The first word that comes to mind when you think about Puerto Rico is definitely not large. This fact comes encrypted into our genes as Puerto Ricans-this, coupled with our hot-blooded nature, creates a huge Napoleonic complex that reflects into everything we do.
Car enthusiasts in Puerto Rico put a lot of effort into trying to make the most out of the least amount of cylinders, which in itself is a direct reflection of our nature. As a matter of fact, if you think about compact cars breaking records it would be hard to do so without including Puerto Ricans.
The fastest rotary, street-driven 9- and 10-second STIs and Evos, like the Rata Racing Team's 9.4 WRX, the Georgie Performance 9.2 STI (old Big Valley's car), Anibal's BBQ 9.5 stock frame turbo Evo IX, Norman N.E.T.'s 9.9 almost full-weight stock frame turbo Evo IX, Fifa Racing Motorsports 10.7 Evo X, and my beloved 10.9 (first in the world to do 10) Evo X, all of which are driven daily ... well maybe not daily but sometimes!
Puerto Rico isn't only made up of rotaries, Subarus, and Evos by any means. We have a couple of cars, like the 9.5-second S2000 and 10-second Wine Red RSX, from the guys at Red Star Motoring, tuned and driven by Jose "Pepo" Besosa that look like regular, partially modified street cars.
We always talk about the mechanic, the jockey, and the tuner, but few people know that a lot of these cars do what they do because of custom work and fabrication. This is something that Puerto Rico should be better known for. People like Carlos "Creative," Carlos "BAF," Freddy "El Silencioso," Carlos "Turbo Coatings," Tirso, and Techno Tools are only a few of the names behind some of the aforementioned records. One of the best examples of creativity is Noel's Evo III, which was made in the confines of Engines Unlimited. It was born as a Mitsubishi Mirage and is now a full-blown Evo III from the engine down to the all-wheel-drive system. With a fastest time of 11.3 full weight, I'd say that it was done correctly.
Mitsubishi Mirages rule on the streets of Puerto Rico. They are our version of what a Honda Civic would be in California. It's hard to find a stock one anymore. The fastest ones can run 9 seconds but are now being replaced by Lancer Ralliarts. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that we like to make small cars run fast, and fast in Puerto Rico means less than 12 seconds.
Puerto Rico is not all about compact cars though; there are also the famous "sneaky" guys with 11-second Porsches, low 10-second Corvettes and Evos, 9-second Vipers, Supras, and 350Zs. This elite group prowls our highways at night on their high-dollar toys looking for blood. Their nemesis "The Night Warriors" are their natural counterparts, which ride on cars on the other side of the spectrum-9- and 10-seconds Mitsubishi Mirages and Mustangs, and 11-second Protgs and SRT4s is a true-life story of good and evil. In the end, both groups get along well but all that camaraderie ends once each group faces each other at the track. If you have a small or compact car and want to make it go fast, talk to a Puerto Rican and he or she will definitely point you in the right direction.Johnny
Editor's Note: Johnny Fargas is neck deep in the Puerto Rican tuning scene with his website, carrito.net, and his own Mitsubishi Evo, which was featured in Turbo a few issues back. His enthusiasm for turbos and tuning and the long-standing respect Turbo has had for Puerto Rico led us to create this Puerto Rico Connection column. Stay tuned as Johnny continues to tap the pulse of Puerto Rico, bringing the island's enthusiasm and innovation to our readers.