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1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR4 - Agent 1051

By David Pratte, Photography by

If you’re unfamiliar with James Bond, code name ‘Agent 007’, super spy and ladies man extraordinaire, then you’re either a Missionary living in a mud hut in the middle of the Kalahari Desert or you’ve been in a coma for the last 50 years. If it’s the former, carry on but avoid the fire ant soup the locals love so much – it’ll give you heart burn. If it’s the latter, wake up, have a quick shave, eat some JELL-O and pay attention. While you’ve been napping there’s been all sorts of sinister and complicated plots hatched by insane villains to get rich or take control of the planet – from detonating dirty bombs inside Fort Knox to launching satellite super weapons into orbit to a media mogul attempting to manipulate the news in order to start WWIII. All fiendishly clever ideas and all foiled by a single horny Englishman with a Walther PPK and all sorts of cool modified cars at his disposal including the Aston Martin DB5, Lotus Esprit Turbo, and BMW Z8.

Pretty flashy cars choices, when you think about it. Shouldn’t the world’s greatest spy have enough common sense to pick a car that doesn’t draw unnecessary attention? I guess this would have cramped Bond’s style with the ladies, but clearly Mark Pontarolo appreciates the value of a stealth ride given the understated styling of his 1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR4. But don’t let the four-door ‘Belize Green’ exterior fool you – this VR4, code name ‘Agent 1051’, has more than enough performance to reel in Dr. Evil’s escape pod.

Why ‘Agent 1051’ you ask? Glad to see you’re paying attention. As impossible as it may seem to the Honda Nation, Integra Type Rs aren’t the only limited edition machines to come out of Japan. The 6th generation Mitsubishi Galant VR4 was also built in very limited numbers and equipped with a number plaque attached to the dash to commemorate its rarity. In fact, there were just 3000 of these Galants imported into North America as 1991 and 1992 models, and if you’re not sharp enough to figure out what number plaque lives on the dash of this particular VR4, then it may be time for you to slip back into that coma.

The reason for the VR4’s limited production numbers relates to Mitsubishi’s reason for building it at all. If you’re old enough to remember the words to the Goldfinger theme song (Goldfinger, he’s the man, the man with the Midas touch), then you may also recall that back in the late 80s Mitsubishi was competing in the World Rally Championship – not in the better-known Lancer EVO platform but with the Galant VR4. And here’s the rub – in order to “homologate” or make the VR4 legal for use in WRC it must be sold to the public in sufficient numbers (minimum 5,000 copies a year). To achieve these sales numbers, Mitsubishi released the Galant VR4 in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and North America, which explains how Mark got his hands on one of these rally-bred collector’s items. Back in 1998 he spotted this particular example at a used car lot some four years after falling in love with the VR4 when working at a car dealership and seeing it for the first time.

As quick as the 6th gen Galant VR4 is in stock form – what with all that 4G63T 240-horsepower AWD four-wheel-steering technowizardry under the tame four-door skin – Mark knew he needed to spice things up a little if he wanted ‘Agent 1051’ to have the punch required to tear Bin Laden a new one. Given how bulletproof the 4G63T block is, Mark wisely left his pretty much stock, though he has fortified things with a MLS headgasket, ARP head studs and Prothane poly motor mounts. He also chucked a pair of HKS 272 cams in the head in preparation for some extra boost, generously provided by the Forced Performance FP3052 ball bearing turbo. Supporting this big ball-bearing bully is a 2G ported exhaust manifold with stainless manifold studs, below which hangs a Certified Muffler 3-inch downpipe, testpipe, and mandrel-bent catback exhaust system. Feeding the turbo plenty of cool dense air is a Spearco front mount intercooler with custom PINAmotorsports endtanks and 2.5” stainless piping, which is in turn fed by a 4-inch intake with K&N filter. Matching all this pressurized air are some serious fuel upgrades including a Walbro 255lph fuel pump, Aeromotive adjustable fuel pressure regulator, 950cc FIC fuel injectors, and a truly hardcore English Racing methanol injection setup that uses an Alkycontrol pump and foam-filled cell in the trunk. Definitely a super-trick collection of Q-approved power adders – and if you’re wondering who the hell ‘Q’ is, he’s the R&D mastermind behind all the cool gizmos 007s cars were equipped with.

By David Pratte
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