Cars and Friends: The Subaru Years

In the fall of 2002, I moved to Columbus for graduate studies at The Ohio State University. I met someone special, got married, and started a family. Cars weren’t top of mind as there was so much else going on. Life happened and I had to go into the workforce. I took a sales job at a local Subaru dealership selling used cars. A car guy, working at a car dealership. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

At this time, the latest and greatest import was the Subaru Impreza WRX. It didn’t take long before I got caught up in the hype and had to have one. With the U.S. release of the WRX STi in 2004, we saw a lot of nice WRX lease returns and trade-ins. I sold the modifications to the Civic and traded in the car on a 2002 WRX wagon.

I became part of the local Subaru community and found Central Ohio Subarus (COS), a group started by Nathan and Trish H. This online community introduced me to people like Orion who gets his Subaru dirty; Kelly and Wende with his and hers modified Subaru rides; Renee who later took our family photos; and many other people with influential rides.

Wagon group shot at a track event

As enthusiasts flocked to dealerships many salespeople at our store often found my car in the employee parking lot to show modification potential. I was all in with Subaru and growing with the company. I met a customer named Steve and his wife Kris who traded in their 4th generation Chevrolet Camaro on a new 2005 Subaru Legacy GT. Steve became a good friend and has helped me and others with countless car projects.

Steve’s 2005 Subaru Legacy GT and 1969 Chevrolet Camaro. COS members gathered in the background.

This group reminded me of the time I spent in Maryland with my car friends. The COS community was growing as was the popularity of Subaru. We did autocross, drag racing, dyno days, family events, attend car shows, and had garage sessions, wrenching on each others cars. Online communities became a wealth of knowledge, connecting enthusiasts from all over the globe and making performance parts more readily available than ever before.

I spy American Muscle.

I remember frequenting online communities like Central Ohio Subarus, Ohio Subarus, and the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club (NASIOC). Our car friends had expanded beyond our neighborhood and city. You could reach out to someone in California, New York, or Florida for help with an install and get a response from them and a guy in Texas in minutes. I now had car friends all across the country.

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