Sometimes one can get so wrapped up in the present that the past fades a bit too far off the radarscope. Only in retrospect can one appreciate the success of past efforts and see how far such successes have moved him. Likewise, in looking back at 15 years of Turbo, we can appreciate how far we have come, how far technology has driven the performance industry and how far we still have to go.
Turbo hit the newsstand in June 1985 (as a July issue), but the creation of the book can be traced back to the Arizona desert. The founder of Turbo, Kipp Kington, was cruising from Arizona to Palm Springs with Larry Moore, his partner in another publishing venture-SWAT magazine.
Kipp was piloting his 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo and as the miles rolled by, the two began discussing the power potential of turbos, the performance aftermarket and whether anyone would care to read about modified modern cars with turbos and electronic fuel injection. Somewhere in the California desert, this idle chit-chat progressed into a wave of "what- if" questions. By Palm Springs, the basic framework of what would become Turbo & High-Tech Performance magazine was poised to become reality.
Where were you in 1985? To help fire the synapses in your memory, here are a few tidbits: Ronald Reagan was president, Danny Sullivan pulled the "spin and win" in the Indy 500, Lincoln Savings was a financial powerhouse based on the popular high-yield bond hysteria, "Out of Africa" was the year's best movie, and "Miami Vice" was the show that defined style on TV.
The hot cars were the Nissan Z, Buick Turbo Regal, Merkur XR4Ti, Dodge 2.2-liter Turbo and both Mustang SVOs and GTs. The first issue, entitled Turbo with the subhead "The Magazine of Hi-Tech Performance," featured a Maseratti BiTurbo on the cover-fortunately, the magazine fared much better than the hot-blooded Italian sports car. Kipp's Z became the mag's first project car. Other highlights of the first year included an 1100-hp, Banks-turbocharged, street-fighting Firebird built for an enthusiast in South Africa, big-time intercooler tech and motorsports from IMSA and Bonneville.
The timing of the intercooled Buick Turbo Regals could not have been better. The 1986 Buicks, led by the Grand National, became the most powerful domestic offering on the market-its 235 hp was more than the venerable Corvette, hence the Buick slogan, "We Brake For 'Vettes." The May '86 issue was our first venture in cover celebrities as the "Miami Vice" California Daytona Spyder was on the cover. The September issue featured our first hopped-up Honda: a nitrous-enhanced, fuel-injected CRX.
In 1987, Turbo magazine introduced the world to turbocharged Hondas-a Cartech-modified CRX Si that sported a Rotomaster RM90 turbo. The turbocharged and intercooled Honda ran a 5.4-second, 0 to 60, compared to stock figures of high 8s.
That year also featured a 13.20-second, Dinan-turbocharged BMW 2002, a two-part series on "The First 100 Years Of Forced Induction," an interview with famed muscle builder Carroll Shelby, who feared multiple-valve engines would replace the turbo, and a gang load of tech. This was an exciting time as tuners began to do more than just bolt-on a turbo and go; they began to tinker with wheel trims and housing sizes.
The March 1988 issue featured the Buick GNX on the cover and asked, "The Last American Musclecar?" The price of a Porsche 944 Turbo S was $47,432. Ouch. In 1988, Cartech introduced the first complete turbo kit for a 5.0-liter Mustang. With a Rotomaster H3 providing pressure, the Ponycar spun the wheels down the track, stopping the clock in 13 seconds.
In 1989, Kipp took the reins of a new Mustang GT and another project was born. Running a hopeless 16.10, the AOD automatic-equipped convertible made it seem that not even turbos could help us hit our mark-12-second street performance. This was also a year of note for Diamond Star fans-the all-wheel-drive Eclipse/Talon/Laser debuted. Constants on the tracks in the early years were Buicks, Bonneville, boost, intercoolers and Indy.
As the '90s kicked off, there were more and more factory turbocharged offerings coming to market and the future looked bright for Turbo. The leader of the pack was the new-for-'90 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo, a 300-hp supercar. Turbocharged Mustangs became high fashion and electronic fuel injection started its move to the forefront of the scene.
