Christmas time means it’s a very special time of year. Yes, it’s the Hooniverse Car of the Year. What I love about HCOTY is that we get to celebrate cars we find during the year that are different and unique. This nomination comes to you all the way from Australia.
I spotted this awesome modified Subaru Forester at the Subinats Event held at Phillip Island. It’s awesome to see that someone had gone to the trouble to modify their Forester by turning it into a custom off roader.
It’s not the kind of car you expect to see at Subaru Show and Shine Event. Sitting next to the Forester was a Subaru BRZ with a V8 under the bonnet and a few cars over was a mint Subaru Impreza WRX 22B, so this muddied up machine stood out. I found the owner, Tim O’Connor, to find out a little more about the car.
So over to Tim to tell the story about the Foresters life from car yard to where it is today:
Having grown up around Patrols and Land Cruisers, I’ve always been into the off-road scene. My first 4×4 I bought was a gq swb Patrol modified with 35’s, 4″ of lift, and lockers. It went almost everywhere I needed but also being a pretty keen fisherman up in the Vic high country there were a few of my favourite spots that I couldn’t get the Patrol into because of how tight and narrow the tracks are.
So I got thinking and thought I’d buy a Suzuki Sierra. Being a lot smaller would get me into all the spots I need to without destroying the Patrol. That’s when I stumbled across the completely stock Forester in a car yard and to my surprise when I looked through the window it had a factory fitted hi/lo range gearbox. The thought of buying a Sierra pretty much vanished as I now wanted to build something very different, and the best part is it’s just as small as the Suzuki and a lot more comfortable.
After purchasing the Forester then and there I was on the hunt for some new mud terrains and a lift. After only a month of ownership the angle grinder came out for a full body chop and the 31″ mud terrains where fitted. Whilst it did the job I started getting more adventurous and really needed a lift kit.
After speaking with Josh Watts (the owner of Foztrek) he directed me over to a company in America that makes lift kits for the forester. I bought a 2.5″ lift off them and had it at my door steep in just over a week. After installing the lift it was time to push the Forester and see how far I can really get it to go and much to my surprise it tackled all the same tracks my Nissan Patrol had done with ease. Whether it be big hill climbs or deep over the bonnet river crossings it did it, and I could now comfortably drive the car through all the tight over grown and squishy tracks I couldn’t do in the Patrol.
Then I needed some bar work. Having access to a TJM Landcruiser front winch bar and a Ford ranger rear ARB bar, I found myself with the angle grinder and welder in hand again and made it all fit as well as making up a quick spare tyre mount as the spare 31″ tyre wouldn’t fit in the spare tyre wheel well.
The forester being N/A had enough go in it to do the stuff I needed it to but I missed the feeling of hitting and hearing boost on the tracks. I dragged out all the old turbo gear from my 4th-gen Subaru Liberty and various WRX STI parts, and bolted it all onto the Forester. I then gave Matt from Throttle Happy Tuning Solutions a call and he flew down to tune the car for its new mods. It is now quite a lot of fun to drive.
The progression from Car yard to Bush basher.
Check out some video of Tim in action taking the Forester off road
So for Tim, dedication to the task of building an awesome off-road version of his Forester, I award him a well-earned nomination for HCOTY 2017. Voting will begin just before the end of the year. I mean who doesn’t appreciate a guy that is willing to take an angle grinder to his car to create his cream car.
Meanwhile, follow Tim and his adventures on Instagram @timbow268
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