When I think of a Subaru, I don't think of some shiny bauble that can barely clear a pothole. No, I think of a beater'd out rallybeast masterfully held together with zip ties and duct tape that flies over all the yumps.
That's right: yumps. That's what makes a Subaru a Subaru, dagnabbit.
Now, let us not get into a silly rant against stance or show car folks. Blessed are the mass consumers of polish, for they at least care about their cars and do their part to keep enthusiasm alive. Even if it's not my cup of tea, I can respect that.
That being said, when someone says the name "Subaru," the image that immediately comes to mind isn't exactly sparkly clean or rollin' on bags. Shoot, it's not even the image that got a certain former TTAC editor in trouble.
If you boil down all that is Subaru down to its very essence of being—the brand's raison d'etre—you'd probably end up with something that looks a lot like Bucky Lasek's car after the Global Rallycross race at X Games Austin.
From the very start of the X Games weekend, the car was in the usual cycle of fix-race-break-fix-repeat.
The entire Subaru GRC team was camped out in a parking lot in north Austin before the Circuit of the Americas even opened, frantically trying to put all the cars back together in time. Sverre Isachsen's car in particular had suffered a nasty shunt at the Barbados race that needed urgent attention. It barely made the start of the race for the X Games.
As far as the actual race went, this was the race where Scott Speed just ran away with first place. Speed kept moving along as if he was in his own little race in Happy Volkswagen La-La Land, driving well and staying out of trouble the whole time.
That wasn't the interesting part of the GRC race, nor were the numerous tows away as surprisingly fragile cars suffered from contact-related failures during the races.
No, the interesting part was Lasek versus the rest of the field in the final heat. Bucky fell behind to last place at the start of the race due to gearbox issues and managed to work his way through to take second place.
Nelson Piquet, Jr., accidentally taking two shorter "joker" laps during the race helped a bit (you're only supposed to take the short lap on the course once), but the battle for second was the most interesting race of the entire weekend.
Look at this magnificent Subaru: all zip ties and function. No gentle t-bone was going to keep it from competing. It flew through the race, crushed-in door and all.
There's even a hole in the bumper, for Pete's sake.
It is this inseparable association of Subarus with dirt that leads to the image of the quintessential Subie being a bit of a beater.
This was its good side.
Just because a car is campaigned by a professional race team doesn't mean it's immune from beateritis. Some of the most simultaneously brilliant and hooptiefied fixes I've seen have been on upper-echelon racecars. Turns out, they love zip ties and tape just as much as the rest of us.
Isachsen also had a bit of contact on the track. That car was taped back together in a futile attempt to get it back on track in a fashion that would make Red Green proud. Bonus points for matching tape and a makeshift grille.
Not a single car on the Subaru team was squeaky clean, either.
Bucky Lasek is no stranger to winning X Games medals, only they've all been for skateboarding until now. You couldn't have found a happier guy with a silver medal in the entire place.
Also, I really need to jump a car again after watching these guys go airborne all weekend. The last time I jumped a car (surprise, surprise) was in a beater Subaru.
If you have a beater Subaru, it isn't just your right to jump it in the air, it is your duty.