OK guys and gals if you've never seen this car before you need to come out from under that rock. Our very own natedog explains how he picked up this pristine 89 Mirage Turbo.
It all started with the September 2005 Issue of Sport Compact Car. I remember picking up the issue with "Budget Bad Boys" and reading it cover to cover several times. I kept coming back to a white DSM powered Mirage. I had seen a few of them before online, but had really payed them no mind. Sure a DSM engine could swap into one, but how much fun could a FWD really be?
As time rolled on I began searching Ebay for "Turbo Mirage" and "Turbo Colt". Surprisingly enough there would occasionally be one for sale, but as usual all the good stuff was on the other side of the country. Then one day I befriended a (somewhat) local DSMer. As I went over to hang out, I couldn't believe what I saw in his garage. A black Turbo Mirage with huge "TURBO" stickers down the doors. As we started chatting I was instantly hooked. I had to have one, but where was one to be found? Months passed, and my phone rang. The words "I'm selling everything" echoed in my ears... A little negotiating and a couple weeks later. I had my first C53A shell sitting in my shop. As time went by I accumulated parts for the project. Turns out the car needed a roof skin, some interior work, an engine, a transmission... the list went on and on. I saved for quite some time. Then within days of dropping in the engine and transmission, I received and email from a close friend. It read "Hey you should really look at this Mirage. It would save you a lot of time and money just to buy this one". As I read the description I knew that I had to have it. It was perfect. I knew the car, I knew the history, I just needed to know a price.
After some PM's and a few phone calls it was set. I was buying a rolling chassis with a custom 3 inch exhaust and an aftermarket fuel pump. The next friday, after a night shift, and 3 hours of sleep. A road trip insued. Meeting Tom Tharp (aka underdog) was like making a new best friend. We spoke for a couple hours and then the car went onto the trailer. As my friend and I pulled out fo the drive, I could see Tom in my rear veiw with his camera taking pictures of his long time baby leaving. I was saddened by this, but I swore to myself that she would live again to crush the egos of the unsuspecting.
A few weeks later, as the parts stash dwindled down I found myself with an almost finished Mirage. Along with some help from a local fabricator, the FMIC pipes were made, and passenger side of the FMIC was remade to exit into the engine bay. This allowed for a shorter pipe routing, and the hole in the inner fender to be closed off once again.
Mods thus far are.
Stock 2.0 with balance shaft delete
Stock 2.0 head
ARP head studs
Mitsubishi metal head gasket
HKS 264/272 Cam Combo
Extrude Honed Stock Intake Manifold
Evo 3 Exhaust Manifold
Evo 3 16G Turbo
Extreme Motor Sports O2 Eliminator with 41mm Tial Wastegate
Joe P. MBC
Future plans include.
Greddy dual stage electronic boost controller
Water / Alcohol injection
I'd like to give a special thanks to my friend Don Trammell who "bird dogged" this car for me. To my brother for always helping me when I need it most. To Tom Tharp for keeping such a rare car so nice, and allowing me to carry on its legacy. I'd also like to thank the members of this board, for all the inspiration that I have found here.