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Author: Julius Bloem  Date Posted:13 June 2019 

James' GC8 was a show-stopper in its past life, and a failed engine made for a great excuse to install a power plant to do the car justice.

James' GC8 was a show-stopper in its past life, and a failed engine made for a great excuse to install a power plant to do the car justice.

Back in the 2000's when the Autosalon days were in full swing, huge wide-body conversions, shaved panels and big chrome wheels were all the rage. Somewhere, somehow, someone got a hold of a high-performing version 3 WRX STI RA and went to town and turned it into a big baby blue show-stopper. The glory days of this style had well and truely past when James got ahold of the car. After a few good drives, the engine was also history. To give the car a new lease on life, James teamed up with the PBMS team and setabout ditching the 20 inch chromies and building a high-tech engine package.


To piece together a strong engine that can handle far more than factory intended, factory block was binned in favour of a closed deck EJ20 item. This then had the full catalogue of parts thrown at it, with a stroker 79mm crankshaft with matching pistons and rods to increase the engine size.

EJ20 stroker 2.14L (aka 2.2L)

  • PBMS prepped block
  • Oil gallery modification
  • 79mm Crankshaft
  • Eagle Forged rods
  • JE Stroker Forged Pistons
  • Group N Race Bearing
  • 12mm Oil Pump


Cylinder head technology has advanced since 1997 when the car was produced. For this engine we opted to use later model STI heads with intake AVCS (variable valve timing). This would allow for a wider power band and more response - ideal for driving on the road or track. To improve flow, the PBMS Stage 2 port and polish was used in conjunction with Kelford cams and valve springs.

High flow V7 STI heads

  • PBMS stage 2 port and polish
  • Kelford 272 camshafts
  • Kelford valve springs
  • ARP Head studs
  • Camshafts dialled in and balanced

Turbo upgrade

Continuing with the response and power theme started by the stroker engine and later model heads, we reached straight for the high tech EFR7670 turbo. This was coupled with a twin scroll exhaust housing (1.05 AR) and Turbosmart 45mm watergate.  

The entire exhaust manifold was ditched in favour for a twin scroll variant, again to bring the power on early. A PBMS twisted turbo adapted was used to hold the ERF7670 in place.

ECU and EFI components

The RA has received a simple and effective setup to control the engine and supply fuel.

  • Link ECU G4+ plug in ECU
  • Bosch 1000cc Injectors
  • Walbro 465 intank fuel pump
  • Tomei Type L fuel pressure regulator
  • Split fuel rails


Moving to later model heads meant the factory Version 3 intake manifold would no longer fit. We chose to use a high flowing and impressive looking OE Subaru intake manifold off a Legacy. This wasn't a simple bolt-on, however has proven to flow well across the rev range. Other extras such as a custom 100mm thick intercooler kit and downpipe were fabricated as part of the package.


Jame's STI is amazing to drive on the road. The engine package works incredibly well together to give a very smooth and responsive package, achieving full boost as early as 3800rpm on the road, with power growing as the revs increase.

On the dyno it made 345kw on pump 98 at 29psi. The future will likely see a switch to E85, once the transmission has been upgraded to suit. We're pretty sure that even in its current state, the big engine package finally does the body justice.

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