Why does a Subaru remind me of Lego? It's not because you might step on it the wrong way in the middle of the night and experience an enormous amount of pain when you least expect it (that depends if you have ever broken down on a dark lonely road in the middle of the night). It's nothing to do with funky colour combos or little yellow men. It's got more to do with the way they fit together.
You see, somehow Subaru has managed to keep their simple recipe for so long that parts are possibly interchangeable across a 20-year production span. Now I'll just leave you to make the decision on whether that is a good or bad thing. If a product is really getting better, why does it still use old stuff? Well maybe the old stuff still works, and you don't fix what ain't broke right? Whichever way you go with this, it's really evident in the Subaru tuning scene that the slow evolution (no rival pun intended) has worked to the benefit of Subaru fans and tuners. Mixing and matching parts bins of brakes, transmissions, diffs, turbos, cranks, the list does really go on... Its similarity to kid's building blocks are a bit more clear now.
But what is going on now? Newer models seem to be from a totally different bloodline. The design elements could be from a Toyota Corolla family or maybe a Kia. Where is the common thread? They don't even sound like a Subaru anymore; equal length efficient headers threw the boxers signature under a bus in favour of better fuel figures. Where did it all begin and why was it special? (Now, this would be a good time to question the pink font in the cover image. Anyone find the link? Comment if you did.)
Subaru has set the stage for some serious retro cult following. The 90s and 2000's had a different spirit about them. Something that has a grassroots tangibility to them, an underdog heritage of cheap mods for big gains, easy fixes and unequal length headers for the win! EJ engines aren't perfect, but that is exactly it. They had character in their compromise and that couldn't be hidden. I hope there will be a time in the future where there is an Imprezza again and instead of a CVT it has a whole lot of soul... That brings me back to another reason Subaru reminded me of Lego, it made me want to play. Let's play again Subaru, come on!