July 8, 1990 is a date to remember. It signaled the birth of import drag racing as Frank Choi put on the first Battle of the Imports race in Palmdale, Calif. In 1991, Kenny Duttweiler's Buick was running 9.07 at 150-plus with a 900-hp, DFI-controlled engine. In 1992, the Stillen GTZ 300ZX hit the streets with 12.7-second performance and the second turbo supercar was introduced-the 1993 Mazda RX-7 FD. Turbo was an 80-page bimonthly.
The OE front heated up with the introduction of the fourth-generation Camaro, Dodge Viper and Toyota Supra Twin Turbo in 1993. During this time, the Buick vs. Mustang grudge races reached fever pitch and Turbo jumped to 100 pages per issue. In 1994, the third-gen Diamond Star and all-new Mustang hit the streets. In the Mustang camp, Gene Deputy was layin' down the law in his twin-turbo '89 GT from the Lone Star State. His best effort at that time was an 8.13 at 170 mph.
During 1995, turbo-charged Hondas began to steal the limelight. In fact, the "Honda Power Section" was created for the November 1995 issue and has been a regular part of Turbo magazine ever since. At this time, the top-dog turbo cars were running mid- to high-12s-we've come a long way, baby. In the Buick camp, 8-second examples were the norm. Turbo peaked in the celebs department with Tim Allen and Jay Leno appearing on Turbo covers in '95.
Nineteen ninety-six was a banner year for Turbo magazine. Page count jumped to 150, the book became a monthly publication and, not so surprisingly, Hondas really started moving to the forefront. We printed our first world's quickest Honda feature and first Top Honda feature. The Top Hondas, dubbed "The Magnificent Seven" had Albert Medrano at the top of the food chain with an 11.60 at 119 mph. David Shih's Silver Bullet Honda got its name from the feature in the August issue and at that time, Dave had taken the record, running an 11.33.
In the next issue, Dave became the first Honda racer in the 10s, blasting a 10.87 at 136 mph. Stephan Papadakis was running an 11.12 in his black '91 Civic which would later be "sacrificed" for the first tube-frame Honda. Gary Kubo of Kubo Racing fame had his Honda running at 11.71 seconds with a full interior.
On the domestic side, Buicks were still popular and we featured a 5.0-liter Mustang that ran 10.50 seconds in supercharged street trim and another that clicked off a 10.93 with a bolt-on, 49-state-legal Turbo Technology single-turbo kit. In '96, Adam Saruwatari hit the scene in a stock-looking, Green Mica-colored RX-7 and posted an 11.66.
In 1997, the import scene continued its evolution and Turbo introduced its readership to the potent drag race cars of Puerto Rico. Top Fuel, a company known today for its high-strung Hondas, made its debut in Turbo on the cover of the February '97 issue with an 8.67-second 300ZX. Ray Lochhead and his 10.54-second, first-gen RX-7 were featured in the April '97 issue.
The June issue had one of our most famous covers; it was dubbed the "flaming turbo issue." In July, Abel Ibarra's R-100 (8.66 @ 153) graced the cover while the August cover sported Adam Saruwatari's A&L Racing RX-7 (10.0 @ 135 mph) Sean Glazar hit the scene, ousting top dog David Buschur by running an 11.006 to Dave's 11.05 to take the quickest Diamond Star title. Vinny Ten debuted his Supra, a plain blue, stock-looking JZA80 that opened eyes with a 10.54 second blast in a Street Eliminator class race. The November cover featured Viet Lam's 10.76-second Civic and Sakura which had broken the 8-second barrier, running a 7.97 at 168 mph.
In early 1998, all-motor Hondas were still searching for 12-second e.t.s while Tony Fuchs became the quickest Honda, running a 10.61 at the NHRA Winter Nationals during exhibition passes. He followed that up with a sweeping 10-second victory at the Battle of the Imports posting 10.85, 10.86, 10.86 and 10.97 e.t.s. By mid '98, Jeremy Lookofsky had the all-motor crown at 12.14 and Jojo Callos owned the World's Quickest Honda title with a 10.46 and his car was, at that time, still street driven. One word: Wow. The issue year went out with a bang with Jason Lu's seductive and speedy 11.91-second Eclipse GS-T on the cover of our 200-page December edition. This issue had a special section entitled "Import Fighter" which foretold of future Big 3 involvement in the scene.
