Hey everyone -

Excited new guy here...I'm an old school enthusiast (Restored a '72 240Z - worked on cars in the Carburetor days), but it's been a long time since I've owned a car (living in Manhattan for the last 5 years).

So...I just got a black '09 wrx 5 door. I'm loving it, it's a pretty incredible car (Especially for the money). I just hit 1,000 miles so I'm ready to stretch it's legs out a bit and I have quite a few questions...

I know there are a few tuners that make performance parts for it (Cobb, etc). I'm a fan of workmanship and reliability. Who crafts the best, highest quality parts for my car? I know many companies make the same type of parts, but who is the best? I'm looking for quality...

I'd like to go simple stage 1 maybe stage 2 at some point, the usual stuff.

Here's what I'm thinking:

Intake - recommendations welcome...not sure who makes the best one.

Cat Back Exhaust - I'd like to get the quietest performance exhaust you can buy. Is there anything out there that will give a performance bump, but not rustle bird feathers from 4 blocks away? I'm a fan of being a sleeper...I don't like to look over my shoulder every 2 minutes for cops.

ECU remap - very important...who do you guys trust with this? I want to ensure that it won't affect daily driveability.

Strut Tower Brace - again, just something high-quality...nicely beaded welds, etc.

Rear brace - Is this necessary? Does it really help?


De-badging? Does anyone have experience with this? I'd like to remove most of the badges...are they drilled in or slapped on with strong adhesive? If it's the latter - I'll just pull them myself. If it's the former...it goes to a body shop. Again, suggestions are welcome.

Wheels - Once my OEM tires wear out, I'm think I'm going to throw on some 18's. Can anyone recommend a good, light, wheelset for 1500 or less? Maybe black on black?

Rear Tail lights - I know many people don't like the new body design (understatment), but I like it...except for the rear lights. They're pretty ugly. I saw one that had sort of blacked out the circumference of the light - giving it a smaller, cleaner look. I also saw someone that did this in red. How did they do it?

Ok, I guess that's it for now. Thanks in advance for your advice, and I can't wait to get out and carve some canyons!