Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A few years ago I met one of the nicest people in the world. It was in the inaugural year of this local blog we were starting up called and I found myself in Greer to hang out with some friends. I think it was a Wednesday and we were just enjoying the warm summer night when a white WRX strolled into the parking lot. The fitment craze was just getting started, so his stretched tires and the aggressive fit (for the time) of his Rota Torques caught my attention immediately. Ryan parked and got out of the car; he was tall with glasses and had an air of goofiness about him. He greeted me with compliments on the 240SX I was driving at the time, we exchanged pleasantries and somehow that developed into hours of conversation concerning car style and culture. I was impressed with how extensive his knowledge was and excited about his car. 

Flash forward to the present and I’m waiting on this asshole to take a break from playing Risk so he can sell me a pair of tires. By now we’ve been to many events together, hung out, and gotten to know each other pretty well. It’s crazy to think about how much everything changes over time, both friendships and automobiles. Ryan is no longer a new face, but a familiar one and his car an entirely different animal than the one I first encountered in that Staples parking lot.

Ryan’s WRX is currently rolling on a beautiful set of Work Eurolines, in a rare 5x100 non-staggered fitment – a far cry from the Rotas he started with, which can be best described as “entry-level.” Over the years the car just keeps getting lower and he’s gone through several gorgeous sets of wheels. Richey is one of the first Subaru guys to take the air suspension route, utilizing aD2 Racing/Bag Riders system. The results are phenomenal and it’s easy to see why air is gaining so much popularity. The installation of the air setup was performed by Ryan personally, as is much of the other work on the car. His confident attitude and willingness to try new things, even at the risk of bad results, has been the key to the individuality of the build. I have always been impressed by Ryan because of this, and I wholeheartedly believe Ryan’s character is entirely deserving of the attention he has received lately.
However, with attention come critics and Ryan has attracted plenty of them. From every direction they cry out against his ride height and his wheel selection. Yet, he brushes it off with class and simply continues to be himself. His style is oft described as a combination of Japanese VIP and Volkswagen – though I think it’s best to leave the labels out. Ryan Richey’s style is in a class of its own. Think an idea is crazy? Or dangerous? He’ll probably try it anyways. 

You can see Ryan everywhere, from online features to manning the Grip Royal booth at various events. The car is almost always different. He cycles through wheels on a regular basis and is constantly pushing boundaries. If you see him, don’t be intimidated by his fame (lol). He is still that friendly, goofy guy from years ago and is the kind of person that will seriously inconvenience himself in order to help someone out. Check out his car and if you get a chance take the time to talk to him – 
you may just meet a lifelong friend.


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