Me And My Car

Smitten by Scooby

Mr Errol Lim drives his Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C only on weekends and has clocked just a little more than 36,000km in six years.
Mr Errol Lim drives his Subaru Impreza WRX STI Spec C only on weekends and has clocked just a little more than 36,000km in six years.PHOTOS: JEREMY CHUA

Mercedes salesman Errol Lim loves Subarus - especially his Impreza WRX STI Spec C

In the world of turbocharged Japanese all-wheel-drive saloons, most petrolheads are either fans of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution or Subaru Impreza WRX.

Mr Errol Lim belongs to the latter camp.

"I love Subarus because I feel that they're more emotional," says the 34-year-old bachelor. "I admire how Subaru has stuck to using flat engines, much like Porsche does for its sports cars."

The Cycle & Carriage Mercedes-Benz salesman bought his first Subaru in 2005 - a "bug-eye" Impreza WRX which he owned for less than three years. In 2008, he bought an Impreza WRX STI hatchback, a hotter version.

Mr Lim, however, wanted something more and was soon eyeing the Impreza WRX STI Spec C - a 280bhp/422Nm racer capable of reaching 100kmh in 5.2 seconds.

  • What's in the boot?

  • •A 12-litre reservoir for the car's intercooler spray

In 2010, he bought one, commonly referred to as a Scooby, for $111,000.

The "C" in Spec C stands for "competition". Subaru created it to surpass Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution 7.

The Spec C is up to 90kg lighter than the regular WRX STI. It uses less insulation, thinner windows, a lighter roof panel and even fewer coats of paint. Inside, the passenger-side sun visor and grab handles have also been removed to further reduce weight.

Special features include a water spray for its intercooler and extra coolers for the engine oil. The front suspension's caster angles have also been increased to improve turn-in.

Many Spec C owners modify their rides, such as tuning up the engine or installing a performance exhaust system. But Mr Lim's car is unmodified. It has not even been driven on a racetrack.

In fact, Mr Lim drives it only on weekends. In the six years that he has owned the car, he has clocked just a little more than 36,000km.

He has a fastidious grooming regimen for his Spec C. "I wash it twice a month. In between washes, I use a detailing product to remove contaminants. I wax the car every two to three months and polish it annually."

He even details the engine compartment and goes as far as cleaning the undercarriage.

On weekdays, he drives a 2006 Subaru Outback 3.0R, which he acquired recently.

"I bought it because I wanted a Subaru with the biggest Boxer engine available in Singapore," he says.

His Outback, however, does not receive the same amount of tender loving care that his Spec C does. He merely sends it to a carwash every now and then.

The Subaru fan says he will not be renewing the Outback's soon-to-expire COE, but he will revalidate the Spec C's certificate when the time comes.

"I plan to keep my baby for a long, long time," he says.

Yet, he dreams of owning an even more special car - a WRX STI S207 equipped with the Nurburgring Challenge Package, which commemorates the brand's victory in the SP3T class in the 2015 Nurburgring 24 Hours in Germany. Subaru produced only 200 units, all of them for the Japanese domestic market.

•The writer is with Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2016, with the headline 'Smitten by Scooby'. Print Edition | Subscribe