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Cars I've Owned

**Pictured in the background is schematics of the all-powerful AWD 280hp Mitsubishi Evolution VI, of which my 1991 Eagle Talon TSi's engine is based on. To the Evolution lineage: live long and prosper.

My first real car was a Dodge Colt E (don't laugh!!), not a sports car but it got me from point A to point B. I wanted the Turbo model, but as you all know, a teenager who wants a turbo car wants a really high insurance premium, so I got the non-blown model. Pictures will follow soon.

Pontiac Fiero GT -- Wait a second before you call it a "firebomb" or 4-banger. I owned a 1986.5 model. I bought it used.  The standard engine was the 2.8L V6 rated at 140hp, over 160 ft/lb torque and had a 5-speed Getrag transmission. It never exploded and I've never heard of one exploding. I've never seen a magazine article regarding "fire-prone" Fieros. Personally, I think if they were "fire-prone" then they would have taken them off the market....I never received any type of recall notice either. I hostile about this? Sorta. I always get flamed when I mention the Fiero GT and, to tell you the truth, I don't know why. Usually, the guys that do the flaming aren't well-learned and have never driven or owned one. Showing their lack of wits?? Maybe, but I do know this: I rate a Fiero GT a better sports car than a sounds, feels, and oozes sportiness! Power is nothing if a car does not handle superbly in every aspect. A car that handles well will more than likely beat a more powerful car with no good handling characteristics. Just ask any autocrosser.  It was the best $6000 (bought the car used, of course) I've ever spent!

For those who don't know, the engine straddles the rear axle (mid-engine setup) and the engine bay got hotter than my DSM's ....I've melted many things back there!  Also, the engine is mounted with the spark plugs facing the length of the car, making spark plug changes painful (the plugs facing the firewall will take almost an hour to change, even when using a jointed socket).

The car was fast for the decent amount of power it put out, because of its weight. I forget the weight and I lost my reference--I think (and this is a very rough estimate) a stock Fiero weighs around 2500 lbs.

No matter how I threw it around (and I threw it around A LOT), it NEVER broke traction. This is not only because the car was so low to the ground....the car had and INCREDIBLE suspension, a Pontiac trademark! A person would have to be doing something incredibly stupid if he (or she) got into trouble in a turn in this car. This car needs no suspension upgrades at all!

I ended up trading it, along with the ZX6E because the car was too expensive for me to maintain at the time and lacked luggage and passenger space.

My 1986.5 Pontiac Fiero GT

1986.5 Pontiac Fiero GT's Engine Compartment

I traded the car and bike for a 1991 Mustang 5.0L Convertible. This was the stupidest decision I've ever made in my life. I had wanted a 5-speed manual transmissioned version but as I looked around town, I could find only automatics. Also, there were very little Mustangs being sold in Fayetteville at the time. Sadly, I ended up picking a lemon as my car.

Problems were soon "knocking on my door."

The mufflers (dual exhaust) had rusted all the way through and when I tried to remove them for replacement, none of the nuts would budge at all. It had some serious rust that acted like Crazy Glue. I went to Midas and priced their mufflers. I found a nice deal but found that I had to purchase two of everything....DOH!

The engine started overheating and I found out that the radiator had a serious buildup of crud inside of it. Draining and cleaning the radiator didn't help....only a new radiator would fix the problem.

The transmission or rear end (I couldn't tell which at the time) seemed to be overheating also, after doing an aftermarket upgrade (rear gear swap: see below).

The fuel pump wiring developed this problem where it wouldn't turn off the pump. One night I noticed that it didn't shut off and I didn't know how to cut it off so I left it. It drained my battery the next day. I bought a new battery and ended up having to disconnect the connector at the fuel pump to get it to turn off.

The stock stereo was really nasty. I wanted to replace it but since the car was already falling apart, I thought my money would be better-spent on actual maintenance.

The oil pan started leaking...old gaskets, I guess. The valve cover gaskets also started leaking. I bought gaskets from the local Ford dealer and replaced these myself. I couldn't replace the oil pan gaskets on my own since I couldn't remove the H-pipes (exhaust) because of the rust problem (Midas had replaced the exhaust behind the catalytic converters).

The driver window motor also quit working one day. Luckily, it stopped working in the up position. My dad found a used motor unit at a junkyard in Virginia and I had a local mechanic put it in the door. I tried to myself but I have big hands and could not remove the broken unit.

Part of the front suspension also broke when I was cresting a slight incline as a fast pace. This was easily fixed when I went to Advanced Auto and found that they carried the part I needed.

Additionally, someone also vandalized my car during a theft. They slit the canvas top with a knife right above the driver position, reached in, unlocked the door and entered the car to commence searching for items of value. The found my radar detector under the driver seat and also a pellet pistol. All of this happened in the lighted parking lot of a night club.

The car hadn't been waxed in ages. I had thought the clear enamel coat was completely gone. I waxed it a few times using heavy coats of Turtle wax and a buffer pad drill bit and drill. The car looked like new (except for the front end's chipped paint from rocks which road salt agitated), and looked even better with a bra to cover the nose.

