Tokyo Auto Salon is a magical time when the halls of the Makuhari Messe are filled to the brim with a wild variety of cars, women dressed in equally varied outfits, and an army of men who attend for the sole purpose of filling up their hard drives with pictures of girls.
As entertaining as it is to watch, my mission, like Dino and Blake’s, was to hunt out some interesting cars and share them with you.
As I walked by Nakanihon Automotive College’s Mitsubishi Starion, I could feel myself being pulled towards it as if it had its very own gravitational field. The complete aggressiveness of the aero kit and the fact it had been built by students really piqued my curiosity.
Luckily for me, the NAC students were close by, and watching my every move as I approached their precious project with camera in hand. To their great surprise, I turned to them and asked if they would like to tell me more about the unique build.
When it came time to pick a platform for the project, the students first had to decide which route they wanted their build to take: time attack or drift.
Since the previous NAC students had built a time attack car, it only seemed fair to take on the challenge of building a drift machine, which meant something relatively cheap and rear-wheel drive was at the top of the requirement list. It also meant that anything new was going to be out of the question.
And that’s where this Mitsubishi Starion comes in. Being rear-drive and the previous students’ parts car meant it was more than affordable, but on the flip side it was going to take a lot more work to transform it into something able to reliably destroy tires.
The old adage measure twice, cut once was taken to heart as the entire aggressive wide-body kit was designed and constructed by the students.
Keeping the engine and other major components cool is a major concern while drifting, thus four air ducts in the rear direct air-flow to a second radiator in the back.
On the subject of keeping the engine cool, given that the Starion had already parted ways with its 4G63, the empty bay allowed the students to do something a little different. Different options were considered, but in the end an R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R donated its RB26DETT engine to the cause.
And backing up the twin-turbo six is an RB25DET 5-speed gearbox. You can see where the original shifter was located and where they had to cut out the tunnel to accommodate the new transmission.
Since this is a fairly significant change, everything in the interior also needed to be shifted rearwards, including the seat mounts, steering column and pedals.
You can’t forget the massive GT wing either!
Unfortunately, the NAC students were not able to get everything completed before TAS, but to get caught up on that is to miss the point completely.
A lot of blood, sweat and tears has gone into this build and it radiated not only through the car itself, but through the pride the students showed as they dragged me around the Starion showing me all the details, and the fact they were slightly embarrassed by the unfinished elements.
Because of this, and the fact of how unique it was, I just had to pick it as one of my favorites from this year’s show.