We received a number of letters and emails concerning the article on garages in Winter 2012 Drive. In that article, we requested that Subaru owners tell us about their garages. Find a letter about Peter Duty’s garage, along with photos, below.
I would like to start off by saying I am 58 years old, and I have been working on cars since my father first opened his auto repair shop in North Carolina when I was 10 years old. At 18, I took what I learned from my father with me when I moved to Newport News, Virginia, to live with my older sister. My sister, who owned an E-Type V-12 Jaguar was able to get me employed as a mechanic at the local Jaguar dealership. After 10 years of employment at the dealership working on all types of British cars and attending annual schools on vehicle service, the dealership lost its affiliation with the British car lines.
When I could no longer work on the British cars I know so well, I left the dealership and started my own business working on British cars. When in the late 1980s British cars fell out of favor and almost vanished, I began to work on the new popular car lines – the Japanese. I have owned my own business for 39 years and have changed my focus of automotive service between repairs and restoration of foreign and domestic vehicles many times. In my years as a business owner I have worked on and owned British, European, Japanese, and domestic vehicles.
In 1987, I purchased new a Buick Regal Limited with a 3.8 Turbo engine – my first turbo car from the first American car company with a production turbo car in 1978. I loved my turbo Regal and swore I would never part with it, but I didn’t realize my focus would change again many years later.
After 15 years of my turbo Regal residing in my climate-controlled garage with less than 20,000 miles on it, I found a new love – a 2002 Subaru WRX. I loved my WRX and performed many upgrades to improve performance and appearance. I was the first in my area to purchase one of these cars new and wanted to do all I could do to show what these cars could do.
I loved my WRX, but my wife made me sell it since I still had four Buick turbo cars. When in 2005 Subaru had a WRX Premium package, I decided to buy again. I kept the 2005 for two years.
A friend of mine that had a 2006 WRX STI told me that Subaru was coming out with a Limited Edition STi. After much research, I decided I had to have one of these new STIs. In 2006, Perry Buick Subaru of Virginia Beach told me they had ONE coming in – the ONLY one they would be getting as far as they knew. I HAD to have it. I brought the cash to purchase the car, and after 15 years, I parted with my turbo Buick. It’s ironic that it was at a Buick/Subaru dealership – my first turbo love for my last one.
I bought my Limited Edition STI new. I have pictures of it in the dealership with me and the salesman as if it were a newborn. I have all receipts for my STI, including gas since it was new. My STI now resides in the place of my prized Buick turbo, sold to finance my obsession – climate-controlled environment, white walls, white floor, jack stands, like new just waiting for the next time it can hit the road and put other SHOW cars to shame.
I have shown my STI since new – never trailered – with nine first-place trophies and placed in top 25 out of 400. I could not think of anybody that could love their Subaru more than I do. People who know me call me anal because I am so picky. Just like Chip Foose says, it’s all about the details of the car. It’s not about the paint, stereo, the gull wing doors, etc. In the pictures I have sent, you can see the level of detail that I maintain. For example, when the exhaust turns blue, I spend four hours to remove and install the exhaust and spend eight hours to buff it back out.
When I first bought my STI, I installed a Cobb access port and drove my car to Maxton, North Carolina, to run it in a mile. It ran from start to finish at 145 mph. I thought that was pretty cool for a vehicle with a stock driveline with only minor upgrades.
I am now working on an 850-1,000-hp engine while still maintaining 26-29 mpg. I won’t be using the stock block then. I will be using a Crawford long block. I will, however, maintain as much as possible a stock appearance under the hood.
I have over 1,000 clothes with my STI embroidery on it, plus 100 ball caps.