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Impreza S5 WRC Replica

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  • Impreza S5 WRC Replica

    Hi All,

    I've been lurking on Back Roads for some time and have been meaning to set up a project thread for a while. I have been building a 1997/98 Prodrive WRC S5 Replica since 2009 out of a V6 STI Type R Impreza. A wee taster of the car as how it stand at the minute...

    IMG_9551 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

    IMG_1648 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

    This has been a bit of a slow burn this build, as my day job and a young family make finding the time to work on this near impossible. Certain financial limitations have slowed it too along the way. It's been fun to date... painful too with long spells of down-time due to other commitments... a close encounter with the car tipping off its axle stands... two cases of severe arc eye... and the odd trip to the A&E.

    I'm going to starting posting as much of the content about the build that I have documented on another forum whenever I can. Please bear with me as there is a lot of it.

    It all began when I bought my V6 Type R back in 2004. I had a deposit on a 00 Type R with 18k kilometers on it when the seller disappeared with a substantial deposit and left me high & dry. The unfortunate thing was I had sold my then current daily GT555 Impreza Turbo to fund it and was car-less but hell bent on buying a Type R. Back in 04 in Ireland these were not the most common car and when one came up for sale up in Antrim I jumped at the opportunity and bought it. This may have been a slightly emotional & rushed decision, as I do pride myself for being good at spotting accident damage but the car I'd bought, began to give me trouble a few months down the road and it was then I discovered that the previous owner had crashed the car (DS front) and 'failed' to tell me.

    The damage wasn't that bad... but I was never truly happy that the car would be 100% unless I took on substantial repair work. It had been repaired... but not to a standard I would have liked. On later inspection I discovered they had pulled the DS leg back into position which had weakened it and therefore the only thing for me to do was strip the front and replace the leg. It was at about this time that financially running a Type R as a daily driver was proving quite expensive so until I could decide what to do with the accident damage that needed tidying, I choose to take it off the road.

    This is when it all went awry. I got the hair-brained idea that I should build a 22B rep. I spent nearly 2 years planning this with several trips to the UK looking at different kits. At the time a lad called Phil Chapman was doing very tasty Carbon 22B kits... but they were very pricey... but I was still keen to go that route.

    Soon after meeting Phil I saw a white S5 WRC replica on RCM's (Roger Clark Motorsports) 'Cars For Sale' section. It was a customers car that had been given to Prodrive when new and converted using genuine Prodrive steel 1/4 panels, sills & Fr wings. Soon after I saw it Olly & Matt made the decision to use it as the basis as the Gobstopper 1. I was hooked though. No matter how sexy the 22B is... a WRC arched car was just 10 times better looking. Numerous phone calls to Prodrive to get them to reproduce the steel panels were to no avail.. they had stopped supporting the early cars and me nagging them wasn't going to change that. They did kindly put me in touch with Rodney in WRC Spares though. And the rest is history. I spent another year stripping the car and selling parts not required, so as to fund the new carbon/kevlar panels.

    I was very naive when I began this... I've learned a massive amount along the way which I'll happily share... but I never thought the build would end up being to the extent it now is. The initial idea was to build a WRC replica that would be identical externally. Along the way... like a lot of good projects... it grew legs and got out of control. I planned to fit the rear quarter & sills... bolt on some front wings and two new bumpers... fit some spacers to widen the track... and hey presto... jobs a good un.

    But I've learned so much along the way and realized that each problem once solved would create another. I also made the insane decision to fully strip the shell and go the caged, bare interior route.

    11 years working in a tough job... and a love of design and cars forced me to make the decision a couple of years ago to quit my job and make this 'build' my business. I've been designing and fabricating so many bespoke parts along the way for this which gave me the confidence to go out on my own and start producing my own parts. From basic thermal spacers, to FIA allow fire walls & now full S5 Carbon WRC panels for the 1997/98 Prodrive Impreza rally cars. It's made something I've been passionate about for years and turned it into a a job!

    So that's how it all came about. I'll start to fill in the gaps from the start to where I'm at now, over the next while. Thanks for looking.



  • #2
    Oh wow, fantastic!
    Keep up the work and posts!


    • #3
      Wowza fair play, can't wait to see the finished article.


      • #4
        So much lovely carbon.

        Well done and packing in the day job and going solo, I wish I had the stones to do it.

        More photos, we always want more photos.
        Current Bad Ideas:
        Daily - 1998 Pajero Evolution
        Project - 1990 BMW e30 1JZ
        Previous "Better" Ideas: 2 x Stage III Audi B5 S4, e30 m3, e34 m5, Inca Orange 2002Tii, '89 325iS, '89 318i, '90 318iS, '91 318iS, 2 X '87 316, '89 320i, '81 e21 316


        • #5
          That is so cool. Well done man.


          • #6
            Nice. I'd love to build a wide arched Subaru.
            Any links to your business? Website etc?


