Hi there, I’m Alex Toson and I’m part of the Speed Nation team. I also run my own photography business called Exposed Media. I’m currently only weeks away from a second complete engine rebuild so we thought we’d document and share the whole experience with you guys/girls. I’ll be sharing the whole process, the highs, the lows, the details and eventually some results. So get comfortable and stay tuned.

Molly the STI

Everyone, meet Molly the STI.

What excites me about owning a modified car is that it allows you to create something that flaunts your own unique style. My passion for the automotive culture manifests through the on-going customisation of my 09 Subaru STI Hatchback, Molly. Also known as the Exposed STI. She has been my project for the last 2 years, and already we are on our second motor.

So what happened to the first motor you may ask? Well due to unfortunate events, while going for a full tune Molly came off the dyno with an unusual knocking noise. This we later found was pre-dentation in all 4 cylinders which resulted in all components needing to be replaced. This was a real kick in the balls, but these things happen and you just have to move on with it.

Of course, this can get quite stressful but the ultimate exhilaration of driving something you personally customised to your own specifications makes it all worth it.

Molly the STI

Molly the STI

At this point time, the motor is off to Diversion Garage in QLD, who are doing all the motor work. This new motor is bigger and better then the last, with all the best components. A small spec list includes: CNC closed deck block, Manley forged pistons and I-beam rods with ARP rod studs, 14mm Rodger Clark Motorsport (RCM) head studs, Kelford 272 camshafts with matching beehive valve springs and Titanium retainers. All this is combined with a modified 12mm oil pump and upgraded sump setup, consisting of RCM baffle plate and Killer B oil pick up.

The idea of doing all this work to the STI is not only to race it, but it was because owning and building a high powered Subaru, was something on the top of my bucket list. Working for a performance shop, 4mance Automotive gives me the chance learn more about how best to modify my car and also get to go out to many track events. This is an awesome opportunity to really use the power and practice how to use it effectively around the raceway.

Ripping Molly's Heart Out

Ripping Molly’s Heart Out

Pulling the motor out was surprisingly a lot of fun! The process really helps me to learn about the mechanics of my car. For instance, whilst pulling the motor out, I did stumble upon one challenge; as we attempted to lift the motor out, there was tension between the motor and the gearbox. After a bit of broad research, we discovered that there was one more part that needed to be investigated before we could remove the broken heart of Molly.

I now anticipate the delivery of Molly’s new and improved heart! Although it might appear to be standard, it is what we can’t see that is where all the goodness lies! Beneath the exterior of the motor contains this fully forged short motor and extensively worked heads. This, along with a Precision Turbo 6262, it will be exciting to know just what Molly will be capable of.

The Bare Face

The Bare Face

Custom Painted STI Brembos

While the engine is out and the car is parked, I’ve taken the opportunity to powder coat my STI BREMBO brakes in an eye-catching super metallic lime. I’ll be planning to use this colour to match a few other pieces as the build progresses to tie the whole car together.

Custom Painted STI Brembos

Next stage will be putting the motor back in, and doing a whole new fuel system setup with flex fuel. A little fabrication will be done, just to make everything work better and look neat. Stay with us as we update you with the progress of building Molly the STI!