Well, here I go again. Or should I say, here my ADHD goes again! I had an absolute blast building up the Outta Sight Racing 1972 Honda SL350 Baja race bike. If there is one thing I am good at, it is finding the right people and putting them together and then letting the magic happen. In the case of the Honda, the OSR crewmembers were the real heroes, and thanks to all of their efforts, we were able to finish both the 2011 and 2012 Mexican 1000 Rally and won our class both years. And all of this from a bunch of Baja Virgins! When I got back home from this year’s race, I was already thinking about what to do next year. Although I absolutely love the SL350, I thought it would be fun to build a tribute bike to Bill Bell’s game-changing Bell 440, and race it in 2013. My wife Laura was subjected to hours of my bench-racing...until she had enough and said, “I think I want to go next year.” I said, “chase?” And she said, “No, I want to race it with you.” :eek1 That’s how it started. Ray the welder and I had been kicking around the idea of building a Baja bug. See, Ray is a VW guy, and this is something he always wanted to do. However, I thought that I wanted a race platform that might offer a little more comfort for Laura and my first racecar effort. I know, hard core. I was looking at vintage, in order to stay within the spirit of the Mexican 1000, and came real close to taking on an early 80’s AMC eagle wagon project. But then, I thought I’d rather have something a little more modern. Then I thought; “Rally Car.” Subaru rally car. I had owned at least 4 Subaru’s over years and love them. NORRA had a Rally Car class that no one was insane enough to run. Perfect. I started researching what car I wanted to use. I seriously looked at vintage subies, but they are horribly slow and, well slow. I then thought about an early 90’s Loyales, because I had one for a decade here in Oregon and it never let me down...and it is still being driven around the roads on the coast, by a stoned hippie probably with no insurance....so beware of a 1991 gun-metal gray subie near Manzanita...with smokey-haze inside the cabin :jose Still, I wanted something that would actually have some power. I mean at least over 100 horsepower! I decided on a 1998 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. I really hadn’t solidified my concept for the project, but I really like the looks of these cars. It was modern enough and had the bulletproof 2.2 L boxer with the 5-speed manual. I wasn’t sure about a lot of things at this stage, but I knew I did not want your standard rally car; a 2 or 4 door Impreza. I wanted the wagon, because in a 4 day endurance rally, I would need to carry spares...lots of spares. I sold my 2007 V-Strom to buy this new project, a bittersweet moment as that bike was a lot of fun. However, there is only so much time to do hobbies....speaking of which; anyone interested in a flat-bottomed fishing boat that is sitting in my driveway? Oh yeah, that’s another thing, I haven’t mentioned. After two years of running the M1K with a proper chase crew, I also wanted to plan on running the 2013 M1K as simply (see cheaply) as possible. That means, being as self-sufficient as possible, just in case there are no chase vehicles. The Outback Sport ran fine, was nimble and handled great, but it had several oil seal leaks that needed addressing. I decided to turn to Craig’s List to see if I could find a Subaru specific mechanic for some assistance. This proved to be one of the smartest things I did. I do seem to have a knack for attracting the right people at the right time. In then case, I contacted David from Apple Automotive in Vancouver, WA from his CL ad. We emailed back and forth and talked about him doing the work on my motor. I got a good feel from this guy, he seemed honest and forthcoming and was even offering a warranty for his work. I finally wrote him this email: And here was David’s reply: And with that, it began! David and I worked out a financial agreement and he pulled the motor and installed a motor he had on his floor so the car could be ridden hard and worked on while he built the race motor. David reminds me of my friend Luke, in that he is a stickler for details and is some sort of a savant when it comes to certain things. David is an ASE Master Technician and has been working on cars for more than 30 years. He is like the auto doppelganger to my moto-mechanic Gary Strange; At least in practice. They are both weird dudes but for totally different reasons...lol. I loved that David was looking toward the Subaru aviation motors to gain insight into building the most reliable normally aspirated Subaru boxer motor possible. I mean, airplane motors have to be reliable....right? Oh yeah, forgot to mention that the NORRA rules prohibit turbo motors, so that is why we weren’t even considering a turbo power plant. Also, using an older car meant that when we wrecked something, I wouldn’t be into damages in the thousands. It was during the next few months that I realized that David is an amazing mechanic, who has skillz that thrill. The proof is in the details of the motor build. Which will be soon to follow. We decided that we needed some parts stock. I bought this wrecked Forester from the local tow yard for just a couple of hundred bucks. We trailered the car to Ray's shop and tore it down there. Ray hates anything Japanese, loves German anything. David hates working on anything German. It was a match made in heaven! We had a blast! It was fun watching David work. He set up his work station and had that motor and tranny out in no time. He focuses only on Subaru and he is damn efficient at it. Ray had no problem tearing into the Japanese car... This gave David a recently rebuilt motor and a good transmission among other parts to resell which would help to offset his expenses and time for working on the OSR race motor. For me it was just fun to tear the car apart and see how they go together. By the time we were done, it was merely a shell. I took it to the scrap yard and with that and selling a few other parts from it, we made back much more than what I paid for the car in the first place! This teardown was a good exercise. I did the same thing with the Honda build. I tore down a couple of old bikes, collecting parts and seeing how everything was put together. This helped me get comfortable with the machine and for me is a necessary part of the build process. For those that don’t know, Subaru’s are often referred to as Lego cars. Many parts fit many models from many years. It reminded me of the old Honda. This is great for the budget builder because you can often find an OEM solution from another car that will improve characteristics of your car. A good example of this with the Sube is simply using strut assemblies from a Forester on an Impreza for instant lift. This will come up later in this story... Ok. I guess that’s as good a start as any. Next up: Every project needs a vision. Spoiler alert: David did come through and its one sweet motor!