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Lucky Find

Normally when you buy a modified used car, the "surprises" are of the unwanted variety. This turbocharged FTO is different though...

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

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This article was first published in 2000.

When Craig Dean (the owner of Cross-Over Sports and Luxury Cars) was last over in Japan boy, did he make a find. The sort of find an archaeologist makes once every 20 years (although, in this case, Craig didn't cry out loudly for everyone else to come and take a look!). He kept this little treasure to himself. While out and about looking for tidy used Soarers and Supras to ship back to Oz, he happened to trip over this Mitsubishi FTO. "A good little car, the Mitsubishi FTO," Craig first thought to himself, but - as it turned out - this one was a bit better than the average example... Craig popped the bonnet and took a look at the thought-to-be-stock motor. Other than finding that someone had painted the valve covers blue, everything looked clean and hunky-dory - but, hang on, what were those pipes running around in the 'bay? Bloody hell, this thing's turbocharged!

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As soon as he realised this, the FTO became his personal property and was quickly being cattle-prodded onto the slow-boat to Melbourne. Craig knew the FTO has a good following in Australia (even in standard form), so he figured there'd bound to be someone interested in buying a "full-house" special. But it was only when the car arrived at Cross-Over's yard, that Craig could take a more thorough poke around. It turns out this thing's absolutely loaded! He's still finding things he didn't know existed!

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Starting with the fundamentals, the 24-valve DOHC V6 MIVEC engine is equipped with a turbocharger installation that - to our eyes - looks very much like a full aftermarket kit. There's aren't many other one-offs that use such things as cast intake elbows. Beginning post-exhaust valve, the primary part of the exhaust manifold remains standard, but leads into a 2-inch diameter T-piece section that puts gasses from each bank into the turbine.

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This unit is a late-model Garrett (with a 0.60 A/R) that sucks intake air through a HKS pod filter hung off the end of an extended pipe. Mr Garrett puts his wind into a front-mount air-to-air intercooler, which is positioned right in the stagnation point front opening of the car.

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After some chill time, the boosted air then rushes through some more mandrel bent pipework and into the open mouth of the throttle body (which appears standard). And some more fat pipe can be found hanging underneath the floorplan too. Three-inch is the diameter of choice here, with a polished rear 'box fitted to smother the MIVEC's scream.

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Craig sure got a shock when he opened the centre console lid for the first time. Staring him back was a trio of HKS go-fast gizmology. Bundled tightly into one corner is a digital turbo timer, AIC (additional injector controller) and EVC (electronic valve controller - or, a boost controller to the rest of us). Ah, now we're really starting to get somewhere - this baby rocks!

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After sighting this, another quick check under the bonnet revealed an extra injector squirting into the inside radius of that cast intake elbow, plus a couple off tell-tale HKS boost control components on the inside right guard. Ah, so that's how they've done the management side of things (but isn't it a pity the Japanese rarely use something like a MoTeC?!).

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Exploring the FTO's "little Ferrari" styling, it's apparent that there's been the addition of a mild aftermarket rear spoiler - however, the real focal piece is the bonnet. This car's hood is a full construction in fibreglass (incorporating a wire-mesh'd air outlet) and it's trickily held down with race-style bonnet pins. Nice stuff, eh? The whole turbocharged caboodle is poised on adjustable GAB suspension, combined with stock Mitsubishi 16s and 205/50 Advan rubbers.

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Step into the FTO's cosy little cabin and you'll see whoever owned this car in Japan sure didn't do things by half. Gone are the standard FTO pews and in are a couple of the finest Recaros you can get. These highly supportive, yellow meshed Recaro "Tomcats" even have pump-up lumbar support. If you can't get comfortable in these, you must be a mutant. To keep a close eye on the under-bonnet hardware, GREDDY manufactured peak-recall EGT and water temp gauges are mounted on the A-pillar pod, while the same brand boost gauge looks back from the steering column.

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Japanese radio tunes have been reproduced through a combination of a Pioneer Carrozzeria DSP/tuner/stacker (complete with a remote controller, in case the stretch to the console is a bit much!). Pumpin' are a set of Pioneer 6x9 3 ways on the back shelf and 3-way front door speakers.

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But - in case those Tokyo traffic jams got real boring - there's also a slide-out colour television to let you watch some of those crazy game-shows. Of course, this device is remote controlled as well - just like any good television. So now it's understood why this cute little Mitsu has a curious lookin' pair of rabbit's ears on the back glass...

So - being a car retailer - it's pretty much obvious that Cross-Over have got their just-imported turbo FTO for sale. And how much is it? Well, Craig says the price tag is set at around $36,000 - which is not that bad considering the Garrett, intercooler, Recaros, suspension and all of the electronic gear that's crammed in. And, who knows, maybe the car's new owner will find even more secrets onboard. Maybe it's packing a second turbocharged MIVEC engine/trans assembly in the rear - SuzukiSport Pikes Peak Cultas style!

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Cross-Over Sports and Luxury Cars
+61 3 9753 5799

Cross-Over Sports and Luxury Cars

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