Here at Japanese Nostalgic Car we have a new series called Featured Builds where we take a minute and look at some of the best builds we have seen on the JNC Forums and around the web. Our first feature comes from the JNC Subaru Garage, where member Nico has built what could be one of the most impressive 80s Subarus we’ve seen.
Nico’s 1986 Subaru GL-10 started life as a surprisingly clean but completely stock sedan with a staggeringly low 17,398 miles on the clock. The GL-10, chassis code EA82, was a typical avant-garde Subaru vehicle with frameless door windows, a turbocharger and a completely ludicrous 4×140 lug pattern.
In America, the GL-10 trim level came with push button 4WD but it was an option on the Canadian cars, an option which Nico did not have. No matter, however, as Nico also sourced a 1986 XT6 parts car, which came standard with full-time AWD and a more reasonable 5×100 lug pattern.
Of course you can’t exactly have AWD madness with 100 horsepower at the crankshaft on tap. To remedy this, Nico turned to a slightly bigger engine called an EJ22T, the closed deck holy grail of EJ engines. Stopping here would of been a perfectly respectable place and would of been more than enough, fun-wise, but Nico wanted more.
He picked up some STI Version 8 Type RA heads and ARP studs. After piecing the mill together, he extensively went through the engine bay and performed all of the associated supporting mods before dropping it in. This put Nico in the realm of 350 horses the last time a dyno graph was posted, but you can rest assured that it’s north of that by now too.
While turbo swapping other platforms such as the Impreza or the Legacy is rather simple due to the availability of OEM hood vents for the top mounted intercooler, the EA82 had an under-hood spare tire where it would sit. Owners to have to get creative for their intake cooling needs, the most common solution is to just graft a scoop from a legacy on and call it a day.
Unfortunately, the 90s era curvy scoops look more than a little out of place on a car comprised of flat edges and 90 degree angles. Nico’s solution was to mock up an air-to-water intercooler and integrated blow off valve. This worked for a little bit but with more power comes the need for more cooling so Nico had to devise a solution in way of a smaller, thicker intercooler with a hole cut through the front bumper for it.
As far as suspension components go, it would have been easy for Nico to just slap the parts from the XT6 onto the GL-10 chassis and call it a day, since it all bolts together. Nico wanted a higher level of quality, though, so he stripped and powder-coated all the suspension components, leaving them looking better than they did when they left Gunma Prefecture. Some HSD coilovers held ride height steady and a set of four-wheel disc brakes off a WRX provided stopping power. As far as wheels go, it’s been a revolving door for Nico, in the picture above he can be seen with his Enkei ES-Tarmac wheels.
On the inside, Nico made improvements for both safety and usability. A Nardi steering wheel and Momo racing seat reside in the cabin. Since Nico would have had to extensively modify the gauge cluster to make all of the vitals work, it made more sense to simplify everything with a Racepak monitor.
Naturally, with a car that is still under the mileage limit of its factory warranty, the bodywork was pristine as you’d expect. Nico kept the exterior close to stock, adding only some AUDM/JDM 3D corner lights and modifying the front bumper for the intercooler.
The fun times came to a screeching halt one day when he was introduced to the business end of a highway barrier. Admirably, Nico didn’t toss the car in the bin. Upon getting it home, he assessed the damage and saw what he needed to do. The hood, fender, radiator support, bumper, bumper support, grille and driver’s side headlight assembly were toast.
Nico pulled he front end off and while he was replacing pieces, he took a moment to improve one of the biggest aggravations for EA82 owners, the radiator support. The issue with these cars is when removing the engine, you have to contort the engine without catching the fan clutch on the radiator support or punching a hole through your radiator.
Nico modified the radiator support to be bolted on instead of welding it in. This makes the constant tinkering on the engine and transmission much easier by just being able to unbolt the entire front end of the car. The shrewd observer will also notice the Koyorad radiator meant for a BRZ application, and with some minor modifications he was able to get it to bolt into the the EA82 chassis.
Nico’s Subaru GL-10 is a revolving door of parts. We would list more, but by the time you read this he may be onto something else. You can view his build thread on in JNC Forums here to keep up with his progress. Hopefully, this will give you, dear reader, some inspiration to get in the garage and finish up whatever you’ve been working on.