I wanted a different car to play with. I was tired of my 89 Pontiac Trans Am with the 355 V8 and 125 shot of nitrous. I wanted something to tinker with, something more nimble, more economical, but most of all, I yearned for the element of surprise. I couldn't sneak around to save my life in my Pontiac. Between the gear-driven small block, the bright red paint and the menacing growl of the exhaust, I couldn't have any fun without the authorities noticing.
I searched and searched so many great possibilities. Turbo DSMs just kept popping up over the years. Ever since driving a friend's back in 1991 (had less than 5,000 miles on it at the time) I was more than impressed by the whole package that the Talon/Eclipse/Laser offered.
What really convinced me to buy a used DSM was the overwhelming amount of support and information available via the internet. Priceless archives that log everything from a sticking power window to launching a 500hp AWD beast are just clicks away, completely free of charge. FAQs and VFAQs or Visually Frequently Asked Questions are the equivalent of having a veteran mechanic standing over your shoulder, making sure that everything goes smoothly. How about the local clubs? After reading literally thousands of pages of information, and printing off volumes of illustrations, tips and tricks, there is another bonus to DSM ownership, the camaraderie of the local DSM club. For me it was TampaBay DSM. It was a place to share information and even a few laughs. We all shared a common interest and enjoyed hearing about one another's projects and problems.
I purchased my 1991 Eclipse GS-Turbo 5speed in the Spring of 2000. I wanted an AWD, but this car was a one-owner in excellent condition. And the price was right too. I couldn't pass it up. Shortly after purchasing the car I began my plan. Plan? What plan? I feel this is where most of us car nuts go wrong. Try building a house with no plans. A well-laid plan is the path to meeting your goals. At the same, you'll have more fun, save money, and finish quicker. The performance upgrade paths offered to us are the best laid plans that we could ask for.
So why do so many people ignore the proven performance upgrade paths offered by such strong vendors as Buschur Racing, Extreme Motorsports, Road Race Engineering and others? These are people who are experts on OUR vehicles. They have been the innovator, they have tested and tuned and came out on the other side with proven combinations that delivers proven results. They have steered many ill-fated customers down their path to success. So why do so many choose to look away?
As an example, I have had great success with Buschur Racing's Staged Performance Upgrades. I can't say that I've bought every single part from them exclusively, but that isn't a requirement. I've logged and kept a watchful eye on every dollar spent, and used every ounce that I've learned from my peers to build two great cars that are an absolute blast to drive and surprise just about everyone who has ever ridden in or seen the taillights of them. Did I blow a wad of money on these cars to make them run this good and still be reliable? Hell no! But without a plan I could have. Did I come across endless problems and letdowns? Hell no! But without support, knowledge and advice I could have.
I guess the moral of the story is no one is into cars to make themselves miserable or to piss away all of their hard-earned money. We're in it to have fun. If we can learn from others who have paved the way time and time again, that's a luxury that many vehicle owners don't have. It's a luxury that we should be proud to take advantage of. Of course there's a certain joy to being called an "innovator" but only if "broke-ass" and "slow as heck" aren't attached to it!