25th Mar2016

Make It Yourself: Widebody Voltex WRX

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Since that fateful SEMA, all those years ago, making your car wide has become a lot easier.  There are rivet on fender flares for all of the popular chassis: FRS/BRZ, 350Z, 240SX, E36, I even saw that there’s a Pandem kit for EG Civics!  If you have a Porsche, you can have Nakai-san fly to you and make your 964 or 993 chassis 911 insanely wide.  This is great and all, but seeing a hand made wide body kit, where the fenders were cut and shaped and re-welded and repainted is a rare sight.  Hardly anybody is doing that.  Jon Truong is no stranger to making something work on his bug-eye WRX.  For a while this thing was known for sporting some Voltex pieces, pieces that weren’t made for the 02-03 WRX’s.  How do you improve on that little project?  Well let’s talk about that.

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A pair of bright red Bride Low Max seats with 5-point Takata harnesses brighten up the interior.  An Auto Power roll cage provides some extra security in case things get a little wild, which hopefully they don’t.  Jon lays his hands on a gorgeous, limited edition Sparco Champion steering wheel, which is attached to an NRG quick release hub.  Between the steering wheel and the gauge cluster are an AEM UEGO wideband gauge, and one of his Defi gauges.  Atop the dash, dead center, are the rest of his Defi gauges.  They monitor oil temperature and pressure, exhaust gas temperature, and boost.  The shift boot has been replace with a JPM Coachworks Alcantara piece.  All those gauges and that cage would be ridiculous if the engine was stock, but thankfully that is not the case.

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Definitely not stock.  Far, far from it.  Very few OEM pieces remain.  The crankcase is the on that came with the car, but that has been filled with some shiny new bits.  The block received a set of Darton sleeves, a crankshaft from a 2008 STI, KillerB pickup tube and baffle, King bearings, Rallispec connecting rods, and Cosworth pistons.  ARP headstuds hold the ported and polished two liter heads to the block, with Tomei headgaskets in between, and those heads are like a pinata: filled with goodies!  BC 1mm oversized valves, titanium valve springs and retainers, and 272 degree camshafts.  Supertech valve guides let those big valves move smoothly.  NGK spark plugs, one step colder than stock, supply the bang for the Otto cycle.  Samco radiator hoses, a Grimmspeed thermostat and a Koyorad radiator keep the engine cool, and a Tomei timing belt connects the new crank to the lumpy cams.  Hiding the alternator (hey, that’s stock!) is a gorgeous Abbey Road Company, more commonly known as ARC, alternator cover.

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Sitting atop an Agency Power manifold and TurboXS rotated up-pipe is a massive Garrett GT3582R turbo, featuring a TiAL hotside.  That’s quite the hair dryer!  That beast requires a bit of fuel, which is provided by a Walbro 255lph fuel pump, Agency Power fuel rails and Injector Dynamics 1000cc fuel injectors.  An Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator makes sure the flow is consistent, which is an important thing when you’re dealing with any larger-than-stock turbo setup.  Keeping the boost in check are a wonder trio of bits: a TiAL 44mm wastegate and Q blow off valve, and a Hallman boost controller.  Jon is running an AEM 3.5 BAR MAP sensor, because reasons and there’s no place for a MAF sensor.  The brains of the operation aren’t behind Jon’s bespectacled eyes, but in the COBB Tuning Accessport.  Keeping everything lubricated is oil, and sending that oil to the places it needs to go is a Cosworth high volume and pressure oil pump.  At the end of this whole thing is an Invidia G200 catback.  Ok, while all of that is awesome, it’s not what makes this car special.  While beauty in people is on the inside, the opposite is true for this car.

