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1995 Eagle Talon TSi - The Eagle Has Landed

A DSM finally lands on the pages of Super Street—and it's a sweet one!

Austin Lott
Jan 8, 2019
Photographer: Dax Rodriguez

If you're wondering why this Mitsubishi Eclipse isn't wearing a trio of diamonds, that's because it's an Eagle Talon. Now, if you're wondering what an Eagle is and why people call it a DSM, you're not the only one. Alex Ruiz, owner of this '95 Talon, gets those questions a lot. The older guys who've been around the scene usually tell him, "I used to have one of those in high school," or "I always wanted one of those," while the new-schoolers ask, "What's a DSM?"

1995 eagle talon tsi 97 99 eclipse rear fascia conversion Photo 2/34   |   1995 Eagle Talon Tsi 97 99 Eclipse Rear Fascia Conversion

DSM stands for Diamond-Star Motors, which was a joint venture between Chrysler and Mitsubishi founded in 1985. The venture was responsible for manufacturing three cars collectively: the Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon, and Plymouth Laser. All three featured slightly different cosmetics but for the most part shared the same DNA—DNA that made the cars popular in the '90s for their turbocharged 4G63 inline-four and optional all-wheel-drive system. DSM cars arrived at a time when the Honda scene was picking up steam; however, the Eclipse, Talon, and Laser gave many enthusiasts their first taste of affordable boost. They also served as a bridge between Japanese and domestic sports car fans with the Chrysler-Mitsubishi partnership.

As for Alex's Talon, this is actually his first car, and it's the product of a challenge between him and his friend to see who could build the fastest version of the same car. Alex's buddy picked up an Eclipse, but it was a front-wheel drive base model without a turbo. Alex (purely by accident) ended with a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive Talon TSi. "My car was always faster," he tells us with a laugh.

1995 eagle talon tsi evo III swap Photo 6/34   |   1995 Eagle Talon Tsi Evo III Swap

Alex set out to make his Talon as potent as possible under a limited budget. From junkyard visits to hand-me-down fuel pumps, nothing was off the table. The goal was to break into the 10s in the quarter-mile for less than three grand, which he did while getting the car down to 10.7 seconds at 127 mph.

As Alex grew older, his tastes changed, and he looked toward reinventing the Talon; this time, he envisioned something that would last longer and look more refined—minus all the eBay and knockoff parts. He picked up a Lancer Evo III long-block and five-speed tranny, which he mated to the original all-wheel-drive system. Alex tells us the JDM powertrain features a different compression, cam lobes, intake manifold, throttle body, and gearing, but for the most part it swaps right in and has endured a much easier life than domestic a 4G63. He added ARP hardware for good measure then turned up the boost using a large 60mm turbo to make 642 hp and 578 lb-ft of torque at 38 psi on E85. The E85 setup is pretty simple: bigger injectors, high-flow fuel pump, and some tuning from D Tuned Performance. However, for the majority of the Talon's use, boost is dialed down to for a modest 400 hp on 91 octane. Alex explains many of the components remain stock, specifically the axles, driveshafts, rear end, and transfer case. These things tend to break after 450 hp, so low boost and more conservative driving habits are in order.

1995 eagle talon tsi carbonetics front lip Photo 10/34   |   1995 Eagle Talon Tsi Carbonetics Front Lip

We asked about "crank walk," which is supposedly a common weakness in certain 4G63 engines. Alex has a different take, "It's not the engines, it's the owners." Back when DSMs became popular in the '90s and early '00s, there weren't as many aftermarket parts, specifically clutches, to keep up with the kind of power the inline-four was able to produce. The heavy-duty single-plate clutches of the day put extra strain on the thrust bearings, leading to failures. Today, double- and triple-plate clutches are available, letting guys put down more power without tearing up the drivetrain. Alex's remedy was a South Bend single Kevlar disc and Exedy Stage 3 pressure plate.

Besides reliable power, Alex knew he'd have to do something serious with the exterior if he was going to make the Talon respectable. He enlisted the help of Sergio Amezcua, founder of Carbonetics, to take his Talon to the next level. First, the front and rear fascias were swapped with '97-to-'99 Eclipse parts, then loads of carbon-fiber was added. A few of the most visible items were crafted by Carbonetics, including the front lip, hood, sunroof delete, side skirts, and airbag delete panel. The exclamation point is a one-off fender kit, also built by Carbonetics.

1995 eagle talon tsi bride zeta III seat Photo 14/34   |   1995 Eagle Talon Tsi Bride Zeta III Seat

What's next for Alex? He's looking into new pistons and rods then bringing power closer to 500 hp on pump gas. He also wants to redo the electronics and get an AEM Infinity wired in with a fuel cell and surge tank. Until then, he'll be enjoying the Talon as is and continuing to field all your questions about the long-gone but never forgotten DSM.

1995 eagle talon tsi 97 99 eclipse rear fascia conversion Photo 21/34   |   1995 Eagle Talon Tsi 97 99 Eclipse Rear Fascia Conversion
1995 eagle talon tsi enkei RPF1 wheels Photo 28/34   |   1995 Eagle Talon Tsi Enkei RPF1 Wheels
By Austin Lott
26 Articles
1995 Eagle Talon TSi - The Eagle Has Landed
Tuning Menu
Owner: Alex Ruiz
Hometown: Fresno, CA
Occupation: Suspension Specialist
Instagram: @alex4g63
Engine: Evo III long-block engine swap; ARP main and rod bolts, L19 head studs; ported cylinder head; Brian Crower 272/272 camshafts; Kiggly beehive valvesprings; Skunk2 cam gears; Gates Racing timing belt; ported Evo III intake manifold; NGK spark plugs; Walbro 450-lph E85 fuel pump; -6AN fuel feed; Fuelab fuel filter, fuel pressure regulator; Injector Dynamics 1,200cc injectors; Duratech composite fuel rail; Archer Fabrications T3 manifold; TiAL 44mm wastegate; billet HX40/HX35 turbo; stainless side-exit exhaust with Archer Fabrication polished tear drop and carbon-fiber exhaust plate; intake with K&N filter; Precision Turbo intercooler; TiAL 50mm blow-off valve
Drivetrain: Five-speed Evo III manual transmission swap; South Bend Kevlar clutch disc; Exedy Stage 3 pressure plate
Engine Management: DSMLINK V3 tuned by D Tuned Performance
Footwork & Chassis: Mitsubishi Evo X conversion with Brembo rotors and Hawk HP Plus pads; braided stainless steel lines; '01 Galant master cylinder; non-ABS Evo proportioning valve
Wheels & Tires: 18x10.5 +15 Enkei SBC RPF1 wheels; 275/35R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE71R tires
Exterior: '97-to-'99 Mitsubishi Eclipse front and rear fascia conversions; Carbonetics carbon-fiber V1 AB hood with AeroCatch hood latches, V2 CSL trunk, sunroof delete, front lip, side skirts, front and rear fenders; HID and LED lighting; OEM Apex Silver paint by Takuro Iki
Interior: Bride Japan Zeta III carbon-fiber seats; Cusco harnesses, rear C-pillar brace; custom seat brackets with Sparco driver-side seat slider; MOMO Monte Carlo 350mm steering wheel, NRG quick release; six-point rollcage; 10th anniversary gauges; airbag delete plate engraved by Shawn Lisjack



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