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The Mitsubishi History of Stephen (round 2)

March 17th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

The first Galant VR4 I found I bought from a lady in Bristol, NY.  I had actually been driving home in little East Rochester, and the car was outside of a repair shop with a few people walking around it.  Knowing how rare the car was and never expecting to see one in the wild, I immediately turned around to investigate.  

The woman had hit a deer with the car, and was getting some estimates to get it repaired.  I interrupted the whole process long enough to give her my name and phone number and said if she would like to sell the car “as is” I would be interested.  A week later I was the owner of 1168/2000.

The car became my daily driver and with some minor hood and headlight repair, was back to a respectable looking sedan.  The car was completely bone stock but it was quite a luxurious upgrade from my VW station wagon I had been using as a winter car. 

galant-vr4-187-may-2004-04893

 

 

The story of 187

I was active on quite a few DSM message boards in the 90s and remember we had quite an active group here in Rochester at the time as well.  Dave Buschur posted up a notice that he had a Galant VR4 for sale.  The short version of the story is that behind Dave’s shop was a nice plot of land he had always wanted, which had just gone up for sale.  In order to raise the funds for the land, he was offloading this car, which was an “in progress” project.  Supposedly the car was being built up for a magazine article, until the magazine backed out.  In essence it was a clean 1992 car, with a stock motor, with every piece every boy wants under the Christmas tree attached onto it.  I originally wasn’t going to buy the car, but when the buyer that I had helped line up in the area backed out, I stepped in.

 The trip down to get the car is one that can only be appreciated in a bar, with both myself in Mike Hayes in the room.  Picture the family 1980 van, towing a construction trailer back from Ohio, with the front of the van a few feet higher than the rear.  Then picture Mike in the front seat on a laptop, while we tried to stop at Kinkos along the way for him to upload reports to work. (before broadband wireless existed)  Needless to say I don’t think we gave Dave much confidence when we pulled up in the van.

I couldn’t afford the car, so I ended up selling off 1168/2000 when I got it the first year. One of the local members bought 1168/2000, which eventually headed somewhere in New England.

The most painful, yet fun thing I had to do was to drive 187/1000 through the first winter I had it.  The car had come with a complete HR Springs and AGX shock suspension but it was still in the box and I wasn’t about to let the salt takes its toll.  The car had a ridiculous sized 60 trim equivalent turbo on it, Buschur’s full race front mount, and it was setup with a VPC to run fuel with 660 injectors.  It ran absolutely pig rich, leaving smoke screens of fuel behind me on every exit ramp, but it was so much fun to drive. It was laughable to see people’s expression when you had somebody in the passenger seat.  With a stock suspension, you could raise the front of the car almost two feet with a nice breath squeezing level of acceleration. 

187 Engine SwapSummer came, and I found myself still driving 187/1000 over the Eclipse.  The suspension went into the car, making it squat nice and it actually learned to turn more than just be straight line car. I had found another junk car for the following winter, but I ended up putting a “for sale sign” on the Eclipse which didn’t sell until the next spring.  I split the money I had from the Eclipse sale and dumped it all into the motor and transmission of the Galant. With a solid power plant and a drive train to support it, the car became lethal to drive on the street.

 I eventually bought another Galant VR4 from Bruce Perry, the SCCA rally driver, which became the daily and winter driver.  New parts went to 187 while the leftover parts went to 199/1000.  187 received a nice coil over Tein suspension, while 199 received the HR springs and AGX shocks. 

 In 2003, I was able to take the 187/1000 to Watkins Glen.   You need to relive that trip report to appreciate how epic the trip was for me.  It would bring me back to the Glen a few more times, but nothing could have built up the pride I felt driving that car around. 

Life kicked in shortly after, as I settled into a beutiful house with my best girl.  It turns out she would become my wifre in 2007, and without touching the car in 4 years, it has been difficult to keep up with the project of finishing it off.   My wife, recognizing my shriveling grasp on my automotive nitch in the world, convinced me to buy a 2008 Mitsubishi Evo X.  With the new toy in the garage, it was my intention to sell the parts off of 187/1000 , and send the shell to a good home for a modest price.   

Then Tim came up with the need to run One Lap of America in 2009, so the car went through a transformation.  The prestine and slowly evolving car I once knew has transformed into a full on track car, using most of Tim’s parts along the way. 

 

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