Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler

Hyundai Santa Cruz, eat your heart out. Someone’s made a pickup WRX, and it looks dope!

Whilst on my nearly post-pandemic go-see in Detroit, I learned of a certain website’s reader meet-up, hosted by the illustrious David Tracy. Coincidentally, my Airbnb was down the street from his Jeep-filled front yard. What kind of auto journalist would I be if I didn’t take the time to meet another industry colleague and car-obsessive? Plenty of people showed up with lots of cool cars, but this WRX pickup caught my eye. 

Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
Image: Kevin Williams

The conversion was done well. The rear door shut lines are completely gone, and there’s no hint they were ever there. The cab is well resolved, and car (truck?) had a fully functioning tailgate, that looked to be crafted from the old sedan’s trunk lid.

Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
Image: Kevin Williams

I shot a couple pictures at the meetup, but I neglected to get socials and contact information, I was too distracted by David Tracy’s big cowboy hat. 

Still, I edited a couple of good photos I took with my Canon M50, and posted them in on Instagram and Twitter. Within a few hours, car internet denizens linked me to the owner, and I got the chance to ask him some questions about his dope-ass Subaru neo-Brat build.

“So it all started when I saw the Mighty Car Mods X Roadkill episode on youtube. They chopped up a Bugeye WRX wagon and turned it into a Ute, When I heard that Smyth Performance was coming out with a kit to turn a GD Subaru chassis (02-07 Impreza) into a Ute, I knew I had to do it,” owner Michael Lee told me via an Instagram direct message.

Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
The Subaru Pickup started life as a WRX sedan. – Image: Michael Lee

His build took awhile, about three months from his first cut, to a somewhat drivable state. It’s still an ever-changing project, as he says there’s little things left he wants to do and change.

Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
Image: Michael Lee
Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
Image: Michael Lee

The truck conversion is intense. It involves cutting the rear of the car off, fashioning a usable cab and bed, boxing off the wheel tubs and suspension mounting points, and reinforcing the sides of the new bed. Lee did it all in his garage. The kit comes with all that, too.

Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
Smyth Bed in place. – Image: Michael Lee
Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
Image: Michael Lee
Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
Image: Michael Lee

Lee alternates between his Subaru BRZ and this WRX Truck as his daily driver.

Santa Cruz Who? This Subaru WRX Pickup Is Far Cooler
Image: Michael Lee

“I originally intended for it to be a Winter/rallycross car, but event planners couldn’t sign off on the build for insurance reasons. And it also kind of hurts to expose it to salt,” said Lee. It’s sad that he can’t autocross it, but it’s still a pretty cool build!

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams

Kevin's been into cars his entire life, anything from the tiny kei cars in Japan, to the maybe not-so-good American barges of the 1980s. He's flipped more than 25 cars, only lost money twice, and has known how to make his dollar stretch as far as it can. If he ain't talking about cars, he's probably snacking on something sweet and cakey. Contact the author here.