Now, all of the power needs to go through some stuff so it becomes what they call “usable”.  As you know, or not, Subaru transmissions are known for having 2nd gears made of glass.  Thankfully an upgrade to a six speed trans out of a JDM 2007 model should have that situation remedied.  Holding that new transmission in place is a Perrin transmission mount, and connecting that to the rear differential is a PST carbon driveshaft.  Helping with the gear shifts are a Kartboy short shifter and a Goodrich stainless steel clutch line.  With great power comes great necessity for a clutch that can handle that.  A Carbontec carbon clutch is up to the task, and an ACT Streetlite flywheel helps with engine response.

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Actually putting the power to the ground are a set of Yokohama Advan AD08Rs, which are mounted on a massive set of CCW Classics.  They come in at a staggering 18×11!  Behind the gargantuan wheels (11″ wide!  On all four corners!  ON A STREET CAR!!!) are Brembo calipers harvested from an STI, which clamp Hawk HPS pads upon DBA T3 slotted rotors.  All hail the magical kangaroo paw.  Feeding brake fluid to the calipers are some Stoptech stainless steel brake lines.  The suspension is fairly simple, a set of Zeal Function coilovers bring the car down and make the lateral transitions sharper.

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They say beauty is on the inside, and while the insides of this car are very pretty, the outside is much prettier.  You can clearly see that the license plate say VOLTEX.  This is for good reason.  Jon was bold enough to graft Voltex parts not meant for his chassis on to it.  For the longest time this was just the Voltex Bugeye, and that was good.  The rear diffuser, sidesteps and GT wing, and Greddy lip proved to be starting points, because things just went from there.  In the rear we have 04-05 tail lights, and a rear bumper and fender arches from yet another STI.  Oh, and there’s also the widebody setup back there too.  But why throw a widebody on the rear, and not the front?

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Before we get to that, let’s talk about some of the other stuff on this car.  There’s a wide assortment of JDM goodies on this: STI V7 hood scoop, grill and headlights; Spec-C roof vent; side markers, and ion fog lights.  There’s a roof vane behind the roof vent, and the corner markers have been plugged with carbon fiber.

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As you can see, there are no rivets on the exterior of this car.  And the wide fenders on the front didn’t arrive at Solid Autoworks in a box.  Those are handmade in metal.  Seeing someone with legitimate wide metal front fenders is a rarity, in an age where you can order FRP over fenders and slap them on.  A lot of craftsmanship went into this bugeye, proving that sometimes the only way to have the best is to make it yourself.

GALLERY:

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
11th Feb2016

It’s Not One of Those 240s

by Michael Chandler

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When I say “240”, what springs to mind?  Probably one of the Nissan/Datsun S chassis.  Be it a 240Z, S13 or S14, those are logical conclusions to arrive at.  Unfortunately, those are all the wrong conclusions to arrive at.  You see, Volvo made a a car called 240 as well.  And like the Nissans, it was powered by an inline four cylinder engine, and sent power to the rear wheels; however, it never got the same fanatical following the S chassis received.  And that’s a shame.  Despite it looking EXACTLY like a child’s rendering of a car, they can be turned into some pretty awesome bricks.

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Tate is one of those folks who transformed a mundane brick into an awesome brick.  And he didn’t have to go crazy to do so, thanks to the worldwide followings Volvos have.  He also didn’t have to know Swedish to get his hands on some parts.  Thanks internet!  Anyway, this brick is more ground bound thanks to a set of R Sport International coilovers, and Kaplhenke adjustable strut mounts.  The suspension isn’t just limited to things that provide the lows.  There’s also a set of Kaplhenke roll center correcters, and IPD sway bars, adjustable torque rods, and panhard bar.  Remember: Volvo took their brilliant boxes on the touring car circuit, so seeing one of these handle isn’t out of the ordinary.

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The gold mesh wheels look period correct, like they were pull offs from an E30 BMW 3 series or a GTi.  They look period correct, but they aren’t period.  They’re a set of MSW’s, and they’re shod in Yokohama rubber.  If you look closely at the photo above, you’ll notice something ahead of the wheel.  That would be the business end of the exhaust.  One of many little touches this car has received.

