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Newport Convertibles rolls out Subaru Impreza WRX STI drop-top

Thu, 28 Apr 2011 00:00:00 -0700

Just in time for summer, Newport Specialty Cars rolls out its latest dropped top, the Subaru Impreza WRX STI. You are guaranteed to be the hit of the local scene from Tacoma to Tallahassee when you roll up in one of these. With room for five, your popularity could potentially quadruple.

We have driven many convertible conversions from these guys over the years--starting with an NSX in 1995--and they have all felt tight and secure over potholes, railroad tracks and any other suburban whoop-de-dos that got in the way. There were some fit-and-finish issues here and there, but the fundamental work was solid.

As with prior conversions, Newport reinforced the windshield frame, undercarriage and A- and B-pillars and added a basket-handle hoop connecting the B-pillars.

The work adds 140 pounds to the STI's 3,384-pound curb weight, which shouldn't wreak too much havoc on your power-to-weight ratio and might even be worth it in added points for style. The top goes down in 12 seconds, and there's even a nice cover for it once it's reclined. Trunk space is still available, too, even when the top's down. We don't have a figure but it looks as if about half the boot space is still free for groceries.

What's the convertible conversion cost?

“Starting from $25,000 and up,” was the somewhat vague quote we got from Newport's marketing guy Matthew Kahnamelli.

The company does a wide range of conversions, from things you'd never imagine with chopped tops to things that make perfect sense as convertibles--Hummer H2s and Toyota FJs to Dodge Challengers and Chevrolet Camaros.

You can see the range of potential donor cars at You can e-mail the shop at, or call (714) 666-2449.

For the STI conversion, there is only one authorized dealer, Manchester Subaru in Manchester, N.H. You can reach owner Todd Berkowitz at (603) 668-2411. (Only one authorized outlet in the whole country? Who knows how that deal was set up?) You don't have to go all the way to New Hampshire to get your STI done, but that's the only authorized dealer.

For the other convertibles, there are more dealers. Newport Specialty Cars will either point you toward an authorized dealer in your area or, if there is no local dealer, then handle the transaction itself. All the work is done at NSC's Placentia, Calif., shop.

Now get some sunscreen and call them.

By Mark Vaughn