            • #7
              Very cool project, looking forward to seeing it progress!
              Comic Sans, the choice of the professional.


              • #8
                Jamie... you are under selling yourself!!

                Your quality of work knows no bounds!!

                I’ve seen what you have done/achieved!!!

                Amazing fabrication!! Feed them more here please!

                It’s just unreal your dedication to the skill set you have.

                Please show and tell.

                Your stuff is out of this world!!!!


                • #9
                  Fu<k the car! That is a nice garage!! Jammy bast'ad!!!! Fair play on the car too though!
                  We all stood around in a circle naked, thrusting our clinched fists in the air screaming "Jap Power!!"


                  • #10
                    Remember your intro post here a while back which may have some more details and pics on it.

                    Incredible workmanship.

                    Any social media feeds to follow progress?


                    • #11
                      Cheers all... appreciate the kind words!! Loads more pics on the way as soon as I can.

                      Here's a link to FB page...


                      Website is a work in progress at the minute... hope to have something up in a couple of months.

                      @ Grahamo... Many thanks.... I'm blushing here

                      @ markcro... That's the new garage. I had to move a couple of months back as I'd run out of space. New place is much better, but it's taken months to get it looking that good. I've loads of space now... but the only problem with having space is... you'll fill it with something else!!

                      I already have an 1986 mini about to be moved into it... that I plan to fully restore as its a it of a basket case!!



                      • #12
                        Ok, this will take some time to get up to speed on. I can't post up everything that I've done, as the problem with a build like this is you will pick a path to take and spend months doing something, only to change direction meaning all the previous work becomes irrelevant.

                        As mentioned, initially I'd planned a WRC replica from an external appearance & in the standard OEM silver. It would be completely intact on the inside and fairly standard from an engine point of view. Along the way though, deciding to replace a chassis leg, and the decision to change the colour, meant the shell got completely stripped back bare. Nearly everything with it is bespoke or custom made & what is available is generally so prohibitively expensive you end up having to make it yourself. In theory, you should probably go into a large build with a very defined plan on what the end result will be. I certainly believed I had this... but this has taken on a lot of weird twists with the it becoming a job/income, so a lot of what the end result was planned to be was hugely affected by the requirements to use the car as a rolling R&D test bed. I'll try keep it as concise possible and stick to the major stuff that has gotten me to the point I'm at. I've now definitely gotten a more concrete plan in place , that I don't think will vary much from now to completion.

                        This is now my 'Muse'... R14 WRC in STI Headquarters in Tokyo... and ex-McRae 1998 season car that is possibly the most original and untouched ex-works car around!

                        STIGallery-1-of-1-5 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        So back to the start... circa 2010... The first job I took on long before I had sourced my wide arch kit was to source and fit a roof vent. I had purchased a genuine S5 Carbon roof scoop from Phil Chapman which set me back a pretty penny... the start of a long road of expensive parts

                        I then sourced a non-Prodrive roof vent as I'd heard how the real McCoy can leak as it's quite a basic piece of kit. So I found a more substantial alloy one in the US through a company called Primitive Motorsport. The key thing was that there would be no clearance issues with the scoop so after several annoying emails asking 20 questions to confirm it would work.. I purchased it. Thankfully I wasn't let down and after a full day of measuring and marking it resulted in a perfect position and fit.

                        The first job was also the first of many injuries... I ended up in the A&E after molten metal off the air cutter stuck to my eye-ball! A week with a pirates eye pad was a hard lesson considering I'd being wearing protective glasses all the time, but had removed them briefly while cutting!

                        DSC00009 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        DSC00012 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        DSC00014 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        A few months after that I had the find of the century. I had for approx 2 years being searching for 18" Speedline SL856 alloy's... but they are rarer than hens teeth. A trader on our forum then posted up he had 18" Speedlines for sale that he thought were a rally rim. He wasn't the most familiar with what he had as he was a drift boy but I committed to buy them without a pic or price... I just had a gut feeling they were what I was so badly after. I nearly dropped dead when I went down to get them as he had 5 x 18" Magnesium Speedline SL856's on offer and only wanted the equivalent of 250 euro for them. These were over 500 Sterling each when new. As you can see they are in need of a refurb and two of them have minor hairline fractures in them that I can get mag welded with a guy called Ian Jameson in York, England... but they are perfect otherwise and are feather weight. Best thing about them is they are ET35. He said they'd been on a 22B... I don't know where they originally came from though as WRC Speedlines would all have had a different centre bore and ET12... so I assume these were a special order rim by a 22B owner at some point or possible of a Grp A Impreza or Celica.

