The Right Priorities: A 1JZ-Swapped Starion
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I really wish there were more Starions in the world, but such is the way with most Mitsubishis.

From 1986 through 1989 less than 50,000 examples were built, although I’m not sure if this includes the Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth Conquest which the car was also sold as here in the US. And yes, American car builders seemed to be very confused during this era, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

Mikie Sorrel’s landed an ’89 Starion Turbo, which is probably the best version of the car you can pick up. Wider and more aggressive with some of the kinks of the earlier version worked out, these later Starions have so much potential.

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Mikie’s got his priorities in line on this one too; the entire thing was built right here in his garage. Shortly after he had things buttoned up we started talking on Facebook after Dino posted Mikie’s info in the group chat and I became aware of the car’s existence.

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Fast forward a few months and Mikie’s already landed a few features around the internet as well as the cover of DSport magazine. It’s certainly not a bad resume for a garage-built project that’s been plastidipped rather than painted and wears stock wheels on all four corners.

Still, after being one of the first to talk to Mikie I just had to check the car out for myself when I was out in Ohio.

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Of course, the party piece that’s gotten Mikie all the attention is what’s under the hood. The car now makes 512hp and 436ft-lb of torque at the wheels courtesy of a Toyota 1JZ swap.

It’s no ordinary 1J though; modifications are plentiful and include a large BorgWarner S360 turbocharger and a Haltech Elite 2500 ECU. Power is sent from the 1JZ through a Toyota R154 tranny and on to the Starion’s stock rear end. I’m not sure how long the diff out back will last, especially since Mikie has a 1.5JZ swap on a stand to take this build to the next level sometime soon.

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I love how incredibly at home the motor looks in the Starion’s bay, and I wonder what could have been if Mitsubishi had collaborated with Toyota instead of Chrysler back in the day. Of course, a commercial mash-up like this makes no sense, but we did see Subaru and Toyota come together for the 86, so anything is possible.

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Factory fantasies aside, Mikie’s turned a somewhat unreliable and lackluster car into an incredible cruiser with a bit of simple bodywork, the clean motor and tranny swap, and D2 coilovers.

Welcome To The ’80s
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From the car as a whole down to the very last details, this thing embodies a real future-’80s aesthetic.

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Removing the fuse for the incredibly obnoxious automatic shoulder belts, I was able to get a clean shot of the interior in all its square-edged glory. And speaking of those shoulder belts, check out that ‘TURBO’ insignia. Mitsubishi was so proud of itself.

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And Mikie should be, too. His car is an awesome example of what’s possible when you put your eggs in the right basket.

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Mikie wasn’t the only one who turned up that day with an older, swapped, Japanese car, though.

I’ll be taking a peek at his friend Jesse’s S30 soon…

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto
TYRphoto.com

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Cutting Room Floor
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37 comments

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1

This car looks like a lot of fun. Great build.

2

Never thought stock wheels could look so good.

3
Mikie sorrell

Swear it's one of the best looks. I just wish they were bigger haha.

4

Aren't you able to get them widened?

This car is a great example of subtle and clean. Well executed!

5
mohamed saleem

Look Good. Colour should something change

6

Clean and tasteful

7
Mikie sorrell

I appreciate it!

8
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Truly a sleeper!

9
Mikie sorrell

Thank you!

10
Matthew Everingham

I'm glad this made the page. Starions are so underrated. I love whats been done to this. It makes me happy to see such a cool car being appreciated by someone that pays attention to details.

11

Matt, there is a small yet dedicated bunch of starion enthusiast's in Australia. I can send you an invite to one of our next meetups.

12
Mikie sorrell

Thanks man. It's a lot of effort with these. There is just very little support for them.

13

is 4G63 an unreliable engine?! I don't think so.
and I think 1JZ+R154 is heavier than 4G+KM132, but maybe 1JZ is cheaper for hp! am I right?
BTW... I like to know more about this build, is there any build thread for this car?

14

These cars didn't originally come with a 4G63 though. If I remember correctly it was a 4G54B?

15

Most of the widebody's came with the 4G54B, but some did come with Dash 12v motors & all the narrowbodys we got in Australia came with SOHC 4G63's.

16
Mikie sorrell

Correct. G54b was the stock motor. Torque was no issue with it but reliability was. 1jz is just as had as a 4g63 swap but more reliable and easier to make power with!

17

I had a Conquest TSI. Its more accurate to say that that turbo is the weak link. The engine was bulletproof.

18

That is debatable. TBI, SOHC, jet valves, long stroke, no oil pan baffles, prone to overheating, weak head gaskets, water jackets prone to cracking. They can be reliable.....stock. Start trying to make good power with them and the weak points reveal themselves very quickly.

19

I liked when you said "I love how incredibly at home the motor looks in the Starion’s bay,, The Starion for me looks very similiar to a Mk. 3 Supra and it makes the swap perfect.

20

It more looks like MK2 Supra/CelicaSupra, and I first thought the wheels were from MK2.
Nice car/build anyway.

21
Mikie sorrell

You mean the mk3 looks like the starion? Haha. Mitsubishi did it first! Lol. But thanks man. Goal was to make it look oem

22

You mean MK2 Celica Supra

23
Hisham Zakout

I want need for speed.

24

This is awesome! I love the Starquest cars. I've wanted one for so long, but they're a bit tough to find in good condition. Man, this thing has me drooling.

25
Mikie sorrell

Don't worry. I have another with an LS1 swap I'm finishing up!

26

I've always thought the Rwd Starion was a good platform for a swap and this one proves it. Great job!

27

Thanks man.

28

I wonder how well a Starion could do with other engine swaps. JZ motors seemed well suited to it since it basically looks like a MKIII supra, but I wonder what other motors would fit well. LS, 1UZ, maybe VQ? Also I dig the pretty much sleeper looks down to the stock wheels lol.

29

I'm building an LS starion as well. Just got it running actually. A whole lot more work to make it fit but it should be nice when done.

30

Is the engine bay pretty roomy with the LS fitted or is it like factory 300ZX TT engine bay level cramped? With a 1JZ it seems pretty roomy, but idk if I can say the same with like a V8.

31

Look me up on Instagram @mikiedriftsjunk or on Facebook. Tons of pictures there of the LS build.

32

Awesome clean factory look n pumped up on Toyota 1JZ Steriods with standard wheels.......a special build !

33

I am the original owner of a 1987 Mitsubishi Starion. It is red with black interior. Low mileage and she runs great. Im thinking of selling it. Any idea what they are going for now? It has been stored.

34

Most common color combo of the most common year. So, that hurts your value some, but the a lot of these cars are being parted and crushed and wasting away in the NE rust belt, so that helps. Values of a really clean well running car has been climbing lately. It all depends on mileage, modifications, and condition. Most importantly, what someone is willing to pay you for it.

35

Mikie, thanks for doing the starion community proud!

36

Awesome *_*

37

Stock brakes though..... really mikie? LOL...JK man... someone had to say it. I’m proud to see you and the car getting the recognition you deserve.

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