Writing for kuhol.net wouldn’t be such fun if I wasn’t jotting down an article about Elantras practically every fortnight. Apologies in advance, but here’s another one.
As you may have read previously, I have an Elantra that I have had souped up. It has been in jackstands for several months, and I have not worked on it, partly due to laziness, as I’ve mentioned. I was also figuring what to do with the suspension (which I’ll discuss later on). But then I noticed that there was a slalom race near my area this coming Sept. 11, and I decided to give myself a deadline to get the car running and slalom with it there.
I hope to get the necessary parts to put the car back on its wheels on time. Whatever the outcome, be sure to expect an update from my end. In the meantime, I’d like to share to you my rationale for continuing with this project. (Actually, more like to affirm my sanity.)
For a project car, why an Elantra?
Quite simply, because it was already there in the garage. Of course, if I was starting from scratch right now, I wouldn’t use an Elantra as a base. I’ll simply fab up my own car or start with an owner-type jeep chassis. Then I will not have the limitation of available parts, as I currently am facing right now.
Secondly, why not? The Elantra has racing pedigree. In the US rally scene, way before Ken Block and his Gymkhana series of viral videos, there was Libra Racing’s Elantra converted to 4-wheel drive and generating 363hp at 5800rpm. There were also the MP Turbo Elantras that won Philippine production touring car championships in 1998 and 1999 if I am not mistaken.
Third, it has the most robust gasoline engine to have come out from Korea in the 1990?s, the Beta. The Beta family of engines is loosely based on Mitsubishi’s 4G63, though, to my knowledge, no parts interchange. In Korea, they turbocharge the heck out of the two-liter variant, the G4GF. 300hp in street tune is not difficult for the Koreans, and a built block can go upwards of 600hp. Plus, the latest Veloster Rally Car still uses the Beta, pumping out 500hp from 4bar of boost!
The local Elantra has the 1.6 version of the engine. But some years ago, I plopped in the G4GF in mine, and it was a simple, bolt-off, bolt-on affair. No I’m not gunning for six hundred horses, which coincidentally is the same power output as the new Mclaren MP4-12C. More likely, I would at least aspire to a figure somewhere closer to another Mclaren, the M81 Mustang.
Why not the Elantra?
If you modify your car with a Visa card rather than a wrench, the Elantra may not be the project car for you. Searching for performance parts is arduous, and Internet shopping is the rule rather than the exception. You may get lucky and find some interesting stuff in the surplasan, but you’d be better off searching for leprechauns in Los Baños. Even sourcing certain spare parts is tough. Parts, or rather the lack thereof, is my supreme frustration with the Elantra.
Not many local tuners have worked on the Elantra. It’s quite unlike having, say, a Honda Civic that every mom-and-pop accessories shop would have something beyond air fresheners for it. Plus, where will you get advice for things such as, how to retard the ignition timing in an Elantra given the fact that it has distributor-less ignition? You’re on your own, buddy. Or at least, I am.
What are the goals for Project Elantra?
The car is aimed at competition in amateur motorsports events like autocross, slalom, hillclimb, and run-what-you-brung circuit racing. It should be comfortable enough to drive to Clark or to Batangas and back, so it still has to be streetable. But, it has to be competitive enough to place respectably in a race. I want to stand in podiums.
The immediate aim is to get the car back on its wheels. Its strut assemblies are off the car. Piecing the car on time depends on whether I’m able to get my old coilovers repaired, or if not, how quick I can get to Manila and buy some gas shocks. There are also other issues that need to be addressed, but I’ll write about them in the next update.
As of this writing I still have three weeks before the race. Will I make it? Or will I continue to see the car in its current sorry state? Abangan.