Welcome back to Part 3 of our Mitsubishi Mirage build. This time, we've done a fix for the issues we caused to worsen during the last part, which I didn't mention.
The fenders rubbed. Badly. And, it had been 24,000 km and we had never done an alignment. It was time to fix all of that at once.
I'll make no secret of it. Many people have asked me why I have bothered with trying to make a Mitsubishi Mirage cool. Why bother? I have a goal for the car. I want it to serve a purpose - to show how a simple, pared back car can make a good track car platform, even though I won't be using the Mirage on track for anything more than leading the lead-follow exercises that are 60 km/h or so, that open the track days I organize. However, I want to demonstrate how you can make even the most unlikely of cars can be sporty, fun cars, if they're lightweight, small, nimble and prepared, even slightly.
In our case, the car would be deemed to be "too tall to be safe" so the decision to lower it came naturally. Also, the OEM suspension was far too soft and rolly, I just hated it. So, I had to lower it on the stiffer suspension. That's where the Godspeed Mono SS coilovers came in. So, I installed them, and then the tires started rubbing. The fender lip was rubbing on the tire. It was bad enough that the rubber was coming off of the tires. I had to roll the fenders. So, I booked a fender rolling and alignment with Will from P-Z Tuning. The result was that the rubbing almost entirely stopped.
Almost. I still had some rubbing under extreme cornering loads. So, I stiffened the coilover damping until it would stop rubbing.
It's here when the realization happened; I had made the car as exciting as I could with the available modifications (limited as they are so far.) We still have more plans. But for now, I should mention that this car has, on the one "test" corner that I tried it out on, an apex speed that is higher than any of my other cars. The car outhandles my 2005 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS, 2011 Subaru WRX, 2003 Civic EP3 track car (although, this was in its road-legal spec which was far more toned-down than it is now (in its full race car spec.)) An apex speed of 82 km/h on 195 wide tires with a UTQG treadwear rating of 500. versus 81 km/h on a car (Civic EP3) that was probably 700 pounds heavier, on 235 wide tires with a UTQG treadwear rating of 200.
Yes, the ride height did automatically increase camber on the front, so yes, the 195 wide tires will wear out quicker than normal in daily driver use. I'm okay with that. The tradeoff with the camber is that the car handles much better. The rear, being a torsion beam rear suspension, did not suffer from the same problem, so the rear camber isn't as bad. The end result is that the vehicle handles very well... And we're just getting started.
To say that I love the Mirage is an understatement. It's the pinnacle of efficiency to use less tires, less brakes, and less fuel for the same fun.
So, that's a brief update. We would love to bring you the next update, but it may take some time.
Falcon Autosport authors are a team of track day organizers and motorsports enthusiasts in general. Drew drives a 2003 Honda Civic EP3 with 17 previous owners and 320,000+ km.