My phone lit up unexpectedly across my desk. As I reached for it, I noticed the caller was my Subaru salesman. I ripped off my headphones and pulled the phone to my face. "Ben, I need to you to take deep breaths and sit down."
I braced for the worst. I assumed to hear my car had sunk to the bottom of the Pacific and would never come. Instead, he said the words I'd been waiting to hear for months. "It's here."
Love at First Sight
Ordered on July 10, my car arrived one week ahead of schedule. When I got to the dealership, I spied the car tucked away out back.
Walking up to it, my first impressions were how damn good the Lapis Blue Pearl looked with the new front bumper. I hadn't seen many pictures of 2018s in LBP, but after seeing in person, I have no regrets with my choice. In the sunlight, the car has an almost purple-ish tint to it, while at dusk it's much darker blue. It adds enough "pop" to the car without making it too obnoxious.
Moving on to the interior, I was really impressed with the changes made for 2018. While subtle, they definitely add up to a more refined cabin.
After a quick ~5 mile test drive, my salesman and I headed inside to talk over the paperwork. Unfortunately, since it was so late in the afternoon and I hadn't yet contacted my credit union, I had to wait til the next day to finish everything.
Finalizing the Paperwork
After a sleepless night of excitement, the next afternoon I was approved for a loan and took off work to head over to the dealership. Once there, the process moved suprisingly quickly!
A purchase agreement was completed and faxed over to my bank, and after a short review process and some e-signed paperwork, the check was written and the keys handed over! In total, I was in and out in less than two hours (most of which was waiting for the bank review and approval).
NOTE: Compared to when I picked up my Fiesta ST, this purchase experience was very different for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the first time around I went in unprepared and overly excited, and ended up purchasing a few of the extended warranties/packages from the dealership. This time though, I firmly declined any extra warranties or coverage plans, much to the chagrin of the finance manager...
Taking Her Home
With the keys in-hand, I parked the Fiesta safely in the dealer lot (I would come back later and bring it home) and jumped behind the wheel of the WRX.
Coming directly from the ST, I had a few immediate thoughts:
First and foremost, the clutch and shifter would take some getting used to. While not unwieldly, they were certainly heavier than what I was used to. As a result, I found myself struggling to find the bite point of the clutch and had a few not-so-smooth first gear starts... In spite of this, I quickly grew to love how solid, planted, and powerful the car felt. The combination of the AWD, longer wheelbase, and heavy shifter made for an awesomely smooth driving experience.
Despite of my terrible driving, we made it home safe and sound with no major hiccups.
Dialing It In - Decontamination and Wheels
With the afternoon free and the car home, I decided to get started "dialing it in". My plan of attack consisted of the following steps:
- Rinse down with Iron X to decontaminate
- Two bucket foam gun wash
- Microfiber dry w/ quick detailer wipe-down
- Polish and paint correction
- Seal with Collinite 845 and Optimum Opti-Seal
Despite my best efforts, the dealership had washed the car before the handover. Given the horror stories I had heard surrounding Subaru's soft paint, I expected there to be significant scratching/marring. However, in the sunlight I was pleasantly suprised to find the car wasn't in as bad of shape as I had first thought. There were certainly panels that needed a good polish, but with the time constraints of the afternoon in mind, I decided to leave that for the weekend.
I started by rinsing down the wheels and exhaust with Iron X and a quick scrub:
Followed by a full rinse and Iron X on all panels:
Then a foam gun rinse:
To finish things off and protect the tires, I applied some AMMO Mud (AWESOME product, by the way):
At this point, I was running out of daylight and decided to call it quits for the day.
Dialing It In - Polish and Correction
Fast forward to Saturday morning and I decided to tackle polishing out some of the scratches I had identified earlier. Overall, the condition of the paint wasn't bad, but there were a few spots that had significant scratches:
With a little effort, I was able to correct 99% of the issues:
With the polishing complete, the car was ready for a coat of sealant and wax.
Dialing It In - Protection and Sealant
Through experimentation on my Fiesta ST over the prior few weeks, I had found a layer of Collinite 845 sealant followed by a wipe down with Optimum Opti-Seal provided awesome results. With this in mind, I laid down a generous layer of 845.
With the Collinite cured and buffed off, I moved on to the Opti-Seal application.
In the past few months, I've grown to love Optimum's products. From No Rinse to Opti-Seal, they have all been extremely easy to use, effective, and provide awesome long-lasting protection. With ONR + Opti-Seal, I've been able to cut my weekly wash down to less than an hour, and brought the "fun" back to detailing.
Pegged as a "Wipe On Walk Away" (WOWA) product, Optimum Opti-Seal is designed to create a highly hydrophobic layer of synthetic protection. In addition, it's can be used to compliment Optimium No Rinse as a drying aid, allowing for a stupidly simple wash process. It's a highly concentrated product, so a single spritz is more than enough to coat an entire panel.
Once applied, the Opti-Seal adds a huge amount of depth and shine with the added bonus of UV protection and extra hydrophobic goodness.
With the car clean, I headed out for the evening to a few of my favorite spots to grab some pictures. While I am an awesome photographer (heh), these pictures just don't do this car justice. Everthing about it makes me smile.
The years and years spent dreaming finally paid off. While most people look at the hunk of metal in their garages as a means of transportation, this car represents something much more personal for me. An important lesson:
The best things in life really are worth waiting for.
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