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Rivalries are Overrated: The AWD Squad Ph meet


Great things come out of great rivalries, often we would cheer for one side and berate the other. When one side is almost equally matched against the other, battles become intense and thrilling, knowing one can get the edge over the other in any instant. Rivals can push each other to be better, and in a way this relationship is healthy for some of us. But what happens if it’s taken too far? When the battle gets taken out of context and into places it doesn’t belong, people can get hurt. And as always, things could take a darker turn.


In the case of contemporary turbocharged 4WDs, the Impreza WRX STI and the Lancer Evolution have always split people into two camps, each side proving why their cars are better. This rift between enthusiasts has gone to the point that you would immediately be judged as an enemy for driving the other car. When cars are supposedly made to bring people together, some would make it appear that having one of these cars serves as a barrier for the other.


One thing that makes me appreciate the car community here in Manila is the fact that many of the people actually value the person behind the car. I suppose this is how groups like the AWD Squad Ph come together despite their chosen sides.

At their inaugural meet, STIs and Evos of various generations came together to share in all that is different and similar with their AWD drivetrains and setups. Plenty of clean and tastefully built machines from both camps have made a showing, each having their own takes and twists to the rally-bred legends.


Take this impeccably clean Lancer Evolution 4 RS for example. With very few choice aftermarket modifications like a 4-point Cusco roll cage, the car has remained mostly stock; airbox, factory wheels, roll-down windows and all. It definitely takes so much restraint and proper sourcing of the right factory parts to maintain a build such as this. This alone made for a good piece from the 90’s at this meet.


This white GDB Peanut Eye at the end of the lot seemed rather familiar with that huge Greddy Front Mount Intercooler peeking out. It turns out that this is the same Peanut Eye we’ve featured long ago, albeit with its new owner and sporting a new set of wheels. While it’s no longer as aggressive sans splitters and wide fenders, it’s nice to see it stay within the family and on to a good home!


Passion Orange would be a color most familiar to us in the shape of a Civic SiR, but to see a similar shade applied to a GDB Hawkeye with a quintessential set of bronze TE37s? Not bad, not bad at all. This car would easily be a sore thumb at an all-Subaru meet where majority of cars will be ‘World Rally Blue’, but all for the right reasons I’m sure!


Speaking of World Rally Blue, another Hawkeye showed up and drew attention for its pristine condition and low mileage. Running all stock and with only 6000kms on the odometer, I assume this car would be on its way to becoming a time capsule given its treatment as the years go by!


Next to it was the only bagged AWD in attendance. Being one of the first bagged Subarus in the country, Ruf Cuenca’s GDB WRX easily pulls the clean wingless look off with that low-slung ride height. Seeing as this car was bagged alongside my WRX at Car Porn Racing back then, it makes me miss my Subaru a little bit.


Wait a minute, I may have gotten too much on the roll with Subarus there! Let’s not forget our friends from the triple diamond camp! A couple Evos (a white 7 and this blue 9 if I’m not mistaken) were running these C-West bumpers during the meet, giving the front end a much more aggressive profile. That notch above the grille on the right side is supposed to meet the funnel for the airbox, which for the most part is retained even if the intake is changed to a short ram since the funnel can still feed air into the intake area.


While most of the Evos present were running mostly factory exteriors, their motors couldn’t be any farther from stock. Perhaps this Evo 9 would make a good case for that. You’ll notice the upgraded turbo manifold and the neat intake box from Apex’i, but the keen eye will catch that it’s also running a set of Okada Plasma Direct Ignition Coils that provide much more spark than conventional ignition equipment. Not to mention it replaces the spark plugs altogether too!


Despite the meet being mostly geared towards uniting STIs and Evos under one banner, some other AWDs have decided to show up as well. Can’t hurt to have a big boy GTR in their ranks I suppose.


This subtle two-tone SF Forester pulled up at a quiet part of the lot. Maybe next time some other Foresters would be in attendance for the next meet too!

Even if I no longer have an AWD car to my name, I was still cordially invited to the meet. Thankfully my RX-7 was joined by a couple rear-wheeled Toyotas to make our tiny FR circle.


See? Rivalries don’t need to go beyond the walls of competition. Meets like these prove that even a laid back Sunday afternoon can be spent with your opponents from the track provided everybody is of good character, and of course good taste in building cars.

The AWD Squad Ph meet Gallery



We would like to extend our thanks to Aris Kang for inviting us and providing photos of the meet.

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