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