                        DSC01660 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        DSC01661 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        SONY DSC by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        A few more weeks later I got delivery of my Kevlar quarters from WRC Spares. The difference in the higher cut arch can be clearly seen in the first pic. This was a very daunting stage as it was now evident how much fabrication work was involved with re-tubbing the rear arches. My initial thoughts even back then when I was so naive & inexperienced, was that the quality of these panels was poor. They were 'hand-laid' Kevlar parts that had varying thicknesses throughout the surface of the panel and the initial inspection fit, showed major issues with lining up correctly. I knew these were going to take a very long time to fit, the extent of which would soon become clearer. I'd no choice though... there were no other options out there a the time as the original steel quarters, sills and front wings from Prodrive where now becoming very sought after & expensive parts as they had stopped making them a year or two prior (2008-ish). It's worth noting to that these were hugely expensive too for what they were... setting me back 500 sterling per quarter!!! What I didn't realize at the time was, that these parts were produced from mold that had used a genuine steel panel as the pattern part. The steel panel in question, was a rough pressing, that had never been fitted to a car. The below pic shows how the panels came from the pressings prior t being fitted in Prodrive....

                        IMG_7194 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        So I'd assume that whoever moulded these Kevlar quarters, just used an unfitted set of steel quarter arches as the 'master' part. The problem with this was that the steel parts would have been rough pressed parts, that would require a lot of fettling, welding and body-work afterwards to make them fit correctly... so the Kevlar/GRP re-productions of these that had the mould produced using the steel arches, are equally far from correct and are a very vague fit to the OEM bodywork. What doesn't help too, is the fact the Kevlar parts, similar to the GRP ones on offer by other suppliers, are also 'hand-laid' parts whereby the material is laid within the mould and then the resin applied afterward by hand. This causes a huge variation in material thickness from 2mm to 4.5mm and cause major issues when trying to get the panels flush and fitting correctly.

                        DSC01350 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        DSC01348 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                        DSC01353 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr
                        Last edited by JAMIE TYPERV6; 25-06-2018, 01:34 PM.



                        • #13
                          I won’t bore you all with lot of tedium, but over the next 2 years there was a lot of head scratching, as trying to find any information online back then was near impossible regarding how to go about building one of these S5’s. No one had really built a road going version. In the end there was not much else to do other than start cutting. No amount of research would prepare me for taking an angle grinder/plasma cutter to a perfectly good panel….

                          10 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P9230093 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P5100110 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P5100117 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          The trimming of existing OEM inner tubs to a point that would match the line of the higher cut rear arches took an eternity…. Trim, fit, remove and repeat several dozen times. In the end I used a sheet of 500mic clear PVC to bend up inside the arch to produce a template for the steal inner tub that would have to be fabricated form cold-rolled sheet metal.

                          DSC04384 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          Followed by a card template…

                          P9230099 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P9240104 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P9240114 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P9240120 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          & then in Steel….

                          Image0087 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          10 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          A new brace as also developed to stiffen up the rear tub….

                          18 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          28 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          And panels dry fitted…

                          42b by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P8090070 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P9220083 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                          P8090067 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr



                          • #14
                            Not long after getting the quarters dry fitted & feeling I could see the finish-line (I laugh now when i think back how naive I was), I splashed out another 500 Sterling for each front wing... only to be even more disappointed when I received them. The fit was so atrocious I resigned myself to the fact they were possibly be unusable without hacking them to pieces. There was a 20mm gap between the wing and door, the profiles at the bottom of the wing that ties in with the sill was no where close in shape and it sat nearly 10mm above the bonnet line as it was so distorted from the mold. At this time too and after along conversation with Olly in RCM regarding their Gobsopper 1, I decided I had to do the unthinkable, which was to drop the engine out, replace the chassis leg and on Olly's advice, tub the front inner wings too as there was definitely going to be scrubbing issues with 18" wheels on tarmac spec suspension. This was a major set-back as it was the realization that my initial plan of just 'bond on some panels and bolt on some more' was a far-fetched idea and I'd now have to strip the car bare and start hacking the front as much as the rear

                            20 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            So engine out...

                            DSC07563 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07586 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            Poorly repaired chassis leg damage finally realized along with other damaged areas hidden with filler...

                            DSC07608 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07615 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07592 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            & then front tubs mocked & fabricated up.....

                            DSC07625 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07634 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07776 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07811 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07817 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07863 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07889 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07826 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            Upper rails need a lot of trimming too to allow clearance...

                            DSC07786 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07804 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07827 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr

                            DSC07869 by Jamie Flett, on Flickr



                            • #15
                              So with the decision to remove the interior to fit new chassis leg... I made the possibly regrettable decision to fully strip the interior and go the full roll-cage option!

                              First off was some carbon foot rests...

                              They are only sitting on the floor in these pics... but I'll be creating a false floor by lifting them approx. an inch upward on a supports, as I'll be running the loom and brake/fuel lines under them as the cage is now in the way of running these down the sills.

                              As you can see... all sound deadening removed too! God awful job!!!



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