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Racing heritage

Andrew Pruden


Toyota and Subaru are two companies that boast an impressive, actually let’s be honest here, awe inspiring race history. Names like WRX, Supra, Legacy and 2000GT are just some from the rosters and now both companies add another classic in the 86/BRZ.


The vehicle is a joint venture between the two legendary automakers and the sport coupes appear under three banners around the world. The Toyota 86/GT86/FT86, Subaru BRZ and the Scion FR-S and Alex Dixon’s BRZ is one amazing example of the cars potential.


If you have spent any time modifying cars, or know someone who does, hearing that the build will be kept small should make you laugh. “Originally it wasn’t going to be a big task ha ha. Many people comment on some of my first entries of my build journal and how my plans were very minimal until one day it nuke bombed into the exact opposite.” The monster that Alex created still mystifies him from time to time, “I’m not really sure what prompted me to go to the ends that I did other than I enjoy modifying cars. Everything done has been thought out and mated with a desire for balance. The few people that I’ve let drive the car have commented on how “normal” it feels and how balanced it seems even though it has twice the power as it did from the factory.”


Subaru has always had a high level of popularity with tuners but originally Dixon began with the other builder involved with the 86. “I’ve always been an import fan but mainly a Toyota fan for the past decade. It’s no secret that the BRZ is a joint venture with Toyota [and] when it came to choose between the Subaru and Scion; I went Subaru because it had better options in 2013. I also prefer the front bumper of the Subaru [which is] one of the few differences between the “twins”.”


It was also a case of love at first sight for Dixon, “I knew I wanted one as soon as the concept was released by Toyota many years ago now. The concept was a vision of a light weight 4cyl rear wheel drive coupe that was built for the sheer enjoyment of driving.” Part of the attraction for Dixon was how much of the car was specifically built for true drivers. “The chassis was purpose built and the engine was purpose built. Not much came out of the parts bin back at Toyota and Subaru. It really is an enthusiasts car from the ground up, and that really connected with me.


The BRZ’s future is currently being dreamt up and most people dream of having Dixon’s answer when asked, “what’s next?” “[That’s] the million dollar question ha ha. I need to finish the meth injection install and I have a rare JDM carbon fiber steering wheel on order. [I also got] a hand made carbon fiber 3rd brake light relocation and a few other small goodies I’m stockpiling. The dilemma I have right now is widebody or not? It’s literally the only major mod left and if I do it, it will be done right. The only thing holding me back is the effect that the wider track will have on how it drives at the track. I’m 50/50 and it could go either way ha ha but aside from that the only other big-ticket item is a built bottom end. [That] won’t happen until the stock block lets go and I anticipate that happening in the next year or two.”


Dixon does have some favourite modifications on the car but his choices might surprise you, well at least one might. “First and foremost the turbocharger. It turns car into an absolute beast and it really does bring the power up to par with its handling. I can’t even explain how good this car is with torque.” Now for the unexpected, “as stupid as this sounds the euro Spec Toyota OEM armrest. It should have been on every one that came out of their factory in Japan. [Finally], the Brembo brake upgrade, performance wise I haven’t taken them to the track, but they look unreal. They fill in the gap behind my wheels perfectly with almost no space between the caliper and rim. I stare at them whenever I’m walking up to the car.


Like many people with a passion Dixon claims it’s a mystery as to the source of his love but his explanation reveals more than he may think. “I can’t really explain my interest in cars other than they’re just cars. There’s something appealing about the engineering that goes into them combined with styling and the ability to individualize them. They can be loud or quiet, fast or slow, over the top or subtle. For me, it’s a combination of them being a creative outlet and a mechanical hobby.”


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