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The nose is accented by a 242 GT grille and accompanying driving lights, a set Hella 700′ driving lights, and a set of European (Oooo fancy!) corner lenses.  Out back there’s a sweet ass trailer hitch, and a spoiler.  It’s not from a Volvo though.  Guess where it came from.

No, not a Honda.

Not a VW either.

Give up?

It’s from a Saab 9000.  From one Swede to another.

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The interior is a healthy mix of OEM, stuff found in other cars of the era, and creatively shoving aftermarket gauges into factory holes.  The Volvo dash has all of these sweet little places for gauges, some of those holes housed Volvo gauges.  Those holes don’t house Volvo gauges anymore.  In their places sit an AEM UEGO gauge, and some gauges that’ll measure more boost and a wider range of temperatures than the old OEM counterparts.  No fancy aftermarket wheel, just the tried and true factory wheel.  The seats are OEM, just not OEM Volvo.  Tate isn’t 100% sure where the Recaro style seats came from, but they get the job done.  Also non-Volvo OEM: the Audi 4000 shift knob, that sits atop a Pro 5.0 shifter, that juts out from a T5WC transmission sourced from a Mustang.  Wait, what?

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Yeah, there’s a reason for the Mustang gearbox.  The long block is the stock B21FT that came in the car, but a lot of other things are no longer stock.

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Tate converted the car to EFI himself using Microsquirt, which he wired and tuned himself, and an intake manifold from a newer 240.  A Swedish company called Do88 supplied the radiator, intercooler and piping.  There’s a GT2871R ball bearing turbo with a ported compressor housing hanging from a one-off tubular exhaust manifold.  A Tial MVS external wastegate that’s plummed into a custom three inch exhaust, the one that dumps right in front of the passenger rear wheel.  A Forge Splitter diverter valve relieves anything above the current preset amount of boost.  That amount is 20psi.  That number will be increasing.

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Oh, there’s also a ratchet strap holding things down.  Hey man, necessity is the mother of invention.

When someone starts throwing around “240”, people’s mind will instantly jump to the Nissans.  That’s all well and good, but hopefully after reading this you’ll ask them “do you mean the Volvo?” And then you’ll enlighten them about the glory that are the turbocharged, Swedish bricks.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

 

12th Nov2015

Classics Never Go Out of Style: Integra Type R

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What we have here is, arguably, the best front wheel drive sports car ever made.  Perhaps one of the best sports cars to come out of Japan in the late nineties.  It was light, it was agile, it made 197 horsepower from 1.8 liters.  It was the thing of legends: a giant slayer made by the same people who made humble econoboxes.  From 1997-2001, skipping 1999 entirely for some reason, Honda sent a little over 3800 of these glorious cars over here.  And my friend Jeff has one, and has had one as long as I’ve known him.

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He’s kept his build simple.  So simple that he ditched the supercharger that was on the car when he bought it.  I think the car is better for it.  “Why fix what isn’t broken?  It came with many interior, exterior and performance upgrades from the factory.”  Indeed it did Jefferson, indeed it did.

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He’s kept the exterior mods to a minimum.  A Seibon carbon fiber hood replaces the factory metal piece, and a Shark2 antenna replaces the bigger OEM aerial.  The wiper for the rear window has been deleted, and some S2 Carbon Works winglets add a little something extra to the front end.  Interiorwise, the car hasn’t really been changed much.  You aren’t seeing any pictures of it, because I always think that the interior is 99% OEM and unchanged.  That’s wrong, because I always forget about the AEM UEGO wideband and oil pressure gauge in the gauge cluster bezel.  ALWAYS!

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Anywho, the Integra Type R was already a brilliant handling car from the factory.  Other Honda owners would clamor for OEM ITR springs, struts, chassis bracing, and other suspension bits to improve the handling of their cars.  The only thing not OEM on Jeff’s car are the H&R springs.

