In early November, a friendly IWSTI member posted that Subaru rolled out a 0% financing offer to move 2008 models and make room for the 2009 models. When Chris Kaminski from Heuberger Motors contacted me about becoming a vendor, I was already in the midst of a decision to either purchase a 135i or an STI. The lease on my Tribeca was coming up in a few weeks and I wanted to get back into another performance vehicle.
In June of 2003, I picked up one of the first STIs that arrived in North America. At the time, every dealer in California with 2004 STIs in stock marked up the STIs several thousands of dollars above MSRP, forcing me to look outside the state. I used Subaru's dealer locator tool and called almost every dealer with inventory West of the Mississippi River. Only two dealerships had the color I wanted: Platinum Silver Metallic; one in Colorado and another in Utah.
To make a long story short, I flew to Utah to pick up and drive home my first Subaru ever, let alone first STI. That car was responsible for the rebirth of my mod addiction and I became all too familiar what the term 'JDM' stood for and the premium price tag it carried. JDM S202 Titanium Exhaust, JDM Spec-C Black seats and interior, JDM Recaro Sport Seats, JDM Pinks and Group N Mounts, JDM Spec-C Carbon Fiber Front Strut Bar, JDM Fog Lights, and a JDM Ring & Pinion Conversion were just a few of the JDM goodies I scored directly from Japan at different times during the life of the STI. It was a dream come true when I got the chance to travel to Japan, ride in, and film the Subaru STI S203
In 2006, I needed a vehicle that could carry several passengers comfortably and carry a lot of the camera gear for HSPN Networks when needed. The 2006 Subaru Tribeca
was out and the promotions Subaru rolled out to get more of these on the road was too appealing to pass up. Unfortunately, the dual Subaru family didn't last. I sold the STI so I could invest the money in the company.
Three years later, my interest in acquiring another performance vehicle surfaced and the 135i looked very appealing for its performance numbers and aftermarket mod potential. It offered zero utility, but the 135i had a twin-turbocharged motor that produced similar performance numbers as the STI and it was a step up in terms of styling. In spite of similar starting price tags (the 135i's price climbs much quicker and higher as more options are added), I was still in love with Subaru's All Wheel Drive system. I knew it was going to take a little more to get me to pull the trigger on the 135i and I decided to wait and see how my friend's 135i performed with an ECU and exhaust upgrade.
That day never came. When Chris told me about the other incentives Subaru was offering to move the 2008 STI, I was sold. Those incentives made the STI such an incredible bargain that any Subaru enthusiast would snatch up an STI before all of the the 2008 STIs were gone.
Chris and I did the math. I determined that navigation and bluetooth weren't necessary and I didn't care for the BBS wheels because I expected to replace the wheels and tires within a short time of owning the car. Chris didn't even pressure me to make an initial offer. Instead, he gave me the best deal without negotiating so, of course, I said, "What's the catch?" He explained that this was how Heuberger Motors did business; they like to win customers who will then come back for their next Subaru and refer their family and friends. I suppose that their business philosophy is working since Heuberger sells the most Subarus in the country and is on pace this year to set the record for most Subarus sold in a year in North America.
The deal was done in November, but I remained torn on what color to get so I decided to seek the advice of IWSTI's fellow enthusiasts
while working with a designer to create various mockups of a complete car wrap (graphics package). The designer came recommended because his designs have appeared on several cars featured on the covers of various performance magazines. With the advice of IWSTI's members and the concepts he sent me, I narrowed down my color choice between either Obsidian Black Pearl or Aspen White.
Unfortunately, Chris explained that they had sold out of the these colors in the short time since we last spoke; IWSTI forum members had gobbled up 20+ STIs from Heuberger Motors at this point. Chris mentioned that more STIs in those colors were scheduled to arrive, but they came the BBS and fog light package. I told him that I needed another week to think about it since it added another $2,000 to the price tag.
The first week of December was upon us and an upcoming vacation meant that I had to make a decision. I called Chris's cell phone and asked him whether he had any Aspen White STIs left on the lot from the latest batch delivered from the docks. "One of your members flew in and picked up their STI today, and I sold another white one to another guy on the forums. Only one remains."
"I decided on the Aspen White. Put a sold sign on it and let me know when we can get it on a car carrier and delivered," I said.
I arranged for the car to be delivered to a friend's house since I was out of town until December 28th. I remember flying back into LA, driving to my friend's house, opening the garage, and seeing the car for the first time. I had always loved Aspen White and everyone in the automotive industry seems to agree that white makes the perfect sponsor canvas on any project vehicle.
From a distance, I noticed that the car was filthy. It came on a 12 car transport with 11 other STIs delivered between here and Colorado. The open trailer combied with the weather front that slammed the West Coast in early December covered the cars with dirt and grime, but some Subarus still look good dirty!
The paperwork I had signed stated that the STI had 12 miles on it. Of course, I immediately checked the odometer to see whether anybody had any fun with it between the time it left the dealership and arrived on the trailer. Sure enough, it still had 12 miles!
The car fired right up and that oh so familiar boxer sound filled the parking garage. On the drive home, I studied the STI's dash board and instrumentation cluster. The STI's SI-Drive was the first thing that stood out. In fact, a small solid triangle blinked when the RPM reached approximately 3,000 rpm. A quick review of the panel identified this as a shift indicator light that appears when SI-Drive is in Intelligent Mode and reflects the optimal shift point to acheive maximum fuel economy.