Subaru continues to offer STI models exclusively in Japan. And while we’d love to have the new Levorg wagon with that special tune, it’s got nothing on the original gangster, the first practical performance Subaru, the Forester STI.
Because some of these are exclusive to Japan and sold in limited numbers, data on Forester STI models is complicated to understand. I’m not an expert on the subject, and some of this information could turn out to be wrong, but it would be a shame not to share this yellow power wagon that’s resting in Japan.
Subaru currently has some STI-badged cars that aren’t STI models like the sports Impreza. This was also true for the Forester. The SF (first-gen) Forester STI that came out around 1999 was just a modified STB trim. These gained various upgrades like the 225/45 tires on R17 BBS wheels, STI body kit, and interior mods like STI seats, pedals plus many added badges.
The Forester STI II that came out in 2001 had the genuine STI engine tune which boosted the output of the boxer engine to 250 hp through an ECU, exhaust, and intercooler.
And then there’s this thing, the 2001 Subaru Forester STI II Type M, built for just a couple of months that year and limited to about 700 units for the Japanese market. So it’s like STI royalty if you will. This was also the way you’d buy this sports model with a 5-speed manual instead of the automatic.
The aim was to offer a Forester with all of Subaru’s motorsport heritage and know-how. Thus, it combined the mods which were already available through the program with special coil springs and larger brakes, 16 inches at the 14 inches at the back. From what we gather, the Type M also came standard with the RAYS wheels, as well as a Momo leather steering wheel and leather-bound shift knob.
Is the Forester an SUV or a wagon?
Well, the current generation is definitely an SUV, but the first-gen Forester SF is more of an in-between. It came out in 1997 as one of the first hatchback wagons, inspired by Volkswagen designs. Subaru’s advertising at the time said it was “SUV tough, Car Easy” which implies that it’s a crossover.
This beautiful yellow Forester STI Type M belongs to Instagrammer @kimufozzyboy and is obviously one-of-a-kind. It’s got the big hood scoop feeding the EJ20, and the Type M body kit is more aggressive than normal models. Sometimes, these cars have blocked off fog lights, but not this one. And next to these projectors are ducts feeding the brakes, again specific to this rare model.
Of course, the suspension has been lowered by a lot, and the painted tires are pretty close to the body, suggesting the fenders may have been rolled. And last time we checked, STIs of this vintage came only in silver, white or black, certainly not yellow.