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  • Writer's pictureMarc A. Goldbaum

Raphael Carreon: 2018 Subaru Crosstrek


Sunday November 25th at six o’clock in the morning I met up Raphael at a Chevron off of the 241 Toll Road and E Santiago Canyon Rd. The air was cold and dry, the moon was large and full(ish). I stupidly road my motorcycle and currently had a numb face, neck, and hands. But this story isn’t about my short comings in seasonal preparedness. This story is about Raphael and his journey to/with Subaru. It is about the community he found, the trails he has traveled, and yes, mods. The sweet, sweet, affliction that torments many a gearhead.

This Subaru journey started where many other stories surrounding the contagion known as auto-addition, at the LA Auto Show. Raphael arrived this day with a group of Jeep driving off-road enthusiasts. Recently a BMW-canyon-carving-aficionado he found himself intrigued by a different source of adrenaline. Though his dirt digging friends were loyalists to the nation of Jeep, they insisted this 2018 Subaru Crosstrek was the vehicle to checkout. It was love at first sight. As soon as the Crosstrek was released, Raphael bought one. The very next day he found himself bombing up the Maple Trail. This very trail is where we found ourselves on this auspicious Sunday.

Climbing the Maple was something I had done the Thursday before when I ignorantly thought I found a cool trail Raphael hadn’t driven before. He was humble in the explanation of his fluency in this matter. We started the climb at a spirited pace. Not recklessly fast by any means, just faster than I had ever gone on that trail before. I assured him that there was no need in driving at a speed he wasn’t comfortable with. He assured me he always drives like this. That somehow comforted my mind and we continued.

Just as I was about to ask if he had ever taken the XTrek off any jumps he chimed in.

“I have jumped this before” Raphael said with a smirk.

“I was just about to ask that!” Clearly he could read my mind.

“It did hurt though.” He murmured.

"Would you do it again?" I had to ask.


We laughed and continued to share stories of the Subaru community, mishaps, and mods. As mods go, this vehicle isn’t dripping in every bolt on available. Eibach springs paired with spacers give XTrek18 a 1.5” lift. Off-road tires deflated to 30psi (as opposed to the daily 36psi) are wrapped around his Method wheels. A skid plate, mudflaps, rain guards, exhaust, and an array of ample lighting fixtures finish off Raphael’s Limited Xtrek exterior. He has plans for a roof rack. At times “K.I.S.S.” is an acronym to live by.

When it comes to the people of the OC Subaru group, one part was made abundantly clear. The Suba-thusiasts have been actively helpful and more kind than not. Whether it is questions about modifying his car or in search for the next great trail to dig through and even camp on, the community is always there to answer his questions with only moderate sarcasm. Being one of the first Crosstreks sold in OC and the first to be modified, Raphael recons, he now finds himself being a go-to person when others are looking to do work on their New-Gen Subarus. From love at first sight to becoming a purveyor of modification information Raphael has embraced and been embraced by the OC Subaru group. Thank you for the cool stories and the spirited drive through pines, birch, and up the red dirt like I’ve never experienced before.

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