The year of the nines, 1999, proved to be just that. More importantly, the import drag race scene as a whole moved toward the mainstream with an exponential increase of events that saw organizers run races on a nationwide basis. Stephan Papadakis was first to break into the nines, running 9.90 and 9.89 in his Nuformz-built tube-frame Honda on its maiden voyage to the track. Team Bergenholtz later proved single-digits could be had with a unibody. We started our X-Files series that focuses on in-progress drag race projects and brings you the inspiration behind innovations such as front-drive wheelie bars. Battle went national in '99 and there were a whopping 160-plus import events across the country. Closer to home, Turbo magazine founder Kipp Kington cashed in his chips and sold Illustrated Graphic Communications, the parent publishing company of Turbo, Import Tuner and Today's SUV, to McMullen Argus Publishing. The editorial staff has remained mostly intact and we are looking forward to bringing you the best mixture of tech, race coverage, imports, domestics and all things high tech and high performance.
So how will the new millennium treat Turbo magazine? We are often asked where do we see the import market going. While we have no crystal ball, we are aware of the desires of enthusiasts and the intentions of the parts manufacturers-both are still in high gear. Of course, we have little control over the OEMs; the scene needs sporty performance cars to sustain the momentum created by the Honda badge. Luckily, the OEMs have responded with affordable, high-reving, four-cylinder sports cars. With cars such as the Civic Si, S2000, Toyota Celica GTS, MR2 Spyder, and Lexus IS 300 on the road, redesigns of the Civic and Integra as well as offerings from Nissan, Subaru and other makers in the works, the future looks bright. Turbo will be on the leading edge of the high-performance scene.
|TOP HONDAS ||1996 |
|Albert Medrano ||11.60 @ 119 mph |
|Gary Kubo ||11.71 @ 122 mph |
|Darin Ishitani ||11.81 @ 116 mph |
|David Shih ||11.84 @ 126 mph |
|Romeo "Junior" Aspper ||11.89 @ 116 mph |
|Tony Fuchs ||12.06 @ 115 mph |
|Myles Bautista ||12.21 @ 118 mph |
|Jojo Callos ||10.46 @ 128 mph |
|Viet Lam ||10.50 @ 138 mph |
|Charles Madrid ||10.53 @ 131 mph |
|Tony Fuchs ||10.61 @ 133 mph |
|Ed Bergenholtz ||10.62 @ 138 mph |
|Stephan Papadakis ||10.64 @ 136 mph |
|Top Fuel ||10.68 @ 124 mph |
|Travis T ||10.82 @ 133 mph |
|Dave Shih ||10.87 @ 137 mph |
|Ken Miyoshi ||10.92 @ 130 mph |
|Acme CRX ||10.93 @ 131 mph |
|Lanny Higa ||10.98 @ 132 mph |
|Stephan Papadakis ||9.21 @ 158 mph |
|Kenny Tran ||9.68 @ 144 mph |
|Ed Bergenholtz ||9.70 @ 148 mph |
|Lisa Kubo ||9.88 @ 147 mph |
|John Brown ||9.92 @ 145 mph |
|Top Fuel (Sendai, Japan) ||9.95 @ 144 mph |
|Ryuhei Kida ||9.97 @ 149 mph |
|Chris Rado ||10.00 @ 132 mph |
|Paul Ulmholtz ||10.05 @ 144 mph |
|Jeff Tirado ||10.12 @ 140 mph |
|1996 ||Albert Medrano ||11.60 |
|Dave Shih ||11.33 |
|Dave Shih ||10.87 |
|1998 ||Tony Fuchs ||10.61 |
|Jojo Callos ||10.46 |
|1999 ||UNIBODY TUBE FRAME |
|STEPHAN PAPADAKIS* ||9.90/9.89 |
|ED BERGENHOLTZ ||10.36 |
|ED BERGENHOLTZ ||9.78 |
|STEPHAN PAPADAKIS ||9.71 |
|ED BERGENHOLTZ ||9.70 |
|STEPHAN PAPADAKIS ||9.21 |
|KENNY TRAN ||9.68 |
|2000 ||STEPHAN PAPADAKIS ||9.05 |