In August of 2013, Minneapolis-based performance tuner Grimmspeed started unassuming threads on both NASIOC and LegacyGT.com titled "GrimmSpeed 08+ WRX/LGT Top Mount Intercooler - Any Interest". Those threads went on to accumulate over 110,000 page views and north of 1400 posts between them. These aren't huge numbers in the world of modern internet virality, but what these threads achieved, most notably, was the pre-sale of $129,000+ worth of intercoolers in just two days.
Those familiar with the EJ255 platform know that the stock Subaru intercoolers were small, crimped together, and prone to eventual failure, especially when pushed beyond stock boost level (who would ever want to do that?).
This has fueled a healthy market for aftermarket intercoolers for both the 05-09 Legacy GT's and the 08-14 WRX's which share a platform. Options varied from moderately expensive pieces with so-so fitiment, to Chinese knock-offs that that took acrobatic qualities to install right. Many units rubbed on master cylinders, or sat crooked in the engine bay, triggering the OCD in even some of the most aesthetically challenged.
All along the benchmark unit was the Process West, a boutique part imported from Australia, that commands more than $1000 when equipped with the proper splitter to mate to that trademark Subaru hood scoop. For schlubs like me who have the much rarer 05-09 Legacy GT, the proper splitters dried up years ago. An intercooler with a bad splitter is like a Ferrari on $75 all season radials, kind of defeats the purpose.
So in stepped Grimmspeed, with a proposal to solve the problem once and for all, harnessing their well-known "enthusiast-focused" R&D process to create a product that solved all the problems with existing designs. They began by soliciting input, for months entertaining questions from the legions of WRX and LGT owners, all along sprinkling in teaser photos of porn-like weld shots, and core components.
Grimmspeed walked us laymen through the amazingly complex process of moving a new product through concept, design, and manufacturing in a way that is unique. At points, this micro-approach had followers weary of the tease, complaining that the project wasn't adhering to the originally planned schedule, as if Grimmspeed had entered into a contract to produce these by some arbitrary deadline.
But on Wednesday, Grimmspeed released "Group Buy" threads on both NASIOC and LegacyGT.com (for those not familiar, these are forum threads that offer discounts for pre-ordering faithful). In this case they offered a 20% discount off MSRP, a thoughtful reward for those of us who underwent more than a year of torture watching the development of this product.
In the end, all that close attention had commanded the markets ear, and those threads went like wild fire. As of midday 12/12/14, there were 143 buyers signed up on the two threads, sales amounting to of $120,000 in just 48 hours. Not shabby for a small American company from Minneapolis.