First off, you should know what I went through to get this car before anything else, so this is the fairly complete story of my trip.

I spotted this car on Ebay the second week of March of 2006. I’ve been searching for “Mitsubishi Mirage” the past few months prior to this on a daily basis.  I came home after a long and stressful day at work one night and this gem popped up, no bids, at $500. I couldn’t contain my happiness! Then I thought, do I really want another piece of diamond trash again after going clean? I couldn’t let my rare, salvaged Mitsubishi parts go to waste in the garage, so yes!. After a few emails back and forth between the seller, I found out that the car was located in central Pennsylvania and he had a local offer and was looking to get $1400 for the car. Out of any Mitsubishi strategist, I knew this was a little bit high, but still a fair price, considering it was going to drive me home 700 miles.

The seller put the car at a buy it now for $1400. I cringed. It was then lowered to $1200. I was checking my Yahoo mail and ebay through my cell phone at work at this point. Clueless buyers quickly upped my starting bid. In fear of losing the car quickly to someone else, I bought the car for $1200. At that moment, all of my stress rushed out of my body and I was suddenly more productive and talkative at work that day.



The “SE” model as it’s badged, (it’s labeled an RS on the window sticker and Carfax) included items I only wished for on LILEVO1. This car is a 1990, so it was still produced in Japan and shipped over. 91/92 Mirages were built at the DSM plant in Illinois and that’s no good for build quality sake.

5-speed sedan. Pretty rare to begin with, I wasn’t going to buy an automatic sedan no matter what. A blue Mirage popped up on Ebay with 16k original miles. It was an auto and went for $2500. Blah.  Man that thing was clean.

Two-tone paint. Sweet option, looks like a 1G DSM. The top half of the car is W09 Sophia White and the lower half of the car including the bumpers is H52, Kensington Grey metallic. There is also plastic gray moulding in between the white and gray around the car with a red plastic pinstripe in the center of the moulding.

Color mirrors. Unheard of. Usually found only on the Mirage Turbo (only 800 or so imported in 1989) or other high line Mirages. Not many floating around. Mirrors and bumpers are usually a dull, flat black on almost every Mirage/Colt I’ve seen.

3-spoke sport steering wheel. Again, found on the 1989 Turbo Mirage. This steering wheel is also adjustable along with tilt/telescope. It’s also smaller than the school bus size wheel in the base line Mirages.

Sport seats/Cloth interior. Seats and doors are full cloth. Headrests have holes in the center. I actually have interior door handles now and not screws sticking out like my hacked cloth interior attempt on LILEVO1 :) LILEVO1 came with all vinyl interior stock.

Tach cluster. Not found on base Mirages. This car also came stock with a clock. I didn’t have either until I swapped them in LILEVO1.

Remote latches.  Has both remote gas door and trunk releases.  Neato.


I quickly paid the $200 deposit via Paypal when I won the auction. No way was I taking a bus to Pennsylvania and I was too poor to fly so I booked an Amtrak. I haven’t been on one in 20 years (literally) and was looking forward to it. Total cost, $74!

03/21/06, 2pm

I arrive at the Amtrak station downtown Milwaukee, WI. I packed basic tools, CDs, some clothes, toothbrush, bottled water, cookies, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, some chocolates, Ipod, Valentine 1, IPass, laptop.
The train leaves Milwaukee at 3pm to Union Station in Chicago. We get there around 430pm. I wait a half hour and board the Superliner to Pittsburgh at 5pm. It was almost 6:30pm before we even left the station. The seats were quite comfortable and reclined quite a bit. I had both seats so I was able to lay sideways, in the prone position over both seats and anything else I wanted to do. I made a dinner reservation for 8pm in the dining car and ate a salad, roll, salmon, mashed potatoes and broccoli. It wasn’t too bad aside from the rocking of the train car back and forth.

9pm. We cross through Indiana and it becomes 10pm EST. The train stopped a few times, South Bend, Cleveland and some other places. I nap briefly for 15-20 minutes at a time, but am too distracted from other idiots on the train. One guy, that I originally thought was a girl, started to cut a whole garlic and put it into this plastic bin. WTF! The whole train car stunk. I saw some sprouts and noodles and who knows what else go in the container. He/she warmed it up, came back and started eating it like soup. Unreal. Then around 11pm this guys phone began to alarm. Of course he was passed out. After alarming for 20 rings, the guy/girl behind him kicked his seat and he woke out of his slumber and shut it off. Nevermind that it happened two more times in the next half hour. I brush my teeth and try to sleep around 1130pm before arriving in Pittsburgh at 4am.

03/22/06, 12am

I think I was able to sleep decently from 1am-530am when we arrived in Pittsburgh. I woke several times and was quite sore though. Since we left Chicago 1.5hours late, we got to PA at 530am. I sat around until the next train left at 7am to Lewistown PA. Central/northish PA. So 1130am rolls around and we finally make it to Lewistown. The seller meets me at the station which is an hour from his house and drives back in the Mirage.

