If you missed Part 1, here’s the recap: In June 2016, we acquired a Sunbeam Silver Iridium 1991 Mitsubishi Galant GTI from its second owner. Our initial goal was to convert it into a VR-4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) rally car replica, finished in RalliArt colors with our company and sponsors’ insignias.
Since our project car was in good running condition, we did a rolling restoration. We had the front hub bearings replaced, had the alternator refurbished, the dark window tint removed, and worked on minor cosmetic and mechanical restorations ourselves. We then drove it a lot and drove it hard!
We drove to Pampanga in August 2016 to participate in the 6G Elite PH Fun Run; and to Tarlac in September to participate in the Mitsubishi 4×4 Camp where 2-time Paris-Dakar Rally Champion and Mitsubishi Rally Driver Hiroshi Masuoka affixed his signature on the driver’s side sun visor. In short, we had a lot of fun with our GTI!
When we approached George Blaylock, the big boss of Diamond Motors Corporation, to ask for some sponsorship for our project car, our plans changed. After he saw the original documentation that came with it, Mr. Blaylock insisted that our GTI should be restored as close to original as possible. He then offered to buy it and add it to his personal Mitsubishi collection. We hesitated but later agreed because we knew that it was going to a good home.
At Diamond Motors Corporation
On April 26, 2017, we dropped off our project car at the Diamond Motors Corporation Service Center in Marikina. It was thoroughly inspected, a checklist was accomplished, and it was properly documented and received for servicing. After it was received by the Service Adviser and we signed on the documents, “our” GTI officially became Mr. Blaylock’s GTI.
Disassembly and Prep Work
The following day, its disassembly process began under the supervision of Rod Punzalan. When we arrived after lunch break to take photos, the initial disassembly process had already started.
On May 16, 2017, we visited Diamond Motors Service to find that the mechanics had already removed the GTI’s major components like the drivetrain, interior, and suspension. Stripped down to its body shell, they were happy to report that they found almost no rust around the car.
Paint and Reassembly
By July 2017, the paint and body shop technicians had sanded down the GTI down to its original factory-applied base paint and applied a fresh coat of Sunbeam Silver Iridium finish (Paint Code: SSI) top coat and several layers of clear coat for added luster. In August, they begun the re-installation of the underchassis components.
Rod Punzalan and his team were very pleased with the condition of the GTI to begin with. They did very little bodywork – just to remove the little dings and dents – and they did not need to scrape the paint to bare metal. They were able to preserve the car’s factory-applied original primer and base coat so the factory-applied rust protection is still intact. They just prepared the surfaces and sprayed several new coats of SSI silver and protective layers of clear coat.Log on again next week as we take a closer look at the newly restored and fully assembled 1991 Mitsubishi Galant GTI. Don’t miss it!