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Project Tarantola (SUPERSEDED)

How it all began, an old Fiat 124 spider… Then crazy started happening!


First EVO X in the 10 seconds on the world

Puerto Rico is the jewel of the Caribbean. Known for sand, surf, and rum, this US commonwealth is a vacation hot spot. But a lesser-known fact about Puerto Rico is that drag racing reigns supreme. Blasting the quarter-mile is still a favorite pastime for many Puerto Rican racing enthusiasts.

When Mitsubishi released the highly-anticipated Evolution X, Johnny Fargas was among the first in line to buy one. At the time, the Evo X was brand new and few performance parts were available. Undaunted, Fargas began his quest to take the Evo X to a higher level.

Breath Easier, Run Faster

The new 4B11T engine holds a great deal of promise. Fargas elected to build upon the unmodified long block and explore its capabilities. The first step was to increase the capacity of the turbo system. Starting with the stock manifold, Artec ported the factory manifold to increase the volume of exhaust gas going to the turbine. Then the manifold received a ceramic-metallic coating by Turbo Coatings. This process keeps exhaust gas heat inside the manifold and ensures that the exhaust gases have the greatest velocity on the way to the turbine inlet. The stock TD05H turbocharger comes from the factory capable of handling 360 horsepower, with a ball-bearing cartridge and a titanium-aluminum alloy turbine wheel. Starting at the turbocharger, Fargas looked to his friends at Yiyito Turbo for assistance. The responsive turbo sacrifices top-end power for a quick spool-up; therefore to reduce the backpressure in the turbine, Yiyito Turbo ported the turbine housing. The increased volume allows for increased exhaust gas flow. From the turbine housing, Ultimate Racing’s stainless-steel downpipe channels spent gases to the AMS stainless-steel exhaust. On the compressor side, fresh air is drawn through an AMS cold-air intake system. Once compressed, the air charge flows through an AMS hard pipe en route to the AMS front-mount intercooler. The charge pipe brings the chilled air to the throttle body and intake manifold.

Powering Into The Tens

To supply additional fuel for the increased volume of air coming into the engine, a 255 lph in-tank fuel pump and an Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator replaced the stock units. With the necessary volume of fuel available, the factory injectors received new duty-cycle instructions from the EcuTek-tuned factory ECU. A Hallman manual boost controller holds the boost steady at 32 psi as the remapped fuel and ignition curves help the 4B11T engine spin the drums of the Dynojet dynamometer. Through the AWD driveline, the Evo X generated 438 horsepower and a neck-snapping 453 lb-ft of torque.

Clamps And Rollers

Pushing the stock clutch to its limit, the decision was made to upgrade the driveline with an ACT heavy-duty clutch. Now able to efficiently turn the wheels, addressing traction issues became the next task. Adjustable BC coilovers featuring 8 kgf/mm springs in front and 6 kgf/mm springs in the rear now drop the CZ4A chassis. This more aggressive stance better prepared the Evo X for both the street and the strip. For the street, Advan RGII wheels in an 18×9-inch offering mounted with 265/35R18 Falken FK452 tires take their place in the wheel wells. When visiting the track, a lightweight set of Buddy Club P1 Racing SF 17×7-inch rollers equipped with Mickey Thompson 26×7-inch slicks ensure launch traction for quarter-mile sprints.

For more on this article and more grab a copy of DSport Magazine on newsstands and tuning shops nationwide!

Johnny Fargas WriterAug 1, 2008 – From

There’s a new trend in Puerto Rico; and no, it’s not downloading music for free from the Internet! Rather, it’s that people no longer want to depend on someone to extract every drop of power out of their car. Bragging rights no longer depend on high dyno numbers, fast e.t.’s in the quarter-mile, and winning shows. Now it’s best to do all of that on your own, and the more you can do yourself the better. Enthusiast tuners are the new trend.

With technology developing almost as fast as gas prices are rising, car enthusiasts have all they need to modify their car as if they owned their own shop. Flashing an ECU no longer needs the local guru. Now you can simply go to the Web, download the software, order some cables, and voila. And if you need help there are forums where all the other nerds go to discuss experiences and share knowledge.

The Web has revolutionized the world, and the automotive industry is no exception. Now someone in England can exchange fuel maps with someone from Puerto Rico within seconds, so if you’re smart enough to read and follow instructions you might be able to tune your own car.

Upgrades and bolt-ons are becoming easier and easier to install and with the knowledge readily available it’s no mystery or dark science to make 11 seconds. Now tuners need to be able to create 9-second cars or risk themselves being beat by some unknown private car owner. Of course, tuning is more complex than basic bolt-ons and there’ll always be a place in this world for the pros-like Gadiel, Norman, Pepo, Carlos, Creative, and Monroig, to name a few. However, by putting that extra know-how into the equation you’ll end up saving a lot of time and money.

Back in the day when old Corollas and RX-7s invaded the tracks, beating cars twice their size and double their cylinder numbers, tuners had to be much more inventive than the new generation. There were no wideband knock sensors or dynos readily available, but that’s not to say it’s easier today. Nowadays the end user wants to pass emissions, retain all the power accessories, drive the car to work everyday, and still drop 10s at the strip. The highway and byways in Puerto Rico are full of street-driven race cars and for that we have to thank both the old generation who laid the foundation and the new one for taking it to the next level.

The history of Puerto Rico’s automobile scene is full of part-time tuners who eventually turned pro, from tuning their own cars to tuning international stars like the Big Valley’s record-breaking STI, Eddie Procco’s Evo, or the unforgettable Honda Civic from Pepotech, “La Fea Mas Bella.” Some of these tuners started upgrading their own rides in their own home garage when tuning was more of an art than a science-mystic tricks performed by blessed people who knew things no one else did. Technology, however, has brought those tricks into the hands of people like myself.

What will be the next goal? Eight seconds on street tires or perhaps 10 seconds on a stock turbo? God only knows what we’ll achieve next. Puerto Ricans get bored easily and records don’t last long.-Johnny

Editor’s Note: Johnny Fargas is neck deep in the Puerto Rican tuning scene with his Web site,, 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.

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