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Marketing Mirage

An all-out Mitsubishi Mirage that attracts plenty of attention!

Word by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

At a glance...

  • Japanese 1.5 litre DOHC engine with custom turbo kit
  • Cyber body kit, custom paint and graphics
  • Eye-catching interior trim
  • Top-shelf 145dB sound system
  • A perfect company promo car!
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It’s no surprise that company promo cars are often the most outrageous and eye-catching modified vehicles in existence. Just take a look at the Hi-Fi Mart/HFM Auto Styling high-impact Mitsubishi Mirage. If its body kit and graphics don’t catch your eye, chances are you’ll notice the thundering sound system or spoolin’ turbo!

Warwick Butzbach – joint owner of Toowoomba’s Hi-Fi Mart and HFM Auto Styling – purchased this 1998 Mirage about 8 months ago after recognising its huge marketing potential. Warwick tells us the Melbourne-built Mirage had already been fitted with a DOHC turbo engine, custom interior, body kit and custom paint. All that it needed was some fine tuning, a few alterations to gain Queensland registration, company graphics and a suitably arse-kicking sound system.

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We are told the previous owner of the Mirage went through various stages of engine modification, including a supercharger and extra injector set-up. However, when the car came to Warwick , it was equipped with a Japanese import 1.5 litre DOHC 16-valve engine teamed with a custom turbo arrangement.

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Internally, the DOHC engine has been rebuilt with Ridgecrest H beam rods, a reground crankshaft, forged pistons (for a static compression ratio around 8:1) and a ported cylinder head. It’s the perfect platform for a relatively high boost turbo application. The engine’s blow-by oil is kept out of the intake tract thanks to a custom catch can.

On the exhaust side of the head is a custom tubular manifold that connects a Nissan 200SX T28 turbocharger blowing at up to 16 psi boost. A 2½ inch mandrel exhaust (with a dual passage dump pipe) and HKS pod filter let the turbo breathe with minimal restriction. A large aftermarket front-mount intercooler, custom mandrel bent intercooler plumbing and GFB blow-off valve complete the turbo system.

Controlling fuel and ignition is a Wolf 3D programmable management system. A set of Evolution 7 injectors and an aftermarket fuel pressure regulator were installed when the car was purchased and Warwick has since added an Evo 7 fuel pump to maintain safe mixtures at high rpm/load. This required another tune of the Wolf management system.

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Using a heavy-duty clutch teamed with a stock 5-speed gearbox, Warwick ’s Mirage has put out 200hp (149kW) at the front wheels on a Dyno Dynamics chassis dyno. This gives the Mirage a power-to-weight ratio superior to a current Subaru Impreza STi – just the thing to make a lasting impression!

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Visually, Warwick ’s Mirage wears a Cyber body kit fitted by the previous owner. The kit (which is distinctive without being plain weird) comprises front and rear bumpers, side skirts, rear spoiler and bonnet vents. A non-factory paint job is another eye-catcher – the paint is a custom metallic blue mix. Warwick has also added a stick-on graphic kit promoting HFM Auto Styling. Oh, and look closely at the tailgate and you’ll also see a KOMPRESSOR badge as fitted to Mercedes-Benz models.

The body rides m-u-c-h lower than standard thanks to an aftermarket spring and damper combo and the front strut towers are tied together with a carbon fibre brace. A set of 225/40 Bridgestone rubber (as big as you’ll fit on a Mirage) is worn on white Enkei 15 inch alloys. The task of blackening those rims is the responsibility of standard four-wheel disc brakes. These also serve to slow the car when the brake pedal is pressed – a bonus!

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The custom blue paint on the exterior panels also extends to the Mirage’s interior. Blue paint covers the dashboard, centre console, scuff panels and pillar trim pieces while a red-trimmed Isotta steering wheel, door inserts and Recaro seats add contrast. The base-spec Mirage instrumentation is augmented with an A-pillar mounted tachometer and an AutoMeter boost gauge. A cool head-up display (HUD) unit also provides rpm and road speed data on a reflective panel stuck on the windscreen. Other interior features include an aluminium gear knob, a leather boot for the gear knob and handbrake lever, Blitz turbo timer and silver painted main instrument surround.

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The audio system is a top-shelf thumper using all Alpine components. A top-of-the-range CD/tuner/MP3 head unit is wired to a trio of V12 amplifiers, dual Type S 12 inch subs (mounted in a sealed enclosure), 6 inch front splits and 6 x 9 inch 3-ways in the rear. High quality RCA leads, heavy-gauge speaker wire and a gold-plated fuse block ensure maximum sound quality. And is it loud? You bet! With up to 145dB output, the HFM Auto Styling Mirage can be heard from the next town!

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Warwick says the Mirage has served well in drumming-up business and promoting the company name, but he’s now on the lookout for a new promo machine. As a result, the Mirage is currently being offered for sale (at around AUD$18,500 minus sound system) and Warwick is considering a BMW 535i turbo currently owned by his business partner.

With a little more prestige and more space for sound equipment, we reckon this would be a great upgrade - from a personal and business point of view, of course...


Hi-Fi Mart
+61 7 4638 2490

HFM Auto Styling
+61 7 4638 2555

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