03/22/06, 2pm

Still haven’t eaten since the Salmon dinner on the train last night. All I’ve been “eating” was Triscuits and bottled water. He gave me a box of CVS brand chocolate chip cookies. Those complimented the water and Triscuits very well. Transfer the title, get gas and I’m on my way 700 miles west on I80. Snow everywhere, wind, up and down mountains, my ears are popping. The Mirage is crusing at 4000 RPM at 75mph. Gotta love it. I got around 32mpg on the way home however. I bought another 6-pack of Ice Mountain water when I got gas at some point.

03/22/06, 5pm

170 miles or so and I’m out of PA. I try and hustle to the Norwalk exit because I know I *only* have 400 miles left to go before I’m at my house. I think I went another 200 miles or so before I was midway through Ohio. Nothing too exciting, I finally hit Indiana and it’s somewhere around 8:30pm. I’m making pretty good time, but I still haven’t eaten anything for 24 hours. I’ve been living on the water and my Triscuits. I push it to 85mph. (4300rpm) hehe.

03/22/06, 9:30pm

5 Miles to Middlebury Indiana. 160 miles to Chicago. If you know where Middlebury is, I’m sorry. Stereo cuts out. Uh oh. Cluster lights dim, headlights dim. Game over. Alternator is dead. I make it without the alternator off the freeway, wait behind a crackhead semi-truck paying a toll on the offramp and try to rev the car to keep it alive. The toll lady has no idea where any civilization is much less an Autozone. I find out there’s a gas station a block off the freeway. I pull in and the car dies. I obviously didn’t bring a spare alternator. My mind races, nothing is open. There isn’t anything within a 10 mile radius.


The Indian gas station clerk was quite nice, gave my a phone book, told me where a few places were around. That wasn’t good enough. I had to get home. I called Advance Auto. Guy by the name of Chad Nichols answers. They have one remanufactured alternator in stock. I throw Chad my crazy story and offer him $40 to bring me the alternator when he gets off work at 10pm. He thinks about it and calls a few friends. This Autozone was nearly 30 miles southwest of where I was. Chad calls back, he will buy the alternator with his own cash and bring it to me. Unbelievable. If anyone finds this guy tell him he saved my life.


Chad arrives around 10:30pm with the alternator. I had the old one out in about 10 minutes well before he arrived. I tossed him an issue of Import Racer with LILEVO1 in it and talked about snowboarding and life. I maxed out my ATM limit earlier in the day withdrawing $500 for the car. Luckily, and I mean luckily, I had a check. I wrote him a check and he was on his way. So was I. What a lifesaver.

03/22/06, 11:30pm

I’m on my way once again after a 2 hour delay. I bust through Chicago and finally get home to Sussex at 2am CST. So the trip essentially took 11-12 hours, non stop. I still hadn’t eaten at this point and finished my Triscuits long ago. Haven’t eaten a meal in well over a day. I passed out.

cookies water02

3/23/06, 12pm

I finally eat Cousins Subs. I swapped on my Diamond Star Specialties coilovers, Koni shocks, my old rims and tires and changed out the timing belt and crank seal. I had no idea when the timing belt was done last and didn’t want to chance it. Took a few hours. It was nice, and not so nice, to be back in the game.

I plan on taking a different course, at least for awhile, with this car and do things that I never really did with LILEVO1. I’ll be putting on my custom big brake kit (that has sat in the closet for two years) with Wilwood calipers. The kit consists of custom CNC’d black finished bracket calipers and GVR4/3000GT rotors. I’ll also replace all of the front suspension bushings, control arm bushings, etc with poly bushings and making the car handle and stop like it never knew it would. 32mpg will be nice.

 It’s nice having a non-hacked up, completely stock wiring and interior paneling car. OEM pedals, shifter base, master cylinder (and clutch lines that are bolted to the firewall) and manual transmission. It’s unbelievably nice having an OEM 5-speed brake pedal.  It is half the width of the automatic brake pedal, which is what LILEVO1 had.  Afterwhile I cut the brake pedal in half and was left with a metal brake pedal. Since the car was made in Japan, the brake master cylinder is on the passenger side with a long tube going across, under the dash, connecting the pedal to the master cylinder. Can’t really swap in a 5-speed pedal out unless the whole dash comes out.  So no more of that with this car.

LILEVO2 information as well as LILEVO1 information will be available in the frame to the left of the page.

After 8 years of owning LILEVO1, it has been through so much trial and error as well as dings and dents due to time. Now that I know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it, the end result will be a much cleaner and a much more professional looking product. This is something I couldn’t do by “turning back the time” with LILEVO1 as far as the factory stock aspect of the car. A/C and power steering will stay in and everything will be done with the utmost care. I can even fabricate the all-wheel-drive front crossmembers and engine mounts with the 1.5L engine that is in place right now. Not to say that I ever will convert it to.. or.. but, it.. yeah...

7/31/13 - The car now is all wheel drive and put down 750awhp/550tq. Crazy