What I did like was the way the car gripped the road, especially since I always felt like I was driving a truck (the car felt too high off the ground in its stock configuration). The car had very nice power, especially since I had an automatic version. I assume it was the 300 ft/lb of torque that made the car feel so responsive.

The only modifications I did was a rear gear swap (2.73 for a 3.55) and removal of the air silencer. I dropped about a second off the 0-60 time with just this mod! I liked this mod a lot because I could now chirp the rear tires when at full throttle in second gear. I did a TON of driving back and forth from Fayetteville to Alexandria, VA, on I-95. What I didn't like was the fact that the rear gear seemed to stay in top gear at a higher RPM on the highway. This may have contributed to my transmission/rear gear overheating problem (see above). The car was also already a gas guzzler before this mod, but it turned into a thirsty, raw throated horse in a desert after the 3.55 gear swap. Lastly, the gear purchase and installation cost about $400. Not good.

Note the rims:  the inside of the holes are red....very original for a Mustang! I haven't seen one with wheels like that yet.

1989 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 Convertible

The Mustang was falling apart so quickly that I traded it before I paid it off. I actually got more for it than it was worth. The dealership was MAD but they had already promised me a set price before actually evaluating what problems it had. They wanted to compensate for their error by upping the price on the car I wanted to buy, a 1991 Eagle Talon TSI with 45K miles. It drove like a dream and only had 4 cylinders. It compensate for its "lack" of cylinders with a small turbo that helps the engine pump out 195 stock horsepower.

I now have modified it slightly. I estimate it's power to be around 250hp (with race gas).

I usually set the boost to17 - 18 lbs on the street [Webmaster's note: only fool with boost using a high flow fuel pump and an aftermarket gauge] when day-to-day driving. I run up to 20 lbs at the local dragstrip. This puts me close to 240-250hp when using 110 leaded octane, but I get serious knock because of the heat of all the air that the turbo is trying to cram into the engine. 98 degree temperatures don't help either. Without all that heat and with a lower boost setting, I'm sure I can do a sub-14 second run.

The quickest I've run is 14.22 @ 97mph with the 110 octane race gas. The boost was set at 19 psi and the run was made at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, CA. Since I have no fuel-controlling computer, I leaned the car out a small bit by removing the lower honeycomb from the MAS. When I had first modded the car with the higher flow fuel pump, I measured the air/fuel ratio from the O2 sensor using a multimeter and got .98V out of 1.0V!! WAY RICH. (by the way, running that rich actually slows you down at the track.) So, with race gas and the MAS mod, K&N air filter, a larger diameter catback exhaust system, and higher boost setting, I gained .55 sec and 7mph! I should have the car sorted out and all the easy tuning done soon and with luck I should reach high 13s.  To get rid of the richness, I need to get an S-AFC, typical AFC or a VPC (VPC may be too much $$$).

I've recently changed the 14B turbo.  The one that was on the car when I bought it died after 88K miles.  I bought a used one for $120 from Rick S. from the Bay Area District Club DSM.  I accidentally busted a bolt taking off the oil line from the oil pan. I had had to remove the oilpan, a few front suspension parts, the driveshaft and the transfer case to get the oilpan out so I could fix the threads. Took me about 2 months to get all the parts (bolts, gaskets, and o-rings for the turbo and oil pan gasket) ordered from the dealer.  Got the old bolt out of the oilpan, cleared the threads (I didn't have to use a helicoil set to install new threads, thank God) and got it back on, along with the newer turbo.  The car ran great...even felt a bit stronger.

I soon found that I should have disconnected the battery. It was long dead. I tried to jump it but it would not hold a charge, so I bought one a week later, after the dealer took a look at my transfer case (the dreaded transfer case check/recall....drat, I didn't get a new transfer case, just a new yoke).

Currently my car is stored in Monterey, CA directly across from the Laguna Seca Race Track.  It's been in storage since December 1998.  In May of this year I went back to the U.S. and checked the status of my car. The battery was long dead. I tried to see if it would jump for the hell of it. I forked out $50 for a new battery with an 80-month warranty so when I get back I can replace it at minimal cost. I put the battery in and it immediately started. I was a bit peeved though because the storage manager said she would check on the car's tires every once in awhile and make sure they had air. There was only 10lb in each tire when I checked. I had to drive it to a gas station and put air in the tires (which made me really mad because I keep minimal insurance on my car while it's in storage). Otherwise, the car is fine. No leaks, other than a minor gasket leak.


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Go back to Ron's Page of Wonders
1. My 1st Generation Eagle Talon AWD
2. Motorcycles

3. Cars I've Owned

4. Other Hobbies

5. Drag Results

6. Impressions of Japan



9. SCC Is Unprofessional

10. What Stock DSMs are good for in Quarter Mile Times

11. WIGGLIT's Archives
12. Lt. Sinclair's Enemy Engaged: Comanche Vs. Hokum Page
13. Wigglit's Bio Page

Last Updated on 09/01/00
By Ron Sinclair

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