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1999 Daewoo Lanos

Howler From Down Under: Fast Fours' Supercharged Daewoo Lanos

Richard S. Chang
Jul 1, 2000
Photographers: Edward Krause, Greg McBean, Mark Bean

There are crazy kooks running amuck in Australia, no doubt about it. Our first and only clue: this supercharged ’99 Daewoo Lanos. It was built from the ground up (including the custom supercharger and interior) by our lager-swilling cohorts from Fast Fours and Rotaries with the sole intention of giving it away. First of all, why even try? And second of all, why even try? That would never fly over here. No way, man, not in a long shot. All that work just to be thrown at some lazy-ass rat-faced bastard for doing nothing? Screw that.

Let’s tackle the first obstacle. It’s a Daewoo. C’mon, I mean, even the lowly Kia owners tease the Daewoo guys at the lights. And even if you wanted to own a Daewoo in the States, there’s the problem of actually locating a dealership, or at least one that’s still in business. Are the cars really that pathetic? Well at 105 hp, a 0–62 time of 10.36 and a quarter of 17.71 at 79 mph (all numbers from the blokes at Fast Fours), you be the judge (and you don’t have to be a good ’un).

The madness all started in February of 1999. It was called Project Howler for reasons we’d rather not discuss at this moment. Fast Fours toiled over 8 months—from sketch to completion—to construct the beast. The total retail cost of the buildup is $56,382 (Aussie), which is equivalent to a little more than five bucks (Hey, I’ve got that in my pocket! Oh, wait, no I don’t.—JW). Ever wonder where to start off with a project car? Here ya go. Fast Fours was good enough to walk us through the entire process.

The first step was taking care of the wheels, tires, and suspension. Eighteens and 215/35s proved too big due to offset and space, so the mag went with 17x7.5 MOMO Racers and 215/40R17 Dunlop W-10s. K-Mac designed 2-inch lowering springs just for the car, and Koni was called upon for its Yellow Sport adjustables. Even at this point, the Daewoo was starting to look like a different car altogether. Not quite the Howler yet, but definitely scratching its voice.

The interior was next. And Fast Fours shot for the moon. The Recaro seats were restitched in red and black, and the back bench was retrimmed in the same scheme to match, then padded for comfort. MOMO shift knob, steering wheel, and pedals add styling and driveability to the car. And the dash was painted red to complete the cabin. Well, almost…

How complete can a cabin be without the proper sound tuning? We’re talking stereos, mate. And Fast Fours wasn’t fooling around. The mag went straight to Sony for the company’s latest Xplod gear. There was room for a double-DIN–sized unit, so in went a Sony CD/tuner and tape player, complete with DSP, EQ, and SA. The whole stereo setup took three long weeks to finish. Custom door pods were crafted for the 6-inch two-ways, and a false floor was placed in the trunk for the 10-CD changer and subwoofer box. Car Sound and Image gets credit for the work. But only call them if you’re in Australia or don’t mind spending boatloads in freight.

Fast Fours saved the toughest part for last: the engine. At first, the magazine wanted to keep things simple—you know, intake, exhaust, a little head porting, and some cammies. But then the supercharger offer came along, and everything went out the window. It took three more weeks before the blower was fitted onto the engine. The main change was moving the air-intake box from the left side of the engine to the right. The battery was removed, and now that’s where the airbox resides, and the water injection system is where the airbox used to sit. The switcheroo works because the battery was swapped out for an Odyssey, which is half the size of a normal battery.

The chip was retouched for more torque and a slightly higher rev range. After some added nip and tuck with the engine (a Hi-Tech header and exhaust), horsepower numbers jumped all the way up to 177. Zero to 62 is now at 7.29 seconds, max speed at 130 mph, and a quarter-mile of 15.29 at 91 mph (again, all test numbers courtesy of the true believers at Fast Fours).

With the important things finally out of the way, the magazine set its sights on beauty. Modeled after the Corolla World Rally Championships car, GS Motor Bodies created custom Mugen-style sideskirts and front and rear bumpers, which are plays off the original factory molds. Graphics added the finishing touch, and the car was all set for the giveaway. We don’t know who won yet, but we’re still hoping Fast Fours decided to keep this one for itself.

By Richard S. Chang
84 Articles

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