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A set of Highland Bronze powder coated Kosei K1 wheels are on, instead of the OEM wheels.  The Kosei’s measure in at 15×7, with a +35 offset.  Those are wrapped in a set of 205/50 Yokohama S.drive tires, which provide plenty of grip for some spirited driving.

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Under the Seibon hood is the ultimate version of Honda’s B series of engines: the B18C5.  1.8 liters, twin cam, variable valve timing, with hand polished intake and exhaust ports.  It has higher compression, lower friction pistons compared to the Integra GSR.  It has a single port intake manifold, and a larger throttle body.  The camshafts have higher lift, and longer duration.  Everything about this engine is better than the B18C1 in the GSR.  And Jeff has done nothing to any of that.

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He’s added a Comptech Icebox intake, and replaced the header with a JDM 4-1 piece.  Between the header and the Tannabe Hyper Medalion exhaust is a high flow catalytic converter.  The combination makes for a sound that isn’t the raspy garbage people think of when they hear “modified Honda”, it sounds good.  An Exedy clutch replaces what would be, at the youngest, a 14 year old clutch.  A B&M fuel pressure regulator and 255 lph Walbro fuel pump are still around from the supercharged days, but why replace two fully functioning parts?  Crome engine management runs inside the P30 ECU.

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A carbon fiber spark plug cover sits atop the classic Wrinkle Red valve cover.

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“What makes a great Integra Type-R isn’t what’s done to it, it’s what isn’t done to it.”  That quote has guided Jeff in his build, and it’s a good one.  The Integra Type-R will live on as a classic, an example of the epitome of how good a front wheel drive car can be.

BONUS IMAGES

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*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
28th May2015

When the Flame Dies Out

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Nothing lasts forever.  Memories fade, seasons change, and projects run their course.  Such is the case with La Flama Blanca, Dallion Felton’s Evo X street car/RallySport Direct’s project car.  After two years and 80,000 miles, it was time to say goodbye.  So I made Dallin, and his little doge Hiroshi, drive to an office park so I could say goodbye to the car.  And also to play with his dog, but mostly to say goodbye to the car.

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The car looks mostly the same, sans all the vinyl decals.

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It still has the APR splitter, vortex generators and GTC 300 wing.  It sits on the same red 18×10.5 Volk TE37RTs, and it still has the Ohlins coilovers.  To be honest, this thing is pretty much the exact same as it was back in February.  That’s not a bad thing at all.  Back then it put down a healthy 293 horsepower and 289 lb/ft of torque, which is pretty good considering what power adders were installed.

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Fairly simple straight forward things: Tomei Titanium cat-back, test pipe, Big Mouth downpipe, and upper intercooler pipe.  A Mishimoto intercooler, oil cooler, and radiator are things you would find on a lot of street driven Evo Xs, as are the AEM intake and TurboSmart blow off valve.  The biggest changes are ones you can’t see.

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Those big changes?  A set of 1300cc fuel injectors from Injector Dynamics, a Cosworth high volume fuel rail, a TurboSmart fuel pressure regulator, and an AEM E85 capable 320lph fuel pump cradled in a Cobb Tuning fuel pump holder.  Oh, and a Cavalli Stage 2 Turbo.  The ball bearing, single scroll turbo has a 58mm inducer and 56mm exducer, and fits like the OEM turbo.  Despite fitting like the stock turbo, it makes more power than the stock turbo.  How much more?  With a fresh tune on 91 octane the car put down 330 horsepower and 277 lb/ft of torque.  On a  tune optimized for E70 (ethanol, corn fuel, stuff you can’t get at a pump in Salt Lake County as far as I know) it made 408 horsepower and 345 lb/ft of torque!

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Those are respectable numbers for a street car!  And there’s more room for the next owner to turn up the heat.  The turbo can move enough air for 600 horsepower.  And yes, I said next owner.  By now the car, and many of its parts have found new homes with other Evo Xs.  Fear not, Dallin is on to bigger and better things.

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And he still has his dog.

