Featured Member of the Month - December 2015
Everyone should be familiar with the idea of dogs and their owners resembling one another; well the same can be said for Mike Fodor and his Saaburu. The terms character, personality, and charisma barely scratch the surface in explaining this young man and his stunning vehicle, which is ultimately a direct reflection of the owner’s energy, ability, and serious attention to design and function. Mike has a long running history and love affair with Subarus, or as he puts it he, “…has a little bit of a Subaru problem…” that began in high school when he heard the iconic rumble of a World Rally Blue Bugeye “ripping it from a light.” WRXs were just coming on scene here in our great United States, so he had no idea what it was, but he knew that one day he would have one to call his own. Currently Mike’s project is his Desert Silver 2005 Saab 9-2X Aero, which he’s had ownership of since the vehicle’s purchase from Port Saint Lucie in December of 2011. If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing this soulful machine in person, you’ll understand the reason for his landslide win for December’s Member of the Month; each modification is deliberated upon for months, with endless amounts of reading, research, and consideration from fellow enthusiasts; this NFSG member is extremely passionate about the brand and his impression upon it.
Michael Fodor is 31 year old, larger than life Leo, who is looking for that special someone! He enjoys launch control, boost season, and long drives on the… Just kidding, this isn’t Tinder, but we’d totally swipe right based on the Aero alone! Mike’s had the pleasure of seeing the world, courtesy of his parent’s time in the service; both Navy Chiefs, Mike decided in 2004 to follow in their footsteps and join as a Naval Aircrewman (Avionics), or an in-flight technician and operator (he’s since gotten out and now works for an aviation company based out of Savannah, Georgia). Born in Hawaii, raised in Oklahoma, Maryland, Georgia, and Florida, it’s no wonder that he’s such a unique individual. The year 2005 was a big one for Mike, he arrived on scene in Jacksonville for his first duty station, and he made a purchase that would forever change his life; the 2004 Plasma Silver Metallic Premium WRX.
While a blobeye has become iconic and highly sought after of late, Mike was not initially wowed with his purchase (his heart was set on a bugeye) but a Chargespeed lip kit changed his perception. The combination of reckless youth and horsepower equated to a myriad of tickets, so she was ultimately sold. He went on to own a 2006 Satin White Pearl Legacy, and a 2006 Aspen White Impreza (which he later sold), and on a whim he purchased a 2000 Silvethorn Metallic Impreza 2.5RS. Like every devoted RS owner, this whim became the driving force behind Mike’s dedication to the modification process. The RS was given a JDM makeover with an aluminum hood, V6 STi grille, clear side markers and fender blinkers, the “good” tail lights, flat fuel door, coupe spoiler, STi gauge cluster, and V2 STi seats. Any RS owner would agree, the love affair with these cars can easily fall to the wayside in lieu of the need for reliability, and so (very reluctantly) the RS was sold, and the uniquely dusty Aero was purchased.
The 2005 Desert Silver Saab 9-2X Aero is a unique breed of engineering and partnership. Saab was looking to appeal to a younger demographic whose pocketbooks might not be as padded as their parents, and the Subaru WRX Wagon spoke to them. Taking a leaf from their GM parent’s handbook, Saab decided to partner with Subaru; by stylizing, tweaking suspension, and utilizing the turbocharged boxer engine, the AWD Aero was born. In spite of its exclusivity and practicality, the 9-2X was discontinued after 2 years in production, which makes this an incredibly rare find. The year 2005 was the only year that Desert Silver was a factory color, which accounted for only 13% of the total cars painted that year which makes it the second rarest color behind red (cough, Wally Darling, cough). Mike’s 2005 Aero is the 132nd out of 3574 ever produced. As far as modifications go, Mike’s list is by no means short, but he is very humble and proud of what he’s accomplished. He began with a Cobb Turboback Exhaust, Short Ram Intake, and Access Port (he actually made a personal trip to Cobb in Dallas when he was living in Oklahoma, and got to check out the spaces and various builds). Not impressed with the lackluster interior, he then set his sights on replacing the 2005 WRX door cards and 2007 WRX front seats, and now he’s in the process of converting to a full black interior from a 2006 Limited WRX. In reality, the only portion of the car that remains stock is the Aero’s transmission (for now) and the exterior, with the exception of blacked out badging, paint matched grill, and his black vinyl wrapped roof (which, by the by, he hates). The heart of the matter is a stage two, Brent Patchen built, and Drunkmann tuned Version 7 EJ207; this is hands down, his favorite modification and who could blame him for loving a semi-closed deck that aids in preventing our dreaded ringland failures? Apart from the engine, the 2004 STi BBS wheels (dressed up by Shaun), big brake conversion, and the 2006 STi under aero panels are some of the practical and eye-pleasing modifications that speak to his attention to design and functionality. In the future, he hopes to tend to his body and paint.
As for his relationship with North Florida Subaru Group, Mike appreciates the helpful people and resources that the group has readily available. Many of our fellow members have forged great friendships from the love of the brand, and Mike says that he wouldn’t know half of the people he does without Subarus and NFSG. “The monthly meets are nice as well to meet new faces, see cool cars and do cool events with people that share the same interest in cars. I know I don't know all 1000+ members of NFSG but it's nice rolling up on one on the highway, yelling over the wind noise only to find out they are on NFSG.”
“Big shout out to Brent for swapping it out for me and keeping her on the road. Thanks! I would like to thank everyone who voted for me and everyone that has helped me in any way with my car. That goes from Will the Subaru Wizard (RIP) and Brent at Sojax who were/are my go to techs, to Shaun who made my wheels beautiful, to Jose and Matt who are always there at a drop of a hat to lend a helping hand or listen and give constructive feedback to Tim who I think was my first Subaru friend and is still a great friend to this day. Thanks everyone!”