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Forester Sports 2.5 XT Concept





The first thing Tuesday morning, the Forester Concept was dropped off at The Tint Connection, which is nearby RSE. There, tinting film was applied to the side windows, liftgate, and moonroof.


Upon its return to Paul Ludgate’s shop, the Forester was placed on a lift, and the team started working on the powertrain and chassis components.


The team removed the standard struts to replace them with STI adjustable struts and springs. The new struts were tightened to lower the vehicle – making this Forester Sports look even more aggressive. Putting on the STI 18-inch wheels with Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R 245/45 R18 unidirectional tires and lowering the lift to see the Forester on the ground confirmed how mean this vehicle was going to appear!


The tires were brand new to the market – to be introduced the next week at the SEMA Show. Adjustments allowed clearance between the tires and the struts.


All four men were working on the Concept vehicle now, acting separately or in teams of two, three, or four as tasks demanded.


Throughout the day, the team installed JDM High Intensity Discharge headlight assemblies, Hella horns, and suspension components. Brackets and other parts from the stock five-speed were attached to a spare Impreza WRX STI six-speed shifter brought to the shop from Easy Street Motorsports. After the team removed the five-speed transmission and clutch, an STI clutch, flywheel, and throw-out bearings were installed.


The brake rotors and calipers were replaced by heat-coated gold DBA cross-drilled and chamfered rotors and gold Brembo calipers. STI braided stainless-steel brake lines replaced the stock lines. Brake and axle work drew first blood – from Paul – in early afternoon.


Aluminum STI front A-arms and rear links were installed, along with STI front and rear sway bars.


Installation of the six-speed transmission required considerable leverage to tilt the engine enough to line up with the transmission. Then a WRX STI driveshaft and R180 rear differential were added to the driveline.


Meanwhile, the appearance of the engine compartment was improved by replacing the stock oil and radiator caps with SPT and STI caps. Further dress-up came from an SPT battery hold down.


Work on the Forester Concept went well into the night.


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