“The whole thing begins with my first 10-second car known as the ‘Turd,’ ” quips Jeff Bush when asked how he has taken his DSM well into the eights. The Turd would light up the scoreboard; it was fast, but wasn’t dressed for the part, and its 135+ mph trap speeds far exceeded its safety equipment.
Bush, who hails from The Dalles, Oregon, called English Racing in nearby Camas, Washington, to source some Lexan windows. “Well, I wound up buying a ’93 rolling chassis that had been previously teched to run 8.5 and 165 mph.
“All the guys at English laughed and thought I was crazy to buy the car. They said I had traded a Turd for a Frankenstein — a Frankenstein that was part Turd. But it was approved to 165 mph, so I could at least really let loose with the car. I am a drag racer at heart, and 135 mph just wasn’t enough.” The platform was cheap and the end result represents what an experienced DIYer on a small budget can do. There’s about $35K worth of parts on the car, and that includes a number of custom-fabricated pieces. In a world where a custom widebody kit and a paint job can go for $20K, that’s a deal.
The DSM had a full one-piece carbon front clip, which sounds good on paper, but Bush found it poorly constructed, so he removed it and all of the remaining subframe all the way back to the wheelwells. He then found a ’94 Eagle Talon, scavenged its stock front clip and graphed it back on the new drag car — and a solid foundation was built.
Bush hung an empty block and trans in the engine bay to mock-up a hard-hitting turbo system featuring a then-new 42R turbo and massive 6-inch FMIC from Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS). Bush discussed the particulars of the turbo system with ETS’ JR, the biggest particular was four-digit power.
While Bush was playing Dr. Frankenstein, Lucas English was constructing the brain of a genius — no “Abbey Normal” for this Diamond Star. The plant was a wild three-quarter-filled, six-bolt 4G63 engine with all the best from the best, starting with R&R aluminum rods that secure Wiseco 8.8:1 compression ratio pistons. The advantage of aluminum rods is a drastic reduction in reciprocating mass, and less weight swinging on the crank means the engine can turn bigger rpm. A Kiggly main girdle helps keep everything square inside the cylinders. English Racing topped the short-block with a head that Bush ported himself, fitted with Shepherd-spec custom Crane cams, Kiggly beehive springs and Super Tech 1mm-oversized valves. A Spark Tech ignition lights off the massive intake charge and makes the power come to life.
“The crew at Extreme Turbo Systems went to work creating what I would call an absolute work of art,” says a prideful Bush when talking about the trick tubular turbo header from ETS. “Space was the biggest hurdle. A large-frame ETS turbo had to hang in the factory location with a full radiator, and the big FMIC also had to fit with minimal trimming of the front bumper cover.
“The fuel system for this car had to be a bit out of the norm due to my quest of 1,000 whp on E98. We used basically everything needed to support 2,500 hp on a gasoline-powered drag car. Our first trip to the dyno to break in the engine netted 820 whp at only 36 psi. The following weekend, we took the car out to Woodburn dragstrip [in Woodburn, Oregon] to participate in Pinks Arm Drop. I qualified seventh out of 427 racers with a best time slip of 9.4 at 154 mph. We then started making a few showings around the Northwest and participated in two Battle of the Imports (BOTI) events. The one in Seattle was a disaster; the car caught fire at the 1,000-foot mark at around 150 mph. I managed to get the fire out with minimal damage. The car went on to make 961 whp at 45 psi later in the year.
“The next season I wanted to eliminate transmission issues, so I went with a fully built DunRite/English Racing 2g automatic, and the engine was re-tuned to 814 whp at 45 psi. After a few trial-and-error test sessions, the demons were exorcised and we took the car out on its first dragstrip adventure and wound up at Renegade Raceway in Yakima, Washington. After five passes at 37 psi, we captured the record for fastest DSM auto AWD at 8.99 at 155.5 mph. The record has been broken and now stands at 8.69 at 159 mph, so we have a good target for the next trip to the track.”
The Diamond Star will continue to morph and evolve with the immediate mods being a firm twist on the boost knob, a new English Racing 10.5:1 compression motor and a Garrett GTX-R 4202 billet turbo upgrade. Since the DSM is an Eagle Talon, we have to ask, “Can these mods transform this Turd into a glorious bird?” We would answer: no — but we expect it to run deeper into the eights, which is quite a feat on any budget. It may also land Bush and company in the record books.
Specs & Details
'94 Eagle Talon
Engine 6-Bolt DSM 4G63
Engine Modifications R&R 150mm aluminum rods; Wiseco 8.8:1 HD pistons; Kiggly main girdle, beehive springs & HLA distribution block; NOS nitrous kit (65 hp for spool only); ARP Fasteners; Shep Racing custom Crane cams; Super Tech +1mm valves; Jeff Bush fully ported head; English Racing electric water pump kit; Spark Tech Pro CDi ignition system; ETS 4202R turbo w/ Tial V-band 1.01 housing, 6" custom FMIC, custom header, 3" stainless IC piping, Ram air intake & 3.5" side-exit exhaust; JM Fabrications full race SMIM; MagnaFuel 750 fuel pump; Aeromotive 13113 FPR; FIC 1,600cc injectors (8); Magnus -10 fuel rails (2); custom fuel cell by Jeff Bush; -10 fuel lines; AEM injector driver & UEGO wideband
Engine Management AEM EMS
Drivetrain DunRite/English Racing 2g auto trans; Precision Industries 9.5" billet converter; Kiggly 6-disc main clutch & flex plate; English Racing trans cooler
Suspension Custom Ksport coilovers
Interior B&M shifter; custom rollcage; bucket seat; custom dash
Exterior Carbon-fiber hood; Lexan windows; front bumper cutout; parachute; kill switch
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Motegi Racing wheels; racing slicks; stock brakes
Thanks To English Racing, ETS