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go. As he sourced the new heart for his WRX, some say this is when he went from hum­ble en­gi­neer to mad doc­tor.

As Bar­nett be­came more ac­cli­ma­tized to the JDM com­mu­nity, he heard whis­pers of the leg­endary GT-R and re­al­ized that if he wanted to do some­thing truly dif­fer­ent, the RB26DET pow­er­plant would be the one to have for his cre­ation. One would think that with both cars be­ing AWD, the swap would be at least a lit­tle more straight­for­ward than you're imag­in­ing, but a hole made for a hor­i­zon­tal-four just isn't the same as one meant for the large Nis­san in­line-six. Bar­nett was go­ing to need some qual­i­fied help to get this done, and luck­ily, he knew just the right group of peo­ple.

Be­ing an en­tre­pre­neur that's heav­ily in­volved with the au­to­mo­tive com­mu­nity, Bar­nett knows quite a few tal­ented lo­cal in­di­vid­u­als that have headed up their own busi­nesses, and calls many of them friends. Dave Brown of FAST of West Chester was one buddy that was in­stru­men­tal in achiev­ing the Godzilla trans­plant.

“His ex­pe­ri­ence, as well as his abil­ity to do the im­pos­si­ble, made the easy de­ci­sion for me to have him per­form the mo­tor swap,” Bar­nett says of Brown. “The guys at FAST of West Chester did a fan­tas­tic job de­cid­ing the proper steps to fit the mo­tor and trans into the car. Some days con­sisted of mock­ing the mo­tor into place and just star­ing at it for a few hours, and some days con­sisted of pulling the mo­tor in and out and cut­ting along the way.”

The swap was far and away the most chal­leng­ing part of the build, es­pe­cially when try­ing to keep the WRX's all-wheel-drive good­ness. In or­der for the front diff to line up with the Subaru hubs, the RB26 had to be pushed back through the Subaru fire­wall, which re­sulted in a brand-new, cus­tom fire­wall so the GT-R en­gine wasn't tech­ni­cally a pas­sen­ger. As a re­sult of the ex­ten­sion, the steer­ing col­umn, cen­ter con­sole, and front seats were pushed back, fa­cil­i­tat­ing the need for the OBP Rac­ing floor­mounted ped­als. FAST soon found out that the oil pan wouldn't clear the front cross­mem­ber and the chunkier GT-R Ge­trag six-speed and front drive­shaft wouldn't fit the trans­mis­sion tun­nel, so the oil pan was cut and the WRX was swapped to a dry sump setup, while the trans tun­nel was made more ac­com­mo­dat­ing.

Un­for­tu­nately, your usual RB26 turbo kit wasn't go­ing to fit in the en­gine bay of the WRX, even with it shaved and tucked beau­ti­fully, so re­in­force­ments needed to be called in, and Ja­son Schmuck of Schmuck Built heeded call. Spe­cial­iz­ing in forced in­duc­tion fab­ri­ca­tion, Schmuck supplied a one-off turbo kit that would snake around the RB26, as well as a V-mount ra­di­a­tor and in­ter­cooler setup, and the slant-cut ex­haust pipes that I would call hood­exit, if the WRX ever wore a top. With Hal­tech Plat­inum Pro ECU mas­ter­mind­ing the sit­u­a­tion and a Borg Warner EFR 9174 twin-scroll snail pro­vid­ing the whoosh, the newly-homed wail­ing six-cylin­der un­leashes a stag­ger­ing 713 horse­power and 568 lb-ft of torque to all wheels.

“I started with one of the most pop­u­lar sport com­pact cars, the

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