It has been a while since I've been on the forum, but I've come back with an exciting tale to tell.
Some of the members here who frequent the other Starion and Conquest community sites will already be familiar with this car and this thread. So I apologize to those who have seen this to death
I hope that this thread can tell the entire tale of my car from cheap cast-away, to a unique classic that can be enjoyed by enthusiasts everywhere. At the time of this posting I've just about finished up the first of 4 stages of my build. So I figure I've actually got something to contribute to this great community now.
I bought my 1988 'StarQuest' on March 24th 2004. I'm not really going to split hairs about whether it's a Conquest or a Starion. To me they're all Starions, Made in Japan at Mitsubishi's plant.
I had always loved the silhouette and aggressive stance of the car ever since high-school. It mesmerized me with it's wide rubber, negative camber and blistered fender-wells. As a young lad it totally changed the way I thought about cars from Japan.
It would be 15 years later that I would have a rare chance to buy a very well preserved example.
This was what the car looked like when I bought it. Bone stock, Fiji Blue, non-SHP wheels and a factory automatic transmission and roughly 80,000 miles on it:
Shortly after purchasing the car (3 days) a drunk driver side-swiped it while it was parked out in front of my place. It happened during the night so I woke up to a nice surprise. The drunkard's front passenger bumper caught and hooked my rear drivers-side wheel, bent it and then folded the A-arm underneath. The police were able to determine this because the moron left bits of his car up and down the road and totaled an Acura just 2 spaces ahead of me. I got VERY lucky.
Undeterred I quickly fixed the car to the best of my ability. New rear wheel. New control arm, and a lot of pounding out the fender well from the inside. It's not perfect, but it will do until I eventually get the car to a professional body shop.
A few weeks later I started getting some plans together for restoring and 'building up' the car. The first order of business was to perform all of the obligatory "free mods". Mainly the deletion of the non-functioning AC, and other half-broken systems such as ABS, Cruise Control, and all of the emissions devices. These are very common procedures for Starion owners:
Tiny garage, hehehe.
Don't need any of that
Definitely don't need that
Football sized AC compressor
Engine bay looking MUCH better
This big empty space is where the AC condenser used to sit... making the car overheat at red lights all the time.
Rear hatch interior getting pulled, revealing the rear strut towers.
All said and done, I removed about 50 lbs worth of crap from the car. Big surprise when the car ran better then ever, was much faster and responsive and never overheat ever again.
Also during this time I did some minor dress-up on the car. I painted the factory wheels centers satin black and polished up the lips, and also acquired a rare 1983 Starion hood with the vented scoop.
All in all the car was starting to shape up:
During this time there were some life changes that took place. A relocation and a new job and a bit more spare cash at the end of every month. I also ended up meeting a visionary and talented mechanic who started to put the idea in my head that we could swap a 4G6x "evo" type motor in to the car and really have a unique machine on our hands.
My mechanic, we shall call him "Ligo"... had already built a turbo 4G64 DOHC motor and put it in his Mighty Max truck so he was not a stranger to performing an operation like this. Additionally my car was starting to show it's age. A host of EFI problems along with a blown head gasket had been keeping me from driving and enjoying the car for some time now, so I felt this would give the car a new lease on life, and would put a classic back on the road.
LET'S DO IT!!!!
The plan of attack was to build a hybrid motor based on the 4G64 wideblock bottom end and use a modern 4G63 head and cam setup. The result is a 2.4 liter block that can rev to 7800rpm that is 400-500rwhp capable on pump gas.
Of course, in order to handle that power the old factory auto tranny simply wouldn't cut it. Additionally I intended to style the car after the old silhouette racers from the 70's and 80's, so a the factory automatic transmission had to be replaced by a Starion manual 5-speed.
I was lucky enough to be given a 1988 Starion 5-speed by a good friend. They are hard to find. I sent it off to get fully rebuilt. Here is the finished gearbox along with a 5-speed driveshaft. Excuse the oxidation. It was removed later before installing the unit in the car:
lightweight aluminum flywheel:
6-Puck DXD stage 3 clutch:
Gonna need this:
New factory OEM Hydraulics:
And now for the heart. 4G64 bottom end:
New piston on the left, stock piston on the right:
Continued in the next post: