The Buzz on “RumbleBee”

9/26/2018

Drive Performance 15.3

Extreme Subie enthusiast Sam Sanchez goes big and bright with his epic WRX STI.

There’s a reason you notice yellow cars on the road. They stand out in a sea of gray, black, silver and white. It took Sam Sanchez a try or two to settle on an impossible-to-miss bright yellow for his beloved 2004 WRX STI, but once selected, it became the core of the car’s identity. The “RumbleBee,” as Sanchez calls his ride, is an evolving project – but the yellow is here to stay. “It went through a ‘first color attempt’ that I now find silly,” says Sanchez, of Orange County, California. “There was some trial and error. Being a fan of the Sonic and Blaze yellows, though, I came to realize that re-creating a similar color on a 2004 STI was an obvious choice.” Indeed, it’s hard not to stare at “RumbleBee,” named in tribute to both the rumble of its exhaust and Transformers character Bumblebee. 

Sam Sanchez
Sanchez at the Bring the Noise exhaust contest in Irwindale, California.

Follow Sanchez on Instagram: @rumblebee.STI

For Sanchez, “RumbleBee” isn’t just a car; it’s a way of life. The founder of Los Angeles Subies, he organizes shows, cruises and events throughout the year. He’s also a SubieFest judge and has competed in the SEMA Battle of the Builders. “After I purchased my Subaru, I found the community to be very supportive,” says Sanchez, “and owners at meets were really friendly. So I started a meet in Downey, California, and it grew really large with a very consistent run.” From there he was off and running.

“RumbleBee’s” list of mods is extensive, and Sanchez has a hard time picking favorites. One standout though, he says, is the Seibon Carbon rear spoiler, an aggressive, aerodynamic wing. It plays off a custom carbon-fiber trunk that blends with the lines of the body. “It’s a nice carbon element and aesthetic touch,” says Sanchez. Below, there’s a rear diffuser with an extra touch of carbon fiber on either side of the RMBL B vanity plate.

Visual Autowerks window vents with silver rivets allow fresh air in.
Visual Autowerks window vents with silver rivets allow fresh air in.

Take a walk to the side and Visual Autowerks window vents with silver rivets allow Sanchez to get fresh air without letting anything into the car – and they look good, too. Even more striking are the wheels, which Sanchez had powder-coated in a rich copper with a matching polished copper lip.

Vinyl specialists JDMFV in Brea, California, wrapped the WRX in Gloss Sunflower Yellow and Satin Gold Dust Black. The custom overlay features a bold honeycomb pattern with even more subtle, embossed honeycombs on the black portions of the wrap. “Luis Morones from JDMFV understood me from the start,” says Sanchez. “If it wasn’t for him, my vision would never have become reality.”

Vinyl specialists JDMFV in Brea, California, wrapped the WRX in Gloss Sunflower Yellow and Satin Gold Dust Black.
Vinyl specialists JDMFV in Brea, California, wrapped the WRX in Gloss Sunflower Yellow and Satin Gold Dust Black. 
Photo: Adam Tejeda @visualsbyadumb

Pop the trunk and the custom work is apparent with a Kicker® audio system – usually, Sanchez says, playing EDM, hip-hop or stand-up comedy. “I try not to take life too seriously,” he says. The Kicker leaves plenty of room for cargo. Sanchez has a family and wanted space to stow a stroller. The “RumbleBee” isn’t just for show, after all; it’s his daily driver, so it needed to work for the whole clan.

Get comfortable in the NRG bucket seats and you’ll find a limited-edition NRG quick- release steering wheel. It’s covered in black suede and, as a nod to the copper wheels, has copper contrast stitching, center marks, hub and spokes. On the dash, AEM gauges display boost, air/fuel ratio, oil temperature and oil pressure.

Powder-coated wheels in a rich copper with a matching polished copper lip.
Limited-edition NRG quick- release steering wheel

When he’s not living the exclusively Subie life, Sanchez promotes other auto enthusiast get-togethers through his company, AWDsome Lifestyles events. That’s a story in itself, but the gist is that Sanchez has devoted extensive time and effort to bringing the same energy he finds at Subie events to the broader auto community. The AWD, in this case, stands for “Any Wheels Driven.”

Still, Subie events, both his own and others, will always be close to his heart. “Being involved in the industry is about more than just what car projects should look like; it’s about what fuels your momentum,” he says. “So, what fuels me? Waking up to every event and seeing all the friendly faces that decided to break out of their shell. You find yourself with the urge to quote the Subaru slogan: ‘Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.’”

I couldn’t do it without my AWDsome team; day-one supporters Miguel Estrada and Ivan Tarula; Steve from NRG Innovations; and my shop of choice, Powered by RPM. Also, Jan Lim, Jose Valdez and A.J. Palomer from the 'Between the Lines Subaru' documentary for believing in the movement.
An AWDsome Sunday Cruise to Julian, California.
An AWDsome Sunday Cruise to Julian, California.

Sanchez’s Build Highlights

Interior Exterior Fuel Turbo Oiling/Cooling
NRG Steering Wheel, NRG hub and quick release Seibon carbon fiber hood and front lip 1300cc injectors PERRIN front mount intercooler Mishimoto oil cooler
AEM gauges: (air/fuel, oil pressure, oil temp, boost) APR carbon fiber spitter and side mirrors Outfront Motorsports stainless steel braided fuel rails Tomei ARMS M8265 20g Turbo Crawford air-oil separator
BAM SHIFTS custom weighted shift knob Seibon carbon fiber roof spoiler     Mishimoto coolant expansion tank
IN.FOCUS shift boot Powered by RPM carbon fiber trunk and side skirts     PERRIN coolant expansion tank
NRG racing seats Visual Auto Werks window vents     Mishimoto ancillary hoses
NRG harness bar Full Custom Honeycomb vinyl wrap in two-tone yellow and black by 3M     Aluminum radiator
NRG SFI certified harnesses       Superstik dipstick
        Mishimoto oil cap
Sanchez’s company, AWDsome Lifestyles, puts on events for all auto enthusiasts. The AWD, in this case, stands for “Any Wheels Driven.
Sanchez’s company, AWDsome Lifestyles, puts on events for all auto enthusiasts. The AWD, in this case, stands for “Any Wheels Driven.”

All Subaru vehicles sold by Subaru of America are designed and built for normal driving conditions. The Subaru Limited Warranty, as well as the Subaru Added Security program, may exclude damage or failure resulting from modifications or participation in competition or racing events. See the Subaru Warranty and Maintenance booklet for further details.