Leaving a Legacy - Nolan Suzuki's 2009 Subaru Legacy

Within the island of Oahu, it’s no surprise Subaru has somewhat of a cult following. Plenty of Hawaii enthusiasts can be seen behind the wheel of a WRX, BRZ, or STI.  Combined with an endless supply of aftermarket parts for the model range, it is very easy for anyone to make their Subaru faster, louder, or look the part amongst the rest within the island’s car scene. 

Then there are the oddballs: the Subaru models no one tends to give attention, let alone consider their potential for modifying. These include wagons like the boxy Forester, the suburban runabout Crosstrek, or the sedate Legacy sedans. But as proven by the Australian YouTubers ‘MightyCarMods’ and their Subaru Liberty [Legacy] Wagon ‘SuperGramps’,  even these oddballs can be a head-turner with the right modifications. 

Enter Nolan Suzuki and his unique Subaru build; 2009 Legacy BL9 Sedan. Nolan chose the Legacy as a platform because no one in the Subaru scene had one. “At the time, I was interested in a Subaru. But the price for  WRXs and STIs were out of reach for me, so I decided to look into alternatives. I fell in love with the Legacy chassis as there are not many modified ones here.”

Initially, Nolan kept the modifications subtle: aiming to go for a ‘static-VIP’ look. But when the need to do some engine maintenance came up, an opportunity arose. Specifically, a complete engine, wire harness, interior, and transmission conversion. “I could not afford the faster Legacy GT at the time, so I figured: why not build one?”. 

Nolan took the leap to strip the car entirely, replacing the original 2.5 motor and 4-speed EAT automatic gearbox, with a 2.5 liter EJ25 motor, and a 5-speed manual transmission.  The entire project took roughly three months from start to finish: with much of the hours being put in on the weekends and after work. Honorable mentions go to Joel Uganiza for helping build the transplanted EJ25, along with Leon Clark of Shade Tree Motorsports for sourcing an ACT clutch for the manual conversion. 

Performance enhancements after the swap largely are composed of bolt-ons.  As with most Subarus,  Cobb Motorsports parts were sourced: including a rear sway bar, short shifter, and accessport. Aesthetically, Nolan settled on a set of black SSR GT-V02s, paired with Bridgestone Potenza RE71Rs tires to make the most out of the famous Subaru AWD drivetrain. 

The exterior consists of a mix of both USDM and JDM parts: including a JDM-spec Deltaspeed lip kit, splitter, and B4 door sills. Trips to Japan allowed Nolan to source more JDM-spec parts: including J-speed fender braces, an STI strut tower bar, and Japan-spec Alpine factory option tweeters for the audio system.  A fellow Legacy owner in Iwate assisted with wiring some Japan-spec LED door mirrors. 

Inside, Nolan went for a full leather Legacy-GT spec interior.  The leather features extend into a DAMD Racing leather-wrapped steering wheel, bought onsite at their Japan headquarters during a spontaneous visit. A pair of 10 inch JI W3 subwoofers give extra bass to soundtracks to accompany spirited drives. 

Nolan also left some personal touches to imprint his literal ‘legacy’. The most obvious being the carbon-fiber trunk, molded and skinned by Kerfoot Garage, combined with a duck-bill spoiler sourced from VG Tuning all the way in Siberia. The side skirts sport a vinyl made by 13th Hour Decals. His rearview mirror also features a custom hand-made tsuna knot and dream catcher by Introverted Leather Creations. 

In a car scene with plenty of modified Subarus, Nolan appreciates the fact he represents the outliers.  “I am constantly asked what a Legacy is. People don’t usually know, until I tell them, that it is a Subaru.”

Looking ahead, Nolan still has more modifications planned. A custom fabric kit has been modeled, along with a pièce de résistance: a fully built engine block. Having taken Subie Showoff Hawaii’s 2019 ‘Best in Show’ along with ‘Best Legacy’ two years in a row, there is no doubt Nolan is leaving behind some form of legacy. A legacy that Hawaii and the rest of the world will be watching. 

Appendix: Spec Sheet 


  • HKS Racing suction metal intake and turbo inlet
  • VF52 ported and polished with billet internals by Busted Finger Motorsports
  • PTP Turbo Blanket
  • PERRIN intercooler
  • Mishimoto throttle body hose
  • Mishimoto radiator
  • LAG competition aos
  • GrimmSpeed ebcs 
  • GReddy type S Bov
  • ZeroSports cool action duct v1
  • Beatrush radiator shroud
  • STI radiator cap
  • Aluminatti oil cap
  • Invidia big tube 1pc El headers
  • PERRIN catless divorced Wastegate down-pipe
  • GReddy mid to y pipe
  • JDM Gialla axleback 
  • Walbro 255 fuel pump

Suspension and Brakes:

  • BC coilovers
  • COBB 22mm adjustable rear sway bar
  • Moog end links front and rear
  • Spec-B aluminum LCA 
  • Prothane LCA bushings
  • J-Speed fender braces
  • J-Speed front lower member braces 
  • JDM STI flexible strut tower bar
  • Zero Sports rear strut tower bar
  • DBA 4000 rotors 
  • HAWK HPS  pads
  • StopTech SS brake lines
  • Brake cooling ducts by Lower Control Arms (Italy)


  • DAMD fenders fitted by G-Spec 
  • JDM DeltaSpeed lip kit
  • JDM DeltaSpeed rear splitter 
  • Painted grille & hand made carbon fiber Subaru badge
  • Custom painted HELLA Horns
  • Custom headlights with quad projectors
  • Vinyl by 13th Hour
  • JDM Bellof precious ray led headlight bulbs
  • JDM Carbon fiber roof spoiler
  • Cyber-R raised carbon hood scoop 
  • JDM  K2 Twin LED Winkers 
  • Prova Blue Wide-Angle Mirrors
  • RallyArmor Mud Flaps
  • SSR GT-V02 wheels 
  • SSR valve caps
  • Mcgaurd black chrome lug nuts
  • Bridgestone Potenza RE71Rs
  • VG-Tuning Duck-bill spoiler 
  • Trunk molded, carbon skinned by Kerfoot Garage


  • Full Legacy GT  interior leather swap
  • DAMD steering wheel
  • Tommy Kaira weighted shift knob
  • Custom SI-Drive knob
  • Handmade carbon fiber armrest
  • Handmade Tsuna knot and Dream catcher by Introverted Leather Creations
  • Philips interior LED kit
  • JDM STI  door sills 
  • STI pedal kit
  • Custom-sprayed interior trim (Toyota 205) 
  • JDM ‘ALPINE’ factory option tweeters
  • Harmon & Kardon speakers
  • 2 Jl w3 10in Subwoofers

Photo Credits:

  • Adrian Ma Photography (@therandomjdmfan97) 
  • Harvey Banag (@the_whinery)
  • Nolan Suzuki (@subielove0928)
  • Landen Tsuda - Genki Media (@genki_media)

Disclaimer: Hiddenpalmtree does not own any of the content and all contents (both photo and text are written by Adrian Ma) If you have any issue or concerns with the content, please send an email to Hiddenpalmtree@gmail.com. Mahalo

1 comment

  • I just bought it. Going


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