To the Uneducated, an A is Just Three Sticks: Eclipse GSX
Prior to the photo shoot for this car I had a friend ask me “Why are you shooting this car? It’s just an Eclipse with a fart can.” Well that’s why I want to regale to you why this car is something worth mentioning. For those that are unfamiliar with the Diamond-Star Motors line up, this first generation Eclipse might cross their path and they would think nothing of it. That’s exactly what happened with me until I opened dialogue with the owner, Greg Privitera.
A decade ago Greg acquired this iconic early 90s Japanese sports car for very cheap as a blank canvas that needed a bit of TLC, and that made it a perfect candidate for purchase. Perfection: That’s something I’d like to expand upon. It seems through social trends and the speed at which ideas are shaped via the internet, the general idea of perfection is an arbitrary horsepower figure coupled with immaculate paint and bespoke fabrication. Sometimes those things aren’t needed to achieve relative perfection. Let’s look at this car at it’s base. It’s a first generation Mitsubishi Eclipse with a particularly special caveat of being the GSX trim level. What that means is this Eclipse is a turbocharged all wheel drive model. Turbo charged engines housed in a small sports car powering all four wheels is absolutely a recipe for excitement, but Greg decided to make a few modifications to achieve his vision of perfection without shouty modifications that alter the factory DSM styling.
Ahh popup headlights… Anyway, about those aforementioned modifications. There was a point in Greg’s ownership that he modified his car based on the principles that bigger and more is better. That’s not always the case especially with a car that sees daily road use and therefore, Greg has reworked his car to be fun all the time rather than only fun when a large expanse of highway is at his disposal. When excitement on the street is found from light to light or on tight roads with speed limits, immediacy and usability are goals that come to mind when modifying an A to B car. Without gushing on about usability I’m just going to cut to the chase. Here’s what Greg has put into his GSX:
Manley 9.5:1 pistons
Manley H-beam rods
ACL race bearings
Manley valve springs/retainers
Revised 3g lifters
Graveyard 272 cams
Coated and ported factory turbo manifold
Evo3 16g turbo, ported and coated
3″ Megan turbo-back exhaust
Calan oil catch can
Turbosmart raceport blow-off valve
Southbend clutch with Fidanza flywheel
Stainless steel brakelines
Speed density conversion
It’s obvious that Greg has a great affection for his DSM and genuinely enjoys interacting with it everyday and in his mind this car is nearing perfection. With the upcoming additions of climate and cruise control, this car will be everything he could ever want in his “Panda”. This joy in machine is something that he also shares with his family. So much so that this car is on it’s way to becoming a family heirloom. He intends on passing the car down to one of his daughters when they’re old enough to drive. With a car like this you can bet she will be the subject of conversation with the guys at the lunch table. Whoever the lucky girl may be, I hope she doesn’t skimp out on father’s day after that.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting in a 90s Japanese sports car, then this might feel familiar. The fighter jet cockpit layout that this vintage of car oozes is something that gives you the fizz before you even embark on your adventure. Controls are angled towards the driver, the important gauges are made well known of their presence, and the seating position is designed to put you in control rather than lumber along on the ride. The driver’s seat, in this car, really is a wonderful place to be.
Next time you see just another (insert make/model here), strike up a conversation. See what the owner is on about. You might learn a thing or two and perhaps even discover something new that interests you. This Eclipse is not “just another Eclipse” and neither are most cars out there that have a lineage or a personal story to tell. Every maker has his mark and each enthusiast their own story.
Except Mustangs. Don’t worry about probing those for anything interesting.