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The Obscure One - Old School Shoot Out - 1992 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4

Reliving The Barely Remembered Past With Daryl Sampson's 1992 Galant VR-4

By John Pearley Huffman, Photography by Brian Konoske

It's one thing to be "old school" and quite something else to be flat-out obscure. Mitsubishi sold so few Galant VR-4s during the scant two model years it was sent into the United States, there were hardly enough around for any sort of "school" to form around it at all. This isn't the AE86, or Nissan's original Z-Car or even the RX-7-this is a car most enthusiasts don't even know exists. But Daryl Sampson has one.

Sampson's is one of the 1,000 Galant VR-4s that made it into civilian hands during 1992, after 2,000 were sold during 1991. Sold as a limited edition by Mitsu, each Galant VR-4 had a numbered plaque announcing its place in the restricted issue, but that's hardly what made them so special.

The Galant was then (as today's Galant is now) the sedan upon which the Eclipse is based. As a rather dowdy four-door, the 1992 Galant didn't look anything like the egg-shaped Eclipse coupe. However, except for the fact that the Galant was 187.0-inches long overall and rode on a 103.7-inch wheelbase, while the 172.8-inch long Eclipse put only 97.2-inches between its two pairs of wheels, they shared virtually all their fundamental engineering elements, including their suspension designs, four-cylinder engines, and manual and automatic transmissions. To oversimplify only slightly, the Galant VR-4 is basically the boring Galant sedan with the drivetrain from the all-wheel drive, turbocharged 1992 Eclipse GSX shoved into, around and through its unibody structure. There's also some leather upholstery and stuff... but that doesn't matter.

What does matter is that the engine aboard is the 4G63T 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve four with an intercooled turbo heaving into it to make 195 bhp. It's backed by a five-speed manual transmission and Mitsu's full-time all-wheel drive system. The suspension is MacPherson struts in front and a double-wishbone independent system in the rear. The Galant VR-4 is further enhanced with a four-wheel steering system that allows the rear wheels to turn up to 1.5-degrees in the same direction as the front wheels, depending on speed. And finally, the Galant VR-4 got the big disc brakes off the larger 3000GT SL to help it bring its substantial 3389-pounds to a halt.

Now that you know what a Galant VR-4 is, here's what Daryl Sampson has done to his: He applied practically every, time-after-time proven DSM trick that would fit.

The 4G63 is as close to being a revered and venerable presence as the sport compact world knows, and getting whacky power out of it is straightforward (It is, after all, the same basic powerplant that propels the Lancer Evolution). It starts with an upgrade to a Turbonetics T3/T4 heaver blasting through an HKS external wastegate and a Spearco Intercooler, through plumbing custom bent by Road Race Engineering. The short-block itself was rebuilt by Road Race with survivability in mind and included an upgrade to later-model pistons. The valvetrain is pretty much stock, but the two sticks that control it are HKS cams with 272-degrees of duration on both the intake and exhaust ends. Fuel is pumped in with a Supra Twin Turbo fuel pump and sprayed into the combustion chambers with GReddy oversize injectors. NGK plugs hooked to an HKS Twin Power DLI ignition amplifier spark off the conflagrations. Road Race also fabbed up the intake with a K&N filter at its end to keep out the crud. The exhaust system was custom-built by Road Race, incorporating HKS Hi-Power elements.

By John Pearley Huffman
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