How do you improve on, up until that point, two decades of rally winning history and AWD excellence? By making one into a convertible of course.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came across a set of photos showing a 2011 Subaru WRX STI Convertible conversion but then I remembered Nisan actually greenlighted a Murano CrossCabriolet so I’m not surprised in the slightest with this rally legend turned California Cruiser. Today they go by the name of Newport Specialty Cars but they’ve been known for the longest time as Newport Convertible Engineering.
Based out of Huntington Beach for the better part of 35 years, they are no stranger to the convertible conversion process. If you know anything about these beach cities in California (pre-Woolsey Fire) it’s that weather is very consistent all-year round with nary a hint of cold nor rain affecting this beach locale. Sure, you might have a rally car to terrorize the streets in but what good is it all if traffic flows along at an average speed below 30 MPH and the sun is shining 24/7?
That’s where maybe, just maybe, this WRX STi Convertible conversion makes sense.
Enjoy a couple of photos of this Beach beauty with the heart of a boxer below.
There’s even a video showing a walkaround of the car in all its glory.
A piece by Auto Week on this exact conversion puts the price of this conversion around $25,000 and that’s without the car. Thankfully it looks like Newport Specialty cars makes sure that they strengthen key areas after lopping off a key structural component.
As with prior conversions, Newport reinforced the windshield frame, undercarriage and A- and B-pillars and added a basket-handle hoop connecting the B-pillars.
The work adds 140 pounds to the STI’s 3,384-pound curb weight, which shouldn’t wreak too much havoc on your power-to-weight ratio and might even be worth it in added points for style.
The final product does lack some refinement in my opinion and I certainly wouldn’t go with this type of final look if I decided, after a night of drunkenness, to do this to any car, let alone this WRX STI.
A convertible conversion for me needs to look a lot cleaner and perhaps a removable hard top of sorts would be more my taste.
Take a look at how they straight up cut the roof off this Ferrari with your bog-standard angle grinder, not exactly CAD engineered cuts going on here.
But if you want to roll up to your local import meet in something extremely unique or you just want to be able to have that legendary Subaru AWD with 300 HP and 300 lb-ft under the hood AND want to feel the sun on your face, this is your ticket.