How’s this for a sick conversion? A 2004 Subaru WRX STI featuring a Ferrari V8 engine swap. Yep, it’s insane. And it has been built to compete in rally. So not only is this a proper build and not some backyard project, it’s also a fully running and purposeful rally car.
The idea was dreamt up by a rally driver in America, named Sam Albert. He documented the build on YouTube and, last month, got the outrageous thing up and running and ready for rally. Why? Why the hell not, that’s why. But no seriously there is a bit more to it.
You see, Sam wanted some more power from his WRX STI rally car. Obviously winding up the boost pressure is one way to achieve that. But he thought laterally, and discovered in the rally rules he could use a naturally aspirated engine of up to 4.5 litres, in his category.
Enter the Ferrari F136. This 4.3-litre naturally aspirated V8 was primarily used in the original Ferrari California. In its early days the unit generated 338kW at 7750rpm, and 485Nm at 5000rpm. That’s plenty of power for the purpose-built WRX.
Shoehorning a V8 engine into an engine bay that was originally designed for a flat-four was obviously a bit of a challenge. As you can see in the video below, the engine does not in fact fit under the bonnet. But, where there’s a will there’s a way.
One of the big difficulties was making the V-configuration unit fit within the strut towers. To get around this the engine had to be mounted in front of the towers. This left no room for a radiator, which had to be shifted to the back of the car using specially-ducted pipes through the firewall.
The results speak for themselves, really. It takes your brain a few moments to match the sound with what your eyes are seeing; a WRX rally car doing its thing while producing the sound of a high-revving, high-pitched V8. It is brilliant.
Take a look at the first test ‘shakedown’ video below to see how it all performs. And we encourage you to check out some of Sam’s previous videos for more background on the build process.