First Test: 2010 Subaru Legacy GTk

Allow me to break down the intriguing mechanical cocktail you see here: Take one U.S.-spec Subaru Outback chassis, add a dash of JDM-inspired nose, an ounce of custom roof racks, two teaspoons of tinted taillights, and a measure of extended rear spoiler. Bolt in a single mildly tuned U.S.-market SUBARU LEGACY 2.5GT powertrain and a JDM SUBARU LEGACY tS suspension, shake vigorously for six months, and, VOILA!, you have yourself a bona fide Frankenwagon fit for SEMA's Las Vegas Convention Center floor.

Easy enough, right? Maybe not...

As the story goes, Subaru commissioned Specialized Vehicles Inc. to create a 2009 SEMA show car that would demonstrate the versatility and coolness of sport wagons. Executives quickly trucked an Indiana-built SUBARU OUTBACK to SVI's headquarters to serve as the project's basis. From the outset, it was going to be much more than an SUBARU OUTBACK sporting a few aftermarket parts.

 Company suits ultimately wanted it to be the transporter of choice for a kart-loving family, so SVI ensured it could carry five people, some luggage, and an SCCA Solo kart in its trunk. If that wasn't enough, the car would need to be capable of setting lap times without imploding or inadvertently plowing into a barrier.

By now, Subie nuts will have no doubt noticed this SUBARU LEGACY Outback's Japanese domestic-market DNA. SVI replaced the Outback's headlights with black Japanese units for an athletic look. (Memo to Subaru: these lights need to be offered as a U.S. option or catalog part.) SVI then revised the bumpers to mimic those of a JDM SUBARU LEGACY Sport Wagon and installed sleek custom roof rails and a Japanese-spec rear spoiler.

 If "k" is for kart, then "GT" is for heart. SVI dumped the Outback's naturally aspirated 2.5-liter mill for a turbocharged EJ25-series 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer and married the mill to a six-speed manual gearbox. Both the engine and tranny are from the U.S.-spec 2010 SUBARU LEGACY 2.5GT sedan.

A slightly retuned ECU and bespoke free-flowing stainless-steel exhaust help push the pancake engine's output to 300 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, which is a nice boost over the stock 265 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. For the sake of reliability and streetability, no other power parts were added.


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