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.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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
+61 7 4638 2490
HFM Auto Styling
+61 7 4638 2555