Meet Stin­is­ter

How a Subaru STI be­came the work­horse of our video crew

Motor Trend (USA) - - Intake -

You’ve all seen those mur­dered-out Porsche Cayennes and Panam­eras run­ning around with gi­ant ro­botic arms on them, right? No? Maybe it’s an L.A. thing. Known in the biz as Rus­sian Arms, they cost about 1 mil­lion bucks, or $25K to rent. Our en­tire bud­get for an episode of ei­ther Ig­ni­tion or Head 2 Head is less than that. Trou­ble is, we need a cam­era car. Prefer­ably a quick one.

Stin­is­ter be­gan life when my co-host, Jethro Bov­ing­don, asked me if Porsche would give us a Panam­era. That phone call went some­thing like this: Me: “Hey Porsche, can we have a Panam­era?” Porsche: “No.” Next I called Subaru to ask about an STI: “We have a 2018 in Den­ver. Will Fri­day work?” Never has a phone call been eas­ier. As for the name, there are ap­prox­i­mately eleventy bil­lion STIS called “NASTI.” Same sen­ti­ment, dif­fer­ent spell­ing.

The brains be­hind Stin­is­ter is my co-worker Mah­dad Emadipour, who I be­lieve has 17 Ph.d.s in aero­nau­ti­cal en­gi­neer­ing. Some­thing like that. Via a whole bunch of cam­era gear and Home De­pot tub­ing, he cre­ated a re­mote­con­trol cam­era sys­tem that can be op­er­ated from in­side the ve­hi­cle.

My job was to help out with the brawn. First up, Cobb Tun­ing hooked us up with a Stage One kit to add some power. Our 0–60 dropped by 0.8 sec­ond, and the quar­ter mile fell from 14.1 to 13.4 sec­onds. Be­cause you don’t want re­flec­tions when film­ing, Luxe CC swad­dled Stin­is­ter in a matte black wrap (though I in­sisted on the gold tooth). For­giato made us some cus­tom gold five-spoke wheels, to which Miche­lin added some ul­tra-sticky Pilot Sport Cup 2 meats. I think we need to retest Stinny on the new wheels and rub­ber.

Here’s the dirty se­cret about those high-dol­lar Rus­sian Arms: They don’t work above 60 miles per hour. But we’ve seen as high as 105 mph in Stin­is­ter, and the pic­ture re­mains rock solid. Can we go faster? Yes, es­pe­cially as soon as Mah­dad re­places those steel poles with car­bon-fiber ones. Stay tuned.

Jonny Lieber­man

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