Those of you that were around a few years ago may recall this part, but for those of you who were not here’s a short explanation of what it does:
As the name implies it is an “X” shaped brace which connects critical chassis points in the rear bulkhead of your 02-07 Subaru Impreza sedan. By connecting and thus triangulating these points you dramatically reinforce the chassis.
The end benefits are these:
- 12% increase in torsional rigidity
- 10% increase in lateral acceleration
- 0.1g increase on skidpad
- Improved slalom speed / time
- Significantly reduced lap times
- improved ride quality
- Fewer squeaks and rattles
For those of you with a short attention span that should cover it. For those of you with more questions we’re hoping the points below cover most of them:
- Who is CarLab Development?
- Why did they make the X-brace?
- Why did they pull it from the market?
- Where does TiC fit into all this?
So, to get started, who is CarLab Development (CLd)?
The CarLab is an advanced automotive consulting firm which helps manufacturers and suppliers plan and design new vehicles. This means this is a group of engineers who several years ago created a company that consults to the automotive builders around the world in aspects of product planning, design consulting, vehicle analysis, research, forecasting and upcoming technology. In other words these are the guys helping to design cars, and because they are a consulting firm they are not limited to just one brand. Instead they work with everyone that builds cars, and are truly the guys that can say “there’s some of me in that car” whenever they see a new model on the street.
At some point, though, consultants want to create for themselves. That would be the members of CARLAB Development, LLC., a wholly separate entity created just to, well, create.
Why did they make the X-brace?
The guys over at CLd are working in the automotive industry, know how cars really work at the most minute levels, are enthusiasts at heart and really want to make cars better. So, getting a VIP buy on one of the first STi’s brought into North America wasn’t enough. The car was apart the day after delivery, and the search for improvement began - improvement beyond typical aftermarket offerings.
The result was the X-Brace, a part that can be installed with basic hand tools in an afternoon by your average enthusiast, and has measurable, real world gains in performance without sacrificing normal function of the car.
The end result was so unique and useful that they were even awarded a utility (the tough ones) patent on it.
Why did they pull it from the market?
This is a question that has been asked many times over, yet there’s never been a solid explanation as to why. Hopefully this can help clear the air. Manufacturing, selling, shipping, supporting, and further development of a product takes a lot of time and resources. Keep in mind they never set out to be an aftermarket part manufacturer or supplier. Being consultants to the automotive industry during the day, and engineering useful parts for their own toys at CLd in the “off” hours was one thing. Trying to manage orders, materials, production and shipping schedules was quite another.
The hobby had become a distraction. So, something had to give, and that was the X-Brace. They filled all outstanding orders, and much to the dismay of Subaru enthusiasts, discontinued the X-Brace.
Where does TiC fit into all this?
We have always been big fans of the X-Brace. We have always been car nuts too. So we were pretty disappointed with it was pulled from the market, and we kept waiting and waiting to see if it would come back.
I guess you could say we’re not patient because we started to look at it more and more, yet we didn’t want to step on any toes as the design wasn’t ours, the idea wasn’t ours, the history wasn’t ours. We had to find a way to work with CLd on this. It became a bit of an obsession here actually.
We had suspected that it was pulled from the market for the reasons above, and while CLd isn’t an aftermarket performance part company we are. We understand what it takes to manufacture, sell, ship and support a product. We contacted the folks at CLd to ask about licensing the rights to the X-Brace. We have done this in the past with some success, and we thought we’d try it here.
Fortunately for all of us they entertained the idea, understood our strengths relative to theirs, and we started working things out to make it happen.
Currently there is only one version of the X-brace and that fits the Impreza GD Sedan. We know there is demand for the GC chassis so we are working on it. We also know there is demand for the GD wagon so we're looking at that one too.