I was looking at the shifter location on the T5 transmission and I was thinking I would have to use the furthest aft shifter mount and extend the handle back and to the left by about a foot to be able to reach top gear at the far top right of the shift pattern. Then I started thinking that mounting the engine further back would help, but that I would need to cut the body for clearance. Then I let my imagination go wild and tried to imagine the entire engine mounted behind the original firewall and sticking out the side of the cowl on the right, moving everything 28″ to the rear from the ahead-of-the-firewall position. This position would allow installing the shifter in the middle mounting point as far as fore-and-aft positioning, and only slightly longer than the Camaro/Mustang short shifter to reach 5th gear because of the radical engine offset.
Now the body modification needed to get that much rear mounting are pretty severe what with the right side cylinder head sticking out about 2″ from the passenger side door. I know I had posted a much further extension in a previous post but my calculations used an erroneous premise that doubled the offset for right side measurements and subtracted double the offset for left side. That was a mistake. The correct way is to add on the right side and subtract on the left side only once. But be that as it may, the body will basically be cut away from the left side of the firewall to the base of the windshield and level across the base to the right side and about 20″ behind the original firewall to clear the cylinder and exhaust pipe. The parts of the intake system that stick up higher than 20″ are basically the intercooler and ducting that guides the outside air into it, so following the upper flange of the body at 22″ will clear all the intake runners. As far as the internal sheetmetal is concerned there would be a shelf above the bellhousing that would give footroom for the driver while leaving room for the intake plumbing. The offset leaves over 8″ of foot room on the left of the engine behind the cowl pinch and almost 5″ ahead of the pinch. That leaves room to get to the master cylinders for fluid checks and fills, which also applies to the car with all of the engine ahead of the firewall.
On that, seriously the engine offset with the Subaru leaves a ton of room between the engine and the body for access to the master cylinders no matter which place I put the engine. With the huge space behind the engine because of the intake plumbing combined with the offset there is an acre of empty real estate between the firewall and the left side of the engine block and head for master cylinders. This is great, I love it when packaging problems solve themselves.
All said and done, I think I would go with the option of mounting the entire engine in front of the as-molded firewall on the body and work with the long shifter handle rather than cut up the body and fabricate a ton of interior sheetmetal, because the engine is so light it doesn’t put much weight on the nose of the car and also because the large offset leaves room for the master cylinders. Now all I need to do is win the lottery so I have the $$ to buy an engine and transmission to install.