How to Turn a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX Into the Fast & Furious Hero Car

From “You never had me” to “It’s an amazing machine” in 22 minutes.

byMike Spinelli|
Builds photo

A hail of bullets, an exploding NOS bottle, and boom—that’s the end of Brian O’Conner’s 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse. It’s been 20 years since that pivotal scene with Johnny Tran in the first of the Fast and Furious movies, and, well, I can't figure out whether or not Dom is still owed a "10-second car."

Either way, in light of The Fast and The Furious platinum anniversary this year, the guys at Throtl challenged themselves to create a new F&F-style build, a modern-day take on the iconically modified D31A "Warning, Danger to Manifold!!!" Eclipse, to display at the SEMA show last month. As such, they bought and transformed a 1998 Eclipse GSX from a lightly tuned runner in decent condition into a period-correct Kawasaki Green monster with modern upgrades, documenting the entire process on their YouTube channel.

The second-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse was the high water mark for Diamond Star Motors' sports coupe, along with its sister ship the Eagle Talon (the Plymouth Laser had been cut from the roster by then). It's where engineers found a balance of light weight, sublime handling, and a robust power source in the 4G63T engine. The Eclipse GS-T was the car that inspired MotorTrend writer Scott Kileen, back in 1996, to pen the phrase, "squirting through traffic like a Teflon torpedo," which I remember fondly.

The base second-gen Eclipse came with a 140-horsepower, naturally aspirated 2.0-liter DOHC four, but the highly prized GS-T 2WD and GSX AWD versions got a 210 hp/214 lb-ft turbocharged version. For decades, modified AWD versions of these Diamond Star Motors (DSM) coupes have caused ripples in spacetime on drag strips all over the planet. (If you want to go down that particular rabbit hole, start by searching "Eagle Talon Red Demon.") 

It was the Throtl team's first time building an Eclipse, and their first SEMA build. Despite the base car being an AWD (I'm pretty sure the original was a GS), the final product looks faithful to O'Conner's LAPD-built cover car, even if they used modern parts and techniques. After the paint job, they applied the same livery as the car in the movie, but as everyone knows, it really came together when they installed the underglow. 

If you want the details, you can watch Throtl’s entire playlist of videos from the build, but if you’re pressed for time, you can get the entire recap in just over 22 minutes.

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