When the STi first came on the scene, Subaru only offered it in four colors: Aspen White, Obsidian Black Pearl, Platinum Silver Metallic and the company’s flagship World Rally Blue. This car’s owner, John Darling, felt the blue Alcantara that accented the interior complemented three of these paint colors quite well; however, the silver was “sort of left out.” It wasn’t until 2006, when Subaru decided to release its limited-edition example featuring black leather, that the owner began considering another option for his 2004 Subaru STi.

Inspired by European and Japanese luxury sports cars, he worked with Ceballos Customs in Tempe, Arizona, to build a new custom interior, hoping to achieve something classy yet subtle. As such, the key features include leatherette-wrapped A-, B- and C-pillars with red seat belts, as well as limited-edition Cusco/Bride reclining front bucket seats, with a custom-upholstered rear seat to match. The blue Alcantara focal point in the original STi was reimagined with black Alcantara for this example, leading to additional wrapping on the headliner, rear seat deck, parking brake handle, parking brake boot, armrest and steering wheel. The final touches included rare Defi BF amber gauges, a matte black S204 center-console trim, a Zoom Engineering carbon-fiber rearview mirror and rare Prova floor mats.

This Subaru’s owner felt it needed a performance package to complement the upgraded interior and opted to drop in a Cosworth-built short-block engine featuring Cosworth forged pistons, a balanced billet crank and Carrillo rods. The ported heads house Cosworth oversized valves and high-rev springs coupled with Brian Crower 280 camshafts. This built block bumped the car’s redline from the factory 7,200 rpm to an elevated 8,500 rpm. All these enhancements are put to work with a hybrid, stock-location Garrett GTX3582 turbo, an APS DR525 front-mount intercooler and a Cosworth high-flow intake manifold. The engine breathes though headers and a titanium cat-back exhaust from Tomei.

Fortune Auto 500 Series coilovers with Swift springs ensure the car handles its power very smoothly on the street. Radium Engineering delivered a top-notch fuel system, which works hand in-hand with a COBB Tuning flex fuel setup. The result is an impressive 550 wheel horsepower and 485 wheel torque at 26 psi.

The vision for the exterior styling was to retain the original look – with some added aggression. The car features a Cusco front lip and chin, but instead of simply bolting the part on, DNA Concepts molded it into the factory bumper for a much cleaner and sleeker appearance. To match the front, the rear bumper had JDM rear aprons molded into the factory bumper, which were coupled with an APR carbon-fiber rear diffuser. As the factory hood scoop was no longer needed, the hood was replaced with a reverse cowl carbon-fiber hood from Kaminari Aerodynamics, giving it a more streamlined appearance. To complete the look, a set of Chargespeed side skirts and a Carbon8 adjustable carbon-fiber rear spoiler were added. The final touch came with the Enkei RS05RR racing wheels, sized 9.5×18, wrapped in Nitto NT05 tires, giving the car a bolder stance.

This Subaru was the Best of Show winner from the 2019 FCCS — it embodies collectability with period-correct modifications that are no longer in production and difficult to locate. See its return to the Future Collector Car Show, held January 22 on the Polo Field at WestWorld of Scottsdale as part of the 2023 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. Keep up with FCCS on Instagram at @FutureCollectorCarShow.