On the Trek 2 Texas, the road trip I talked about in my last column, Sean Morris of MotoRex and I were talking about Skylines and other dream cars. In the course of our conversation we were interrupted by Sean's cell phone. The call had to do with some of the projects MotoRex was working on. The company is expanding; becoming more than a Skyline superstore. The projects in question include a CARB legal SR20DET engine swap into a 240SX and the importation of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IVs, Vs and VIs.
The 240SX swap is one we have been highlighting for years in Turbo magazine. It transforms an American car into a Japanese car (i.e. 240SX to Silvia). Our July 1998 issue comes to mind. It featured a 240 that was converted to Silvia specs from the motor to the body and beyond. Its left-hand drive configuration was the only clue to its red, white and blue heritage. MotoRex has a 1992 240SX test mule that MotoRex plans to use for the appropriate CARB testing. Sean said the popularity of the swap, the falling cost of 240s, the high number of 240s and the potential popularity of drifting are all working in favor of the project. MotoRex is currently importing SR20DETs and entire Silvia front clips for use in show, race and extreme street vehicles. The SR20 (turbo and non-turbo) is a worldwide hit. Internally solid, willing to boost and durable, the SR20 is a common swap well beyond our shores. While scanning through XO Autorsport, a performance enthusiast magazine from Thailand, I found a section of engine swaps and the SR20 was a popular pick. They had E-30 and E-36 BMWs with SR20s, as well as Mitsubishi pickups, Mitsu Lancer (non-Evo), Honda Accords and Hyundais, just to name a few. I am personally seriously considering a Datsun Roadster with SR20DET power.
The other big news at MotoRex is the possible importation of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions. Sean is in the final stages of researching the pros and cons and the pros look to be doing pretty well. Evo IVs, Vs and VIs are under consideration because they are fitted with airbags, which helps them pass EPA/DOT testing. The older models are also cheaper which will mean a more affordable product, especially compared to the Skyline. It should be noted that Mitsubishi's decision for or against importing the Evo VII will not impact MotoRex's plan.
On the Skyline front things are going well. MotoRex just took possession of a number of new cars, including a V-Spec.
All in all things are looking up when it comes to import performance. We have the Subaru WRX and Acura RSX on the road. Our Nissan Palooza article (pg. 80) illustrates Nissan has some interesting offerings in the pipeline. The Civic Si hatchback is coming. But will it be enough to overshadow the shortcomings of the new Civic? The new Z and Mazda RX-8 are on the horizon. The pricing of this duo will determine how popular they will be with performance enthusiasts. The future is indeed bright, until next month, stay tuned.