The Black Pearl: Matt Tomczek's 2007 Subaru STi

There are few bonds more complex than that between the car and driver. I have witnessed many friends curse their cars, wondering why they even bother fixing those little ticks over and over again. However, it would be only the next day that I could find them rolling down the street in those same cars, the biggest smiles on their faces. That’s the nature of the automotive enthusiast: if it breaks, fix it, because fixing it is better than quitting, and nothing is more satisfying that achieving your dream build. This brings me to introduce Matt, a true lover of all things automotive, and as big a Subaru fanatic as they come. 

Having been a longtime fan of World Rally Cross, Matt found himself in a love affair with the “crazy AWD turbo cars from Japan.” While it’s easy to have big dreams regarding the ultimate build, it isn’t as easy to make it happen as fast as most would like. This said, Matt found his first real build in a Honda Civic, which became his show car. Immediately, he loved the community and has been immersed in it ever since. While his Honda background was his starting point, the next 10 years would bring him to California, where he was able to roll off the lot in his brand new dream car: a 2007 STi.

He wasted no time getting down to business. While he researched practically all aspects of modifying Subarus, the mods stayed more low key until the summer of 2010. Looking to get into the performance side of the community, he decided it was time for new additions, which included new wheels and coilovers, as well as the transition to E85 fuel. At this point, the car pushed 350whp with 410 ft/lb of torque, which made it a fun daily driver. But Matt wanted more, so he started taking the car to autocross events.

About four months after the fact, he found himself stuck with cracked ringlands on two pistons, which resulted in a full motor rebuild (along with a larger turbo). With the new tuning, the STi ran with an upgraded 422whp and 457 ft/lb of torque. Throughout the next year, the motor was retuned, injectors were replaced (which were defective from the manufacturer), and equal length headers were installed. This is when he also added on his Karlton fender flares, which allowed an extra 60mm to house larger, 295/30/18 tires. Unfortunately, mere months later, bad tuning had done in yet another motor. Anyone would question their shop’s methods at this point, so he made the decision to take his business elsewhere. Once again, the motor was rebuilt, but this time would be the last. After the break in period, Matt went back in and took everything apart, displacing the old turbo, intercooler, and headers. He opted for a turbo setup from Extreme Turbo Systems: a Garrett GTX3576 with Tial .82 exhaust housing, as well as new headers and a 4” thick front mount intercooler core, complete with titanium piping. 

Matt had seen his fair share of greasy hands and long, hard hours of labor. What inspired him to keep working was his love for his car, and his determination to mold it into exactly what he wanted. When all was said and done, after his final tune, the car’s dyno sheet read a whopping 561whp and 587 ft/lb of torque at peak boost of 28.5psi. To put it simply: this car is a monster, and it sounds like it wants to eat you. It now sees the track regularly for autocross and all around fun runs. What is most important to take from Matt’s diligent work is that regardless of the bumps in the road, the ride is always worth it. 

Photos & words by Courtney Cutchen