Let's face it, "The Fast & The Furious" franchise killed the Mitsubishi Eclipse. With available AWD and a stout 4G63T under the hood, the first two generations of Eclipse should hold icon status amongst the Diamond Star faithful and the go-fast community in general. Instead, thanks to the lime-green, cheesed-out 2G Eclipse in the first film (warning: danger to manifold!) and the truly hideous 3G Eclipse Spyder in the second film, Mitsubishi's overachieving sports coupe became a bit of a leper within the tuner world.
But thanks to DSM enthusiast Nick Fox, a cure for the Eclipse's decade-long bout of F&F leprosy may be forthcoming. That's because Nick has kept his '97 Eclipse GST Spyder extremely clean and subtle on the outside, but it has some serious horsepower under the hood. No cheesy bodykits, no eBay aluminum spoiler or chrome vinyl - just a self-built, self-tuned DSM convertible and a time slip that reads 10.88 seconds at 133 mph.
That's right, haters, this drop-top Eclipse trips the quarter-mile lights in under 11-seconds. You might even call it a 10-second car, but lets not go all Dominic Toretto on the situation. Whatever you call it, 10.8 in the quarter-mile is "STFU and give this car some respect" quick. And that's exactly what Nick and his Eclipse deserve, having methodically upgraded his Spyder over the last eight years, all with the single-minded goal of breaking into the 10s.
According to Nick, "A DSM is the black sheep of the import community these days, and the Spyder is the black sheep of the DSM community. I fell in love with the 2G body style back in 1995 when they came off the assembly line, and I've wanted nothing more than to own one ever since. Originally, I wanted a coupe, but I picked up this convertible Spyder for a steal. With the goal of building something different - a monster of a street car that's reliable and drivable on a daily basis - I've been hands on with the build from Day 1, from engine assembly to ECU tuning. And, yes, it's still daily driven."
Other than a set of lightweight 5Zigen wheels (not pictured), Hoosier DOT drag radials, a drag-spec 6-point rollbar and a Pioneer head unit, Nick has left the interior and exterior of his Eclipse totally stock. If it wasn't for the rollbar, we might even mistake it for a secretary's car. And that's exactly the way Nick likes it, since it makes the look on the face of the countless muscle car mullet-lovers he's dusted at the strip all the more entertaining.
As you might expect with a sleeper like this, it's under the hood and down the driveline where the real magic happens. A 6-bolt 4G63T swap - blueprinted and assembled by Nick himself - now resides in his Spyder's engine bay, fortified by Crower rods, Wiseco pistons, ACL bearings and ARP main and head studs. Nick also ported and polished the head and equipped it with Ferrea stainless steel 1mm oversized valves, Supertech valvestem seals, and Kiggly beehive valvesprings, retainers and HLA regulator. As a finishing touch to the head package, Topline 3G lifters and Kelford 272 cams now call Nick's 4G63T home.
From there he had his friends at JM Fabrications work their magic, including the company's DRAG sheetmetal intake manifold (no more worries about "danger" to the manifold), tubular T-3 exhaust manifold, upper and lower intercooler tubing, dump tube and 3-inch downpipe. Nick then bolted up a BorgWarner S362 ET turbocharger, having blown through three or four Holset HX40 turbos and finally given up on them. With a very simple approach to engine management, using a '95 Mitsubishi e-prom ECU, ECMLink V3, and speed density metering, Nick dyno tuned his 2G Spyder to an astounding 603 hp and 510 ft-lbs or torque at all four wheels, a feat accomplished on 93-octane Pennsylvania pump gas aided by methanol injection.
If you're a DSM aficionado, you may be saying to yourself, "Wait, what? GST Eclipses are FWD, not AWD!" And you'd be correct, but Nick fooled you by converting his GST to AWD (GSX) and then turned to Sheptrans for one of its bulletproof Stage 4 transmissions along with an ACT Maxx Xtreme pressure plate and six-pad solid race disc. He also bolted up KSport coilovers to set the stance and help put the power to the ground off the line and around his favorite corners.
According to Nick, "It was because of my goal of becoming the first and only convertible 4-cylinder Eclipse/Talon into the 10s that I picked up the 5Zigen wheels and Hoosiers. These upgrades, along with the new BorgWarner turbo, are what got me my 10.88 slip at Atco this summer. I'm not sure where I'll go with the project from here, since I'm finally satisfied with the car in every way. Maybe an E85 conversion, along with a new steering wheel and some racing seats."
No matter what Nick decides to do next with his Eclipse, he'll always be the first to have run in the 10s with a Spyder (for video evidence of this record-setting pass, search YouTube for "Worlds Quickest & Fastest Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder"). We're not sure what Paul Walker thinks (we're guessing very little), but we're pretty sure that Nick's 2G Eclipse could very well mark the beginning of a DSM revival that reinstates these awesome turbocharged machines to their rightful place amongst the go-fast elite.