The Subaru Forester is a simple car, it takes the handling and safety of the Impreza’s renowned 4wd system and throws it into a mid-sized practical family wagon/crossover. Mix in some of the rally bred DNA from the Subaru STI range and you’ll get a punchy turbo 2.5l boxer engine equipped car that is a far cry away from the standard round-trip to school, A to B affair you’ll find in most families driveway.
To Sumida-san this 2004 Subaru Forester made the perfect blank canvas and his favorite brush to use on it was the ‘lowering brush’…
Recently wrapping up our 2nd trip to Japan for 2015 we couldn’t wait to get stuck into some features and ‘first off the rank’ is Sumida-san’s STI Forester. We met up with Sumida-san by chance in a car park in Osaka late one night.
After a brief chat and some help from his friends we managed to translate enough to organise a shoot. We met up early the next morning and convoyed with Sumida-san and his friends to our location in some equally impressive cars. (More on that soon.)
In the light of day we were gobsmacked! Away from the shadows and orange street lights the paint work came to life and the extremely low ride height of this Forester became immediately apparent.
When it comes to lowering cars Japan is next level!
Tucked into the guards are an immaculate set of Volk TE37Vs. This design is an instant classic and just like the original TE37 that suit almost anything the 37Vs were designed with a vintage feel that looks at home on classics and modern cars alike.
We say “immaculate” as although Sumida-san’s Forester is extremely clean, you’ll find the telltale signs from driving a car this low on the fenders and wheel arches. For some these scars and bruises add character, almost a trophy if you will.
The wheels themselves are flawless and this goes to show it’s just as much about the wheels as it is the car for some. The wheels aren’t just an accessory here, they’re the major draw card and the car/ride height compliment them.
Looking directly from behind you can see just how much camber is used to tuck the wheels into the guard.
This amount of camber is sure to pour more fuel on the fire, the same fire that has been raging across the internet for years. Queue the “That’s just stupid”, “Ruined the car”, “stance is the worst thing to happen since…”.
We’ve all heard it, there’s arguments from both sides of the fence and we couldn’t care less. We like all cars and all styles, all we see is a passionate owner with an incredible car.
The TE37Vs measure in at an impressive 17″ x 10″ -20 on all four corners.
Standing back it really is an impeccable combo. The lines and wheel choice compliment each other perfectly!
Sumida-san drives this height everyday, there’s no airbags in sight. The suspension is comprised of a set of Cusco coilovers with a staggering spring rate of 34k up front and 16k in the rear!
Sumida-san has owned this car for a little over 4 years and in that time the car has gone through a few different looks. From different bumpers, wheels and roof racks. This car has seen it’s fair share of changes.
While every time the look is quite simple it seems Sumida-san is quite reserved in the overall appearance but when it comes to lowering his car he ‘takes no prisoners’ and goes to the extreme end of the spectrum.
Chatting with Sumida-san about his time with the Forester we asked what his favorite thing about it was, of all the answers we were surprised by his simple and humble answer… The pillar-less doors!! We thought it about it and had to agree. It’s not a common feature found on small four door family cars and usually reserved for sports cars and coupes.
Under the hood Sumida-san has kept the same reserved approach as the exterior. All the factory items remain. The only additions are an upgraded air filter and full exhaust system.
When the starting point is an STI badged Subaru there’s not a whole lot you would want to change.
What he has changed has made all the difference, the full exhaust system has amplified the famous boxer grumble from a meowing house cat to a roaring lion. The noise of the flat four echoing off the street was down right menacing!
Aside from enhancing the sound and freeing a few extra horses from the engine, the custom exhaust really changes the look of the boxy Forester.
Tie this in with the aggressive fitment from the wheels and this is sure to break a few necks anywhere it goes, no matter the reason you can’t help but stop and stare.
Inside are a host of ‘knick-knacks’ and ornaments livening up the standard interior along with a chrome gear knob, extended shifter and Grip Royal steering wheel. The drivers seat has also been replaced with an SR4 Recaro for a bit more support over the factory seat.
The more we looked at the car the more we fell in love! The simple look is super aggressive thanks additions like a headlight cover, eyelid, factory scoop and black front lip.
Spacers lift up the rear of the hood helping cooling and adding a little touch to the front that’s easy to miss at first glance.
Believe it or not, this is Sumida-sans first car! An impressive first car to say the least and over the 4 years it’s gone from stock as a rock to the pavement eating, fender smashing car that you see now.
Sumida-san has enjoyed everyday of owning it and at the moment his plans for the future are actually getting it to sit even lower! He also plans on making a few cosmetic changes along the way.
We’re curious to see if the wheels stay or go, it will be hard to top the Volks.
They’re the hero of this car and look great against the blue, we can see why he hasn’t changed them to save the guards from further damage.
Up close you can see the results of running around Osaka with only a few centimeters of ground clearance!
Sumida-san and his group of friends call themselves AKDP, they share the same love for cars and the same sense of humor. Just don’t ask us what AKDP stands for. (It’s not exactly PG-13).
We’ll be posting all of the crew together very soon. Keep your eyes out for the full feature.
We would like to thank Sumida-san for his time and for agreeing to meet a complete stranger early in the morning for a photo shoot. Thanks to Takahashi-san for translating, we had an awesome time with you and the AKDP crew and can’t wait to get stuck into the next feature.
Thanks for reading,