BONUS GALLERY!!!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
10th Feb2015

La Flama Blanca

by Michael Chandler

La Flama Blanca Evo X Michael Chandler CAMautoMag

If you’re familiar with RallySport Direct, then you’ve undoubtedly seen this car.  If you think that this is the company’s car and I had to twist a bunch of arms to be able to take pictures of it, then you’d be wrong.  All I had to do was ask Dallin Felton, because he’s the guy who drives it and has been molding it into what you see here.

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Dallin is a regular guy, just like any of us.  The biggest difference is that he happens to work for RallySport Direct, whereas we do not.  That, and he has a history of building some awesome cars.  He had a Daytona Violet M3 and a Voltex Evo VIII, so having him take the reigns of the Evo X project wasn’t that huge of a stretch or risk.

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White is the color of choice for the Evo, as it is for the rest of the RSD fleet; however, this one is accented not with blue, gray and pink like the rest of the cars.  It’s strictly white and red, aside from the windshield banner of course.  For everyday use the car rolls on a set of 18×10.5 Volk Racing TE37RTs, covered by a set of Bridgestone Potenza RE760’s.  The Potenza’s measure in at a healthy 275/35.  Behind the red Volks you see the factory red Brembo brake calipers and the Stoptech slotted rotors they clamp down on.  The slotted rotors are part of Stoptech’s Sport Kit which comprises of the slotted rotors (front and rear), stainless steel brake lines and their Street Performance brake pads.

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The car has an aggressive stance, but not crazy like a Bond villain.  The Ohlins Road and Track coilovers allow for the height adjustment, while a lengthy list of Whiteline components (ball socket end links, 27mm sway bars, control arm bushings and rear control arms, and roll kit) round out the rest of the suspension set up.  Why the high dollar coilovers and half the Whiteline catalog?  Because La Flama Blanca goes and gets it on the autocross course in the Street Mod class.  That’s also why there’s a set of 18×10 Advan RZ’s with Hoosier A6s sitting in the garage.

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There is a healthy amount of APR Performance products on the car.  From the front splitter to the big GTC-300 wing.

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Even the Vortex Generator is an APR piece!  The short antennae is from Cusco, and calling it short is very generous.

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There’s no massive diffuser, or uber rare bumper on the back of the car.  It’s almost entirely factory save for the APR spoiler, a La Flama Blanca decal, and the tip of a Tomei Titanium cat-back exhaust.  Ahead of that is a Tomei test pipe and Big Mouth down pipe.  There’s also a Tomei upper intercooler pipe made of Titanium.  Aside from the shiny pipe and the TurboSmart Dual Port blow off valve, there’s nothing screaming performance about the car.  The AMS front lower motor mount and shifter bushings are hidden down under the motor, and the Exedy twin plate clutch is a piece that never sees the light of day.  Even the interior is deceivingly pedestrian, save for the AEM UEGO, AccessPORT V3, Fat Perrin shift knob.

All of that go fast stuff you don’t see, or don’t notice because you’re used to seeing EVERY Evo X with parts like that, adds up.  The numbers they add to are 293 horsepower to the wheels and 289 lb/ft of torque.  That ain’t bad, but it’s also subject to change.  If you owned a company that sells parts for a living, wouldn’t you want to throw a bigger intercooler or turbo or cams or whatever else suits your fancy at your shop car?  Stick around.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

07th Nov2011

One of a Kind: Mitsubishi Galant

by Michael Chandler

If you ask most people what kind of Mitsubishi they would like you’ll hear a lot of Evolution and Eclipse responses, and a few Galant VR4 responses. You’ll get a few Starion responses, but that’s neither here nor there. The reason you’ll only get a few Galant VR4 responses is because they only sent around 3000 of the AWD turbocharged sedans to North America and because of that only the hardcore Mitsu fan boys and rally geeks know about them. This is not a turbocharged AWD rally special. This Galant is a lot cooler.

