When you think Subaru rally cars, you immediately think Impreza WRX, but in New Zealand, Imprezas of the 6-cylinder variety are becoming more and more popular.
Jeff Judd, Mark Smith and his team at Magnum Motorsport are getting quite a name for themselves for building Imprezas with a 3.0-litre EZ30 engine.
Relatively cheap to buy and build, the cars are a realistic alternative for those who want to go down the four-wheel drive route, but perhaps don't want the expensive of a turbocharged engine.
"We use any GC model Impreza coupe or 4-door, and the can even be from a 2WD 1500cc shell, they are all the same as far as mounting points and pickups are concerned," Jeff Judd said.
"Our latest car was from a stripped out GC8 STI RA that was someone else's unfinished project.
"We find a 5-speed DCCD variable electronic centre diff model gearbox and a plate type front LSD."
The latest of the Magnum Motorsport Subaru Impreza H6s is nearly ready for action.
On the secondhand market, 3.0-litre EZ30 engines are easy to find, and Magnum then add a sump baffle to prevent oil surge, then build a set of extractors, and install a Link ECU.
"Otherwise the cars are standard Impreza," Judd adds.
"Our cages are built by Kane Henry at home, then the assembly starts in our workshop where everything bolts in.
"Kane builds the extractors. He's had them CNC scanned to get parts all bent up for assembly and welding.
"We use the turbo radiator, plus a bigger water tank in the engine bay with a modified top pipe hose set-up."
The 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine is proving popular.
The Impreza gearboxes are stripped and checked, with synchros replaced if needed, and the diffs are all set up to work like they should.
"The handling and delivery of traction is superb.
"Some cars have had a set of clubman MCA Suspension added, or old sets of Drummond or Bilstiens refurbished and set up correctly.
"The variable diff settings are adjusted by a simple rotary switch with five or six positions or percentages. These settings or diff maps are all on the Link ECU.
"You end up with an incredibly handling, amazing noise emitting rally car.
"They are easy on tyres, and take little ongoing expenditure other than basic maintenance."
Standard Subaru 4-pot front and 2-pot rears are used to slow the cars, and work extremely well.
Mark Parsons destroyed the team's first H6 in a big accident. Photo: Allan Pritchard
Magnum's first car was purchased as a crashed turbo GC8 and rebuilt with the EZ30, then slowly improved with modifications like a front limited slip diff.
The car was already nicknamed Elvis and was destroyed in the first rally Mark Parsons did for the team.
It was re-shelled and ready for the next rally, and Mark has now done eight rallies, with another two more to do this season.
Garry Cliff also purchased a car, and has had some fantastic battles with Parsons.
"Another coupe was finished and is in-house with our Magnum GM, Riley, but is leased out as well," Judd says.
"It was used by Australian Gerard McConkey at Otago, and by Jeff Ward at South Canterbury.
"Another was built for Cameron Moore before his tragic accident, and is unused."
Australian Gerard McConkey leased a Subaru for the Otago Rally. Photo: Peter Whitten
At the upcoming Catlins Rally, Parsons and Cliff will compete, with Simon Curry in the new car and ex-rally man and Jet Boat World Champion Paul Cross trying out Riley's coupe while his own new car is built.
"There's another three underway or in line as well as Paul's, so they're becoming very popular," he adds.
For those wanting a cheap alternative to an Impreza WRX, you could do a lot worse.
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