Modding for Daily Driving

So, in the last blog post I talked about responsible modifications. This came in the form of adding an air oil separator to my car. But, today I’ll be writing about doing some modifications that add to the daily driving experience. The reason I wanted to talk about this is, that in the modern car world of social media, incredible YouTube videos, and wild TikToks, in a world of 1000+ hp builds, it is easy to feel lost in our own builds. It becomes easy to forget about the less glamorous modifications that people don’t often talk about but, can make a huge difference.

These “daily driving” mods, as I will refer to them, can come in a variety of flavors. Everything from new or upgraded bushings, new or upgraded mounts, suspension components etc. These items often won’t be seen by anyone else. They won’t dramatically change the stance or power of your car but, they can make huge differences to the feel. I write this not to say there’s anything wrong with a good park and chill. Or building a car that looks like a true piece of art, or is a demon on the track or drag strip. But, for many of us, our cars are also our daily drivers. And if, like me, your car is your daily, then most of your time in the car is just regular driving. So why not make that driving feel as good as possible?

I was humbly reminded of this truth in the past few weeks as I finally took the plunge and purchased and installed three new parts that have changed the driving feel so much that I was genuinely shocked. Recently I purchased a Cobb shift plate, Perrin Shift Stopper, and Perrin Brass Shifter Bushing. From the factory, the VA WRX has a fine shift lever and shift feel. It’s not great, there’s a good bit of slop in 1st and 2nd, the throws are a little long but not horrible, and the shifts feel soft and almost mushy. For more than a year now, I have been driving around with the OEM setup and it’s been fine. I never really thought about it much. Early on, I switched to a custom Billitworkz weight shift knob which feels great in the hand and adds some weight to each shift. But, otherwise, everything was original. After reading so much praise for the shift components I purchased, I decided to take the plunge and try it myself.

The Cobb Shift Plate replaces the OEM shift plate. The Cobb plate is much heavier, and smaller, and has two different positions for the shift cable to attach to to reduce the throw by either 15% or 35%. The Perrin shift stop adds a guide to the side of the shift lever on the left where 1st and 2nd are found, which matches the same OEM guide on the right for 5th and 6th. The shift stop also adds gates at the top and bottom to stop the shift lever sooner. Finally, the Perrin Brass shifter bushing replaces a soft OEM rubber bushing that connects the shift cable to the shift plate. Together the total install time was roughly 2 hours, and the result? The cleanest smoothest most crispy shifts I have ever experienced. Honestly, my expectations were low. I knew these items would make shifts feel better but, I could have never imagined how much. There is no longer any slop in any gear, the lever travels 35% less between shifts and locks firmly against the gates. Each push and pull of the lever are weighty, snappy, and crisp. I genuinely wish I would have added these parts right after buying the car. They have truly changed the driving feel in the best way. After all, the shifter is one of the components we interact with the most, so  why not make it glorious each and every time?

All this to say, we are all surrounded by incredible builds. Posts left and right of things we all never even dreamed could be done. Builds that push the envelope farther than ever before and faster than ever before. We can all easily get lost chasing those incredible numbers and new places. But, sometimes, maybe we should slow down and do some mods for daily driving. And just enjoy driving.

Ed Edwards

Service advisor from the Austin, TX area who has a soft spot for turbo four cylinders, or anything unusual. I currently have a 2019 WRX which I daily and am modifying to be a fun show-esque daily.