Modified Subaru WRX STi takes top prize at Future Classic Car Show

Modified Subaru WRX STi takes top prize at Future Classic Car Show

Fourth annual Scottsdale car show celebrates vehicles made after 1975

A modified Subaru WRX STi was awarded best of show at the fourth annual Future Classic Car Show on Sunday in Scottsdale, Arizona, hosted by ClassicCars.com.

The WRX STi is a common choice for modifiers, but owner John Darling put together a special example that is wrapped in a silver exterior, and his well-documented STi was chosen by the team of judges as the top vehicle at the show.

Darling said he came up with his build 10 years ago after noticing one small detail: Subaru offered a blue Alcantara leather interior for the WRX, which seemed to highlight three color options — Aspen White, Obsidian Black Peal and World Rally Blue — but left the Platinum Silver Metallic aside.

When Subaru released a Special Edition with black Alcantara in 2006, he began to wonder what a WRX designed around the darker leather would look like.

The result was award-winning. Darling worked with Ceballos Customs in Tempe, Arizona, to create a custom interior with red suede Status Racing bucket seats and rear seats made from black suede. The black Alcantara theme is continued on the headliner, rear seat deck, steering wheel and other spots.

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Under the hood, Darling has a Cosworth-built flat-4 engine. Equipped with Brian Crowers 280 camshafts, Carillo rods and other modifications — not to mention a hybrid Garrett GTX3582 turbo — the engine is capable of sending 600 horsepower to the wheels, Darling said.

Outside, Darling worked with Cusco to mold a front chin onto the factory front end. With the factory hood scoop no longer needed, Darling installed a reverse-cowl carbon-fiber hood from Kaminari Aerodynamics in Reno, Nevada. Prodrive side skirts and Enkei RS05RR racing wheels painted red complete the look.

Best of Show winner John Darling (right) accepts his award from head judge Andy Reid. | LXII Photography/Cory Mader

Best of Show winner John Darling (right) accepts his award from head judge Andy Reid. | LXII Photography/Cory Mader

The Future Classic Car Show, held each year by ClassicCars.com during the first weekend of Arizona Auction Week, celebrates cars produced for model year 1975 and later. Numerous awards were given out, including best car for each decade, the best modified car and the best-preserved car.

Thousands of attendees packed onto the top floors of a parking garage in the popular Scottsdale Quarter to see cars that ranged from highly modified Japanese and German performance vehicles to stock American oddities. The rooftop showcase featured more than 60 hand-picked cars, with the lower levels filled with plenty of other automotive goodies.

Attendees wander among the entrants at the 2019 Future Classic Car Show in Scottsdale, Arizona. | LXII Photography/Cory Mader

Attendees wander among the entrants at the 2019 Future Classic Car Show in Scottsdale, Arizona. | LXII Photography/Cory Mader

“As we’re trying to introduce the younger folks to the collector car industry and hobby, we’re also trying to educate our existing classic car folks into what’s coming up next,” said Roger Falcione,  ClassicCars.com president and chief executive.

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A 2004 Mitsubishi Evo 8 owned by Nathan Benoit claimed two awards, taking home the nods for Best Modified and Student’s Choice, an award chosen by students from the Universal Technical Institute.

The full breakdown of the awards is below:

  • Best of Show: 2004 Subaru WRX STi owned by John Darling
  • Best Modified: 2004 Mitsubishi Evo 8 owned by Nathan Benoit
  • Best of 2006-2018: 2015 BMW M4 owned by Jason Amiot
  • Best of 1996-2005: 1998 Toyota Supra owned by Aleksander Heit
  • Best of 1986-1995: 1993 Mazda RX-7 R1 owned by Tim Eull
  • Best of 1975-1985: 1977 Toyota Celica owned by John Garza
  • Best Preserved: 1991 Buick Reatta owned by Anthony Scaglione
  • Fan Favorite: 2005 Subaru WRX STi owned by Troy Yazzie

Read more about the Future Classic Car show:

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