD MOMO steering wheel; Toyota EDM GT86 armrest, JDM rear armrest; Subaru EDM carpet mat set; JPM Coachworks Alcantara 6AT shift boot, handbrake boot, speaker pad set, knee pad set, one-piece dash panel, upper door panel, custom gauge cluster hood; Yospeed center console plaque
THANKS Big thanks to Young Tea and AutoTuned, Japanparts, Sandy Lirag of OEM Audio+, Erik Kwon of Beat Sonic, Kenji Inoue of Cusco, and Delicious Tuning!

To see more of Derek's BRZ, check out the photo gallery below.

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