 

We’ve known of Broderick, the owner of this daily driven Galant, for a little bit. We’ve known his car longer. For a while this was unofficially the first 3.5L swapped Galant in the country. That made it special. The fact that it’s now packing a 3.9L stroker motor puts it up there with the AWD Galants.

The 3.9L 6G7X motor is all self built. A set of 1mm overbore 6G75 pistons are pumped by stock, forged 6G74 connecting rods attached to a stock 6G75 forged crankshaft. JE file to fit rings hug the pistons and ACL bearings keep everything moving smoothly. All that is stuffed into a .010 decked block, topped with ported and polished and shaved 6G75 non-MIVEC cylinder heads filled with stock 6G75 non-MIVEC camshafts topped with Fidanza adjustable cam gears. ARP main studs keep everything together.

A custom 3.5 inch short ram intake feeds air into a 90mm throttle body lifted from an Infiniti Q45. That is bolted to a 90mm Xcessive Manufacturing surge tank manifold with a port matched lower intake manifold. The fresh air is mixed with 91 octane; which finds it way to the combustion chamber through AeroQuip Starlite -6AN fuel lines, an Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator and Disturbing Motorsports billet -6AN fuel rails. It is ignited by a spark provided 8.5mm Magnacore spark plug wires via an 11.5 pound Braille daily use battery. The spent gasses exit through self made long tube headers, with 1 7/8 inch primaries, and a modified Greddy Ti-C cat back exhaust intended for a 3rd generation Eclipse.

The whole one off motor is held in a tucked and shaved engine bay (which Broderick did himself) by Prothane solid engine mounts. Untuned it put down 241 wheel horsepower and 239 lb/ft of torque.

 

An engine is useless if it can’t put the power down, and this thing can. A SPEC stage 2 carbon kevlar full face clutch and Fidanza 9 pound flywheel (held together by ARP flywheel bolts) transfer the power to the wheels via a 2003 Dodge Stratus R/T manual transaxle. A Megan short shifter connects the USDM trans to the JDM cabin (complete with a Greddy counterweight shift knob!), and Zaklee shifter base bushings and under hood shifter bushings keep the gear changes crisp.

The power physically contacts the ground through whatever rubber is wrapped around the big 18×9.5 Rota Torque wheels. Behind those split five spoke wheels are some Stoptech slotted rotors… For an Evo 8. That seems a little weird, but those calipers are the OEM Brembo Evo 8 units stuffed with PFC carbon metallic pads up front and Axxis pads in the rear. Technafit braided lines move the fluid that provides the squeeze.

 

The car sits very nicely. This stance comes courtesy of a set of KSport Kontrol Pro coilovers. It also handles very nicely thanks to said coilovers and a Suspension Techniques 24mm rear sway bar with Kartboy end links intended for use on a WRX STi front sway bar. The end links for the front sway bar are custom adjustable units, as is the rear tie bar. A Carbing front strut tower bar provides some stiffness in the front, along with some more under hood bling.

 

Outside are a lot of JDM and other assorted goodies. A Pre-facelift JDM front bumper and grill join with JDM headlights and a Monster FRP hood to create a face that looks all sorts of scary when it’s bearing down on you. A trunk spoiler from an M3, along with some carbon fiber trunk garnishments and JDM 3rd generation tail lights keep the rear end looking good as it pulls away. Apexcone 6000k HID’s light the way, and Redline hood struts keep the hood from falling on Broderick or anyone else who’s poking around under it.

 

The cabin is rather straightforward. A dry carbon fiber dash bezel, and regular carbon fiber shifter and center dash bezels add a bit of flare while AEM digital water temperature and oil pressure gauges and UEGO wideband display all pertinent information one would need.

When you ask people what kind of Mitsubishi they’d like, you probably won’t hear a lot of Galant answers but maybe this car will change that.


Words and photos by Michael Chandler, Video by Trent Bray

 

*Article, Video, and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners. Images and words may not be re-posted, re-distributed, modified, or copied without expressed written consent from CAMAutoMag.Com