Welcome to TurboMirage.com!
This site is dedicated to one awesome little car, the 1989 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo. Thanks for visiting and
feel free to take a look around! Most people get a pretty big kick out of the videos.
My 1989 Mirage: The History
I remember the first time I saw one of these quirky little "pocket rockets." I was in High School and my friend's
dad bought a brand new 89 Dodge Colt GT for the daily commute to work. He described the performance as "peppy."
Since my interest at the time was
focused on V8s in all of their gas guzzling glory, I paid no mind to it. Being an avid car magazine subscriber,
I noticed some praise here, (Car & Driver referred to it as "one of the best-kept secrets in the auto world.")some
accolades there, but the little turbocharged hatchback never really intrigued me.
This is one of 1500 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo / Dodge Colt GTs that were built in 1989. They came from the
factory with a 1.6L dual overhead cam, non-intercooled turbo engine that generated 145hp. They also came
with 4 wheel disc brakes and a host of suspension upgrades. The exterior is stock except for the wheels
and window tint. This is done mainly to fool the unsuspecting that have no knowledge of the 400hp beast
The Discovery: Summer, 1999
Fast forward to 1999. After purchasing, and lightly modifying my 1991 Eclipse turbo, I was amazed by how simple it
was to make the turbo 2.0 liter Mitsu motor perform. When I say "perform" I am not talking about a few tenths of a
second here or there. I'm talking about a car that runs low 13 second 1/4 mile times with a very small amount of
cash. All this while racking up over 80 miles a day at no less than 27mpg.
Since I was now sold on the power potential and reliability of the Mitsu motor, I started dreaming up different vehicles
the Mitsu 2.0 could be used in. Then, while scouring the Club DSM Archives I quickly found an old message that told of how the stock
1.6 Turbo motor in the Colt/Mirages and the 2.0 Turbo are nearly identical, and the swap is fairly straightforward.
That's all I needed to hear, and the search was on!
The Find! Summer 2001
Since there were only roughly 1500 of these cars made they are getting nearly impossible to find. After a long and frustrating search I
finally found one in North Carolina! The good news was that the body was in great shape! The bad news was that the car needed lots and
lots of "TLC" lets call it, since many of the important details were overlooked. (That's putting it mildly, believe me.)
The interior was also unique to these vehicles. The car came with Recaro seats, tilt and telescoping steering
wheel and some amenities not found in the lowly base model Colts/Mirages. I have added boost and wideband air/fuel
gauges. A datalogger with with a palm pilot mount is hiding in the glovebox.
My goal from the beginning has been to create the ultimate sleeper. Since this car has the looks of most every other
80s econobox on the road, it will be underestimated by all opponents. I'm hoping that most will pass it off as
"A riceburner with a loud muffler." Ahh, but what lurks within is a 425hp beast. (This car has never been on a
dyno, so these are just estimates from its performance at the drag strip.) Since it weighs in at less than 2500lbs,
that gives it a power to weight ratio of 5.8 lbs per hp. How does that stack up? Take a look at this:
|1989 Mirage 2.0 Turbo
|2006 Ford GT
|2005 Porsche 911 Turbo
|2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10
|2007 Corvette Z06
|2006 Honda S2000
|2006 Subaru WRX Sti
This is where the wolf resides within the sheep's clothing. I have swapped out the stock 4G61 1.6L turbo
engine in favor of the 4G63 2.0L turbo engine from a 1991 Mitsubishi Eclipse. The swap was an extremely simple,
plug & play affair due to the similarity between the two motors. The stock transmission is used with a
limited slip differential. The car came stock with thick equal-length axles that do a surprisingly great job
of controlling torque steer, and completely quell wheel hop. The 4G63 has a set of HKS cams, 3" exhaust, larger
injectors and a Mitsubishi 20g turbocharger. The best 1/4 mile E.T to date is an 11.67 with a trap speed of 123
miles per hour. I have owned this car since 2001 and drive it a few days a week.
Of course this little car will never share a seat at the dinner table with the likes of any of the cars listed above. This is simply an
inexpensive, overpowered, grocery-gettin', giggle machine. Although it may not be in it's stock form, I'm glad I can own a tiny piece
of automotive history.