The time between old- and new-school is shrinking with every passing moment. Scot Gray's '94 Eclipse GSX packs all-wheel drive, a turbocharged engine and an all-independent suspension, which all sounds very 21st century, but the look is defiantly early '90s. It must have happened when we were weren't looking, but the original Diamond Star cars are now definitely old-school.
In fact, Gray's Eclipse is so old-school he actually drives it-just about every day. This isn't a car prepared as a showcase for a manufacturer's products or one more plaything in the garage of a celebrity, but a daily driver for a guy who works for a living. Since its appearance in last year's USCC, the major change to it has been the addition of another year of wear and tear.
The secret to Gray's Mitsubishi Eclipse is that there are no secrets to his Eclipse. He assessed the car's strengths and exploited them with finesse and proven technology.
Iron is cheap and strong and the Mitsubishi 4G63 DOHC four uses plenty of it. There's room to grow and strength to spare. So Road Race Service bolted in a 100mm 4G64 crank (up from 88mm) and machined the bores to 85.5mm (up from 85mm) to produce a long-stroke 2.3-liter (actually 2276cc) displacement. Filling those holes are Wiseco slugs (wrist pins relocated high) on Eagle rods, and covering them is the deburred stock head carrying HKS 264 intake and 272 exhaust cams, and Crower valve springs and retainers. Oh, yeah, those balance shafts that make Mitsu's motors so smooth? They've been excised for being the power-sapping parasites they are.
Induction starts with a custom intake featuring an AEM cone filter tucked into the fender. From there the air travels through 3-inch piping to a Forced Performance Green turbo (a hybrid of a Garrett TD06H compressor wheel inside a TD06 housing and a Mitsubishi bearing housing), where it's compressed and accelerated and sent down 2.5-inch pipes through a front-mount HKS air-to-air intercooler. Gray reports the new turbo netted 60 hp on its own and actually improved the lag situation. Surprisingly, with so much boost around, the system relies on the stock blow-off valve to save it.
Fuel comes in through Denso 660cc injectors fed by a Walbro pump through the stock lines and rails. An AEM Engine Management System gives the orders, while the fuel map was tuned by AEM and tweaked over time by Gray himself. An MSD DIS-2 Ignition Amplifier acts as the rev limiter and a GReddy Profec B boost controller does those duties.
To keep everything from broiling into a solid mass, a 1990 Eclipse external oil cooler adaptor hooks to a Setrab oil cooler, there's a PWR Performance two-row aluminum radiator, twin Spal 1630 CFM electric fans, and there's a CarbonTrix vent in the hood. Gray built ducting around the various air passages because, well, a car that overheats rarely gets you to work. The coolest piece of tech, though, is a water spray system Gray cobbled from stuff found at Home Depot. It spits a fine mist of H2O on the intercooler when the temp gauge threatens an untoward move.
The transmission is a collection of the best factory pieces from the years the five-speed was made, and Road/Race Engineering's X-clutch handles slippage. Quaife Torsen-style limited-slip diffs are used up front and in the center, and the stock rear LSD does the chore way back there.
A potent drivetrain deserves a capable chassis, so Gray left nothing untouched. The front struts and rear shocks are JIC coil-overs, with the front springs rated at 350 pounds and the rears at 400 pounds. Road/Race whacked off the tops of the JIC struts and replaced them with its own camber plates that also allow for caster adjustment. Energy Suspension urethane bushings are pressed into the holes that'll take them, while Road/Race custom-machined Delrin aluminum bushings occupy the ones that wouldn't.
The front bar is the stock Mitsu part while the rear bar is a one-incher from Suspension Techniques. There's no strut tower bar up front and the only reason why there's a no-name one in the back is because Gray needed a way to secure the reservoir for his water spray system. Where he could, Gray gusseted and braced all the stock suspension links and arms. StopTech's 13.1-inch front discs work with the stock rear brakes to turn momentum into heat, and there's a 17x7-inch Rays wheel wrapped in a 225/40R-17 Toyo Proxes RA-1 at each corner.
There's nothing on this car that screams performance-no oversize wings, dopey graphics or neon undercarriage lighting. But there is a suggestion of menace. Old-school, new-school or no-school whatsoever, a suggestion of evil is always exciting.
1994 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSXEngineType: 2276cc turbocharged and intercooled four, four valves per cylinder, DOHCInternal Modifications: Bored to 85.5mm, stroked to 100mm, balance shafts removed, Wiseco pistons, Eagle rods, Clevite bearings, ARP main studs, ARP head studs, Crower valve springs, Crower retainers, HKS 272 exhaust cam, HKS 264 intake cam External Modifications: Custom intake with AEM cone filter, Forced Performance Green turbo, HKS intercooler, Moroso high-capacity oil pan, Setrab oil cooler, custom water sprayerEngine Management Modifications: AEM EMS engine management computer, MSD ignition
DrivetrainLayout: Transverse front-engine, all-wheel drive, Torsen differentials front and centerDrivetrain Modifications: Optimized transmission, Road/Race Engineering X-clutch, Fidanza flywheel, driveshaft carrier bearings and driveshaft yoke filled with silicone
Suspension Front: JIC coil-over shocks/springs with RRE camber/caster plates, stock anti-roll bar, Energy Suspension bushings, gusseted suspension linksRear: Rear dynamic toe link eliminated, JIC coil-over shocks/springs, Energy Suspension and custom Delrim bushings, Suspension Technques 1-inch anti-roll bar
BrakesFront: 13.1-in. StopTech two-piece rotors, StopTech four-piston calipers, Pagid Orange pads, Goodridge braided lines, Russell Speed BleedersRear: Stock rotors with Axxis Ultimate pads
ExteriorWheels: 17x7-in. Ray's Engineering Gram Lite 57C, 30mm offsetTires: 255/40R-17 Toyo Proxes RA-1Body: Stock body and black paint w/custom ducting between front bumper and radiator, Carbon Trix carbon-fiber vented hood
InteriorPioneer CD player, Sparco Torino seats, Schroth four-point harnesses, Dfi Link system display, 52mm boost gauge