The original The Fast and the Furious film made building a 10-second car seem pretty straightforward: Do a little illegal street racing, wear a dirty tank top, have a backyard barbecue followed by an all-nighter in the garage, and bada bing bada boom, 10-second car complete. But if you've ever actually tried to go this fast in the quarter-mile, you know it's not that simple, especially if you're aiming to do it without a Hollywood bankroll.
For Fernando Martinez and his Florida-based shop, Ostar Motorsports, the objective wasn't just to build a fast car on a tight budget, though that's certainly a goal many of us can relate to. He also needed a shop car to help promote his company and carve out a niche in the ultracompetitive world of high-performance tuning. Little did he know that these humble beginnings would lead to one hell of a drag racing adventure and a new DSM stock short-block quarter-mile record.
Fernando's go-fast dreams started when he was a kid, having grown up with a gearhead for a father. "I remember my dad tinkering with his '69 Charger 440, and I was amazed at how powerful the engine sounded. It was music to my ears, and it was then that my passion for cars really took flight. I joined the military after high school and bought my first car, a '91 Honda CRX. From there I moved on to a '99 Civic Si and even a '98 Eclipse GST. The list goes on and on from an Integra Type R to an SC300 with a 2JZ swap."
With a car resume like that, it shouldn't surprise you too much that in 2007, Fernando decided to open his own performance shop with a partner. Unfortunately, that partnership didn't work out, so he had to start from scratch in 2009, founding Ostar Motorsports as a home-based, online business. As Fernando told us, "After I started Ostar, I had a little left to get a car to help promote the business. By little money, I mean $5K, which really limited my choices. So I thought to myself, What kind of car can I make fast with little money? And that's when I decided a DSM would be perfect."
While browsing the net for a suitable candidate, he came across this '91 Eclipse GSX just a couple of hours drive from Orlando. As Fernando explained, "I called my good friend and DSM guru Armando Miro and told him about my find. He said he knew the car and that it should be a good buy to have some fun with. So we ended up making the trip, and when I saw the car, I knew it would be coming home with me. It was a perfect fit for what money I had and the goals we had in mind."
As you'd expect for a cheap and cheerful 1g Eclipse, it was equipped with an internally stock engine, so the initial build was kept simple, resulting in 400 whp. "We hit the track every weekend, and the car performed like a champ. Pretty soon 400 whp just wasn't enough, though, so we decided to go with a 67mm turbo and a few supporting mods that, in our eyes, were overkill for the stock motor but would work on the car once we had enough money to build the bottom end. We ended up tuning the car on this new setup and we went for broke. The car made 650 whp, and at that point, we did not think it would hold up long, but we took our chances and hit the track anyway. We went from 10.9 to 10.5 to 10.0 in a matter of months. This was super exciting for us, and the car was a huge success at every track event we would go to. People all over the net loved the car and what we were doing. Who would have thought that a stock bottom DSM would be able to take so much punishment and keep going and going?" Fernando says.
Amazed by the reliability and e.t.'s they'd achieved so far, Fernando, Armando, Danny Garcia, and Manual Aponte (CMB Tuning) decided they should just keep pushing the envelope to see where it took them. This is when they realized they might even have a shot at beating the stock-block DSM record they kept reading about on the forums. According to Fernando, "We ended up hitting some bumps in the road, but luckily we had some good friends like Mike Rizzotti and John Shepherd who helped us sort out a misfire that had haunted us for months so we could finally hit the 9-second range and take the record for fastest stock bottom 4G63."
A lot of crews would have kicked back, cracked open a few beers, and let the Internet glory roll in, but not Fernando and his team: "After breaking the record, we thought, Why stop now? So we pushed the car even harder and managed to extract a whopping 755 whp. We went back to the track and managed to run a 9.22 at 154 mph. What a night! We could not believe what we had just done. It was such a feeling of accomplishment that I cannot even explain it in words. Not much longer after that, I decided to take a different route for our next season, and since we accomplished beating the record, we finally decided for the new season to actually build an engine, and that is what is currently in the works."
Watch for Ostar's record-setting Eclipse at this year's DSM/Evo Shootout as well as Imports versus Domestics in Maryland, the two events Fernando and his team have targeted once their new high-compression 42R 1,000-plus-whp engine is ready for battle. If their track record so far is any indication, the big boys of the DSM drag world better bring their A-game to stay ahead of the stock-block rock stars from Ostar.
Specs & Details
'91 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
Engine 2.0L 4G63T inline-4
Engine Modifications OEM Mitsu MLS head gasket and stock short-block; Ostar Motorsports Stage 3 head package w/ Kiggly beehive spring and retainer kit and HLA, and Supertech nitrided valve set, valveguides, and valve seals; Forced Performance FP4r camshafts; JMF drag intake manifold and fuel cell; Fuel Injector Clinic 2,150cc injectors; Jay Racing twin 340-lph fuel pumps
Engine Management AEM EMS Series 1
Drivetrain Sheptrans.com dog box; Quarter Master twin-disc clutch; Avid motor mount kit; Torque Solution driveshaft bushings
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Volk Racing 15x8'' TE37 wheels; Mickey Thompson 24.5x8x15'' slicks; STM small brake kit
Suspension BC Racing custom Ostar Drag Spec coilovers; Energy Suspension master bushing kit; Jay Racing tow eliminator kit
Exterior Custom fiberglass hood and trunk; graphics by Adil
Interior Gato Performance rollcage and parachute bar; Kirkey aluminum race seat; Racequip 5-point harness; Auto Meter shift light; AEM wide-band and oil pressure gauges
Numbers 755 whp and 577 wtq on a bottom end; 9.22 at 154 mph
Special Thanks My team: Armando Miro, Daniel Garcia (gazoo), and Manuel Aponte; Erin and Kevin at Kiggly Racing; Robert at Forced Performance; Billy and Jeff at CW Pence Machine Shop; Fuel Injector Clinic; Gato and Javi at Gato Performance; BC Racing USA; Jay Racing; John Shepherd at Sheptrans.com; Adil Graphics; Torque Solution