If memory serves, the last time I associated the word "vaded" with a vehicle, it was 2013, and I had just spent the day at the base of Mount Fuji with a grandpa named Takero Satou and his turbocharged RB3 Honda Odyssey minivan. However, I'm an OG Star Wars nerd, so my definition of the word "vaded" might be a little different than yours, so here's an updated definition:
vaded (adj.) - a goal of higher quality and higher standard
The guy responsible for turning this slang into a cultural catchphrase is Bloomington, Indiana, native Joshua Freeman, a gent who left the Genesis Coupe community in search of a fresh direction, only to find STI bliss. While years of selling aftermarket parts for a local performance shop had left Josh with an abundance of inspiration and bank notes, it wasn't until a close friend took him for a spin in an STI that things really got interesting.
In September 2015, he purchased a brand-new STI and began buying one high-end part after another. Josh then turned toward creating his own car club/streetwear brand to help embody what he felt was missing within the aftermarket community. Known as "Vaded Mob," Josh's crew grew exponentially, advanced by a mission statement that encouraged both positivity and acceptance.
As for the STI, which to many is the face of the Vaded Mob movement, it's been more than four years since it first came into the fold, and it has been both the blessing and bane of its owner's existence. From build frustrations and engine failures to the triumphant result of what it is today, the car Josh has created is about as brash as it gets.
Even way back in the winter of 2015, Josh was already pushing the performance envelope with a custom flex-fuel kit from Johnson Tuning. Paired with basic bolt-ons, this setup allowed the STI's stock internals to safely generate a respectable 428 whp and 373 lb-ft once combined with a Blouch Dom 1.5XTR turbo.
This only caused Josh to hanker for more mods, with a bigger turbo and custom aero resting right at the top. Within two years, Josh's STI was completely "Vaded Out," both in appearance and boosted brazenness. With a widebody kit by IDL Designs doing the talking and a rotated 6466 turbo setup doing the walking, the STI put down a panty-twisting 821 whp and 618 lb-ft on 38 psi of boost courtesy of an IAG Performance Stage 4 engine package.
Be that as it may, a jump from a 400-plus-whp stock block build to an 800-plus-whp Stage 4 closed-deck setup does not come without complications. It meant heads lifting on the dyno, which resulted in the removal of the motor not once, but three times. All of this re-machining set the entire build back six months, which was extremely hard on the owner, as Josh tells us driving serves as his form of decompression.
But the EJ's "headaches" were eventually alleviated, and the lofty goal of breaking the 800-whp barrier was surpassed, leaving room for the next area of focus: fabrication. This meant contacting Fathouse Fabrications for a custom front-mount intercooler, and a one-off downpipe with equal-length headers. These unique upgrades were followed by a hood-ported titanium dump tube and a matching intake pipe, because nothing says "Vaded" quite like pie-cut engine components made out of one of earth's most precious alloys.
Come 2018, Josh's STI was ready for its next one-off apparatus: a stand-alone MoTeC ECU. Longtime tuner Corbin Johnson made the argument that this expensive enhancement would boost efficiency and bring additional engine protection to the forefront. It would also allow Josh to wield one hell of a high-performance trump card: rolling anti-lag launches.
Josh tells us this feature is one of the greatest perks of driving his STI, as it provides a custom "overboost" function at high speeds. With its engine revving around 6,500 rpm while the cruise control cancel button is simultaneously held down, Josh's STI can build an additional 28 pounds of boost. When maximum pressure is reached and the finger is removed from the "cruise cancel" button, the STI launches forward, throwing everyone within the 'caged cabin back in their seats.
While we're on the topic of seating, apparently this Subie has the only red-stitched Takata Drift Pro LE seats with carbon-fiber backings in the U.S. Note how these coveted carbon booty-grabbers are complemented by the Subispeed carbon-fiber/Alcantara steering wheel, complete with carbon bezels and red stitching to match the rest of the interior. Meanwhile, touches like a leather display cover with red stitching and OLM S-Line carbon switch panel covers with a matching stereo visor add the finishing touches.
Josh's STI utilizes a matching powdercoat pigment on both key air suspension components and on the Olden and Autopower tubing within the cabin. As the STI is hunched atop 18-inch SSR Professor SP3 forged rollers and supported by a wide array of handling upgrades, fancy footwork is a conclusive strong suit.
Up next on the roster of upgrades to install are Driveshaft Shop's Level 5 axle package, along with a carbon-fiber driveshaft from the same brand. But until axles start snapping, Josh tells us he's completely happy with how his STI sits, deep within the folds of the Vaded Mob community.