Spotlight: The Barracuda

The theme of my Subaru isn’t just a bunch of stickers and decals randomly put together, it’s a precise copy of the Sherman M4A3 which can be found on the McAullife square in Bastogne. The square has been named after Anthony McAuliffe, commander of the artillery component of the 101st airbrorne division. He spoke the legendary “NUTS!” when the Germans demanded the Americans to surrender, after they were being surrounded in the woods of Bastogne. The square was named Place McAuliffe as a tribute to general McAuliffe after the war.

Coincidentally, I have quite some links to this tank and the story behind it. As a little kid I’ve always been interested in WW2, especially D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of The Netherlands. I’ve also visited the above mentioned square a couple of time with the scouts and even with my girlfriend, where the picture that is shown above, is taken. Also, I’ve been using the nickname “Barracuda” for about 16 years on the Internet and as an ingame nickname.

Actually wrapping the Subaru in the army green colour it has now and putting the stickers and decals on weren’t what I planned on doing at first. The flat green color was chosen because I just wanted to make something more… unique. Flat black, flat white, everything has already been done so many times before…

When we were in the process of wrapping, my girlfriend saw a picture of the tank in a photo album and told me that it might look cool to put decals on the Subaru that are just like the ones on the Barracuda. And a plan was born. I decided to make the Subaru a rolling tribute to the tank in Bastogne, and the fallen soldiers that fought really hard to liberate Europe.

This Subaru started its automotive life back inearly 2000 in virgin white. But as the paint was going bad over the years, I’ve decided to wrap this car and call it The Barracuda in the spring of 2011. A how-to on wrapping a car can also be found on this webiste. I have adjusted a few things such as the font and the positioning of the stickers, however the decals completely match the ones on the tank in Bastogne.

The result of wrapping the car turned out to be amazing thanks to Vincent Roos, fellow Wangan Warrior and photographer who also shot these great photos.

Obviously, the engine hasn’t been left stock either. During my way over to the Nürburgring in October 2009, the stock engine gave its last breath and I started rebuilding another engine. What started off as wanting to do a couple of adjustments, turned into what you’re looking at right now.

The engine has been built with having a quick spool up and fast throttle response in mind. At first, the goal was to go for around 450 bhp but I’ve adjusted this goal to a lower 350 bhp. I would still be able to keep the stock 5 speed gear box instead of having to upgrade to a 6 speed gear box along with other serious adjustments. Want to know what has been changed? You can do so over here my member page. Here you will find a recently updated list with modifications.

The current engine management should deliver somewhere around 320 bhp on a weight of 1190 kilos. Resulting in a 0 to 60 (mph) / 100 (kmh) time of circa 4.4 seconds.

Interior wise, I’ve tried to be as minimalistic as possible with everything I need close to me. In order to get it like that I’ve made quite some custom parts myself. For example the gauge holder on the steering column, the display holder on the steering wheel, an aluminium centre console, lenghtened gear knob, power output in the glove box, etc.

The engine is controlled by an Apex’i Power FC and Commander, mapped by Joep en Ismail.

The aggressive look of the car is thanks to customised Morette headlights. Originally, these lights have two lamps per side, one for normal lights and one for high beam, however the lamps on the inside have been replaced by air ducts and the lamps on the outside are replaced by semi-clear H4 lights with city lights. The corner lights (originally city lights) aren’t being used anymore and have been spraypainted in the same colour as the lamp units.

The original STI spoiler on the trunk generates enough downforce to maintain a steady ride. At first I planned on going for the spoilerless look, but I missed quite some stability on high speed runs so I decided to put it back on.

As I’m writing this, the car has been partially taken apart as it’s waiting for a couple of updates. The engine will once again be taken out and apart to improve some things as well as giving the engine bay a good tidying. This means cleaning the plenum, respraying the strutbar, replace blue hoses by red hoses, a little wire tuck, rerouting of the fuel lines, adding a digital fuel pressure gauge, removing the Knocklink, upgrading the oil hoses of the catch can and an allround cleaning in the engine bay.

Here I would like to thank Vincent Roos and his father once again for taking the amazing pictures as well as all the help he has offered the past months! Amazing!

– Johan van Tongeren

Photos by Vincent Roos