Project Mirage 1.6 Turbo
This was written in 2002 by Gail. Lot's of things have changed since then, believe me. In fact, this car was sold in 2003.

History
I never really knew the potential of these little cars until we purchased the first one. After rebuilding the first Mirage and seeing the true potential, we had talked about getting another one. I was racing our 1991 Eclipse GST at local events, but we also wanted to keep the Eclipse as a daily driver. We also had a 1993 Nissan NX 2000 that we briefly thought about doing the SR20DET swap, but after considering the costs, we decided that the Mirage would be a much cheaper overall project. Also, the thought of matching Mirages seemed like it would be fun.

The Search
The search was on. I almost got one for Christmas, however, it was located in California and we just couldn't get everything coordinated. It was a long search. We just couldn't find one that we liked. Either the body was damaged or the cost was too much for the condition it was in. But the search continued.

After several months, we thought we had found one and it still had the original 1.6L turbo. But the car was located in Seattle, Washington, clear across The States. After talking to the very friendly owner and looking at pictures he had sent us, we decided that this wasn't the car. Then the phone rang.

The Find
It was a friend of ours who wanted to tell us that he too just bought a white Mirage. We couldn't believe it. After we shared our story with him, he told us to come take a look it. Were we finally going to get another Mirage? And to top it all off, it was white and it still had the 1.6L turbo. After work the next day, we headed out to go see it. The body was clean. It had a few dings and dents, but the cars 13 years old. The interior though was awful. The carpet had definitely seen better days with all the stains, but the seats, (both front and back) dash and door panels were amazingly clean considering the rest of the interior. This car was going to need a lot of love and cleaning, but it had potential.

We took it out for a drive and it ran pretty good. It was evident that maintenance needed to be done, but we were up for it. We decided that if the 1.6 checked out to be strong, we were going to see how much we could get out of it. If the engine was weak, we would do the 2.0 4G63 swap. SOLD!

The Rebuild
We got the car home on a Friday evening (June 21, 2002) and pulled it in to the garage. The next day, the transformation began. The seats and carpet were removed and the cleaning started. While I was inside the car, he had is head under the hood, getting the engine ready for everything that we were about to do. The great thing, most of the stock parts from the 4G63t (2.0 Turbo engine from the 89-94 DSMs) are upgrades for the 4G61, and we had plenty of 4G63 parts lying around.

After the maintenance and upgrades were complete, we took the car out to datalog it. We were able to turn the boost up to 17 psi with no knock. Now all we had to do was take it to the track and see what kind of numbers it could run.

What's Next?
Lot's of track time and tuning. A better upper intercooler pipe and throttle body elbow are ready to be installed, as well as a more compact battery to allow for a cold-air intake. Then it's time to head for the track. Since the first and only track visit was pretty conservative, I'm hoping that we'll be able to have the car in the high 12's. Other than that, it's time to have FUN!

Summary
I never would have thought that my little 1.6L Mitsubishi Mirage could be so much fun. Ever since we finished the car and took it out for the first time, I have been in love with it. I have shelved my NX2000 (actually putting it up for sale) and drive my Mirage every chance I can. I also like the reactions it brings at the track. Especially when we have both Mirages sitting side by side. Less than 1600 shipped to the US and we have two, one with the swap and one original.