Some of us might see a StarQuest once in a blue moon. Gary Hazel of Bethany Beach, Delaware, on the other hand, sees one every day. He’s owned ten of these iconic RWD Mitsubishis and, when he shared some pictures of his Fiji Blue ’89 SHP Conquest TSi with us, we knew we had to work up the interview.
What’s your real name? (What’s your screen name?)
My real name is Gary Hazel. Grazel3793 is pretty much all I have ever gone by on forums. From Bethany Beach, Delaware.
What do you do for a living and where do you live?
I have been in the car business for 5 years as a salesmen. I am taking the year off and working with my father to get a break from all the hours and stress of that job. May or may not go back, it’s tough out there.
What Mitsubishi(s) do you drive? How long have you had it/them?
I have two Mitsu/Chryslers; a 1989 SHP Fiji ‘quest and a 1987 Atlantic Blue roller project that I am debating on selling to a few other enthusiasts. I have had the Fiji for about a year now, it is the tenth one I have owned since I was 17, about ten years of collecting and enjoying being something different on the road. I had an 89 Baltic Blue Starion once and it’s supposed to be the rarest or one of the rarest ones ever built, approximately less then 20 ever built, even less now.
What’s your build philosophy/goals for your Mitsubishi? How do you use it?
Well my philosophy has always been make the car reliable before modding it. With a twenty year old car, it’s always best to learn the car yourself or ask for help rather then have a shop waste your money. It’s best to do the work yourself and learn the ins and outs of what you’re driving and pass the knowledge onto someone else. That should be everyone’s goal with these cars. The car I currently have now I bought pretty much already done. I had two beautiful – San Marino yellow and a white 89 Conquest and I sold them to purchase this Fiji car last year. I gave up two great stock cars for this car. My goal now is keeping the car in perfect running order and not abuse the car. It’s ok to have some fun but not neglect it. In the summer, I drive my car twice a week, in the winter once or twice a month depending on the weather. Iit could be a daily driver and be driven anywhere I believe.
What originally attracted you to the Mitsubishi? What keeps you going today?
Mostly the body lines and being a very affordable turbo rwd car. While most teenagers had Mustangs, Hondas, etc., I wanted to be different. I enjoy being asked what I am driving and getting attention.
Got a favorite story about your Mitsubishi?
The Tennessee trip when I picked up the car would be the most fun and favorite story. Driving it home the 17 hours in the pouring rain and making it home with no problems besides getting pulled over for a warning.
What are your goals for your Mitsubishi and how close are you to achieving them?
I would love to keep the car top notch and keep it running great and keep it reliable and have no problems driving it anywhere in the US. Right now, I would say it can do that without a worry. I would like to get the car painted soon, and do some routine maintenance on the car. Also, I would like to get my set of SHP wheels polished up.
What was your favorite modification and why?
Favorite modification is a tough question. I would have to say the AEM Tru Boost system just to name one. Turn up or lower the boost at the push of the button.
Your mod list:
Here is a complete mod list
Original 95k block with perfect compression, Super16G Evo III turbo, MAF Translator piggy back ECU tuned by Chris Vipers, 3″GM Mass Air Flow Sensor, Innovative wideband, Innovative XD-16 gauge, Walboro 255lph, Aeromotive adjustable fuel pressure regulator, stainless fuel lines, AEM Tru-Boost EVC and gauge, KDM 2 ¼ Hard Pipe Kit, KDM 3″ exhaust, KDM ported ceramic coated exhaust manifold, KDM aluminum racing radiator, KDM 4″ intercooler, KDM high flow cat, KDM black powedercoated OVCP with t/clamps, KDM silicone heater hoses, KDM silicone radiator hoses, Clearwater NJV head port/polish, Apex N1 Dunk muffler, custom CAI in fender well, ceramic/ heat coated turbo housing, OEM p/s gearbox, Stedebani short shifter, HKS turbo timer, TurboXS RFL blow off valve, GM 105 amp alternator, black powerdercoated valve cover, blue silicone vacuum hoses, ported/polished throttle body mixing bowl, polished fuel rail, Top Hat, MSD Blaster coil, new OEM fuse links and box, RC Engineering primary and secondary injector, Jolyrgr SS red clutch line, balance shaft eliminated (BSE kit), ACT Xtreme pressure plate, ACT clutch, NGK plugs and wires, Royal Purple tranny and rear differential fluid, Mobile One synthetic oil always.
ST front and rear sway bars, rolled fender lips, Ground Control coilovers, KYB GR2s all around, 350RR and 550FR Eibach springs, Mookeh front and rear camber plates, stainless steel red coated brake lines, Cusco front strut bar (painted fiji blue), MOMO steering wheel, 16X8 stock rims with pro painted matte black centers and polished lips, Road Racing Engineering extended rear wheel studs, front ARP extended wheel studs, 1/2 inch wheel spacers at all four by Fred Goeske, slotted rotors in front, poly sway bar bushings.
El Glow indiglow gauges, working air conditioning converted to R134A, original SHP 89 FIJI w/ sunroof, California car, Pioneer Premier CD player, Pioneer EQ, Planet Audio 1000w 5 channel amp, 10 JL Audio W3, Kenwood Exceleron 6.5 in rear, Pioneer components in front doors, black cloth Recaro style front seats, custom air divider, Hankook tires front and rear, 245/45/16 Hancook Ventus RS2s at all fours, trick voltage display on battery.
Dyno tuned for reliability to 200whp and 251tq at 17psi – turbo is efficient up to 20 psi – and had a max lean AFR of 11.9. This is tq. Also car can boost up to 22psi with fuel AFR still below 12.5. I was going to have it dynoed in the near future to see what it was making at these levels. My guess is around 245-255whp.
Tell us about something really exciting you’ve done with other Mitsubishi owners.
The Tennessee trip was a great time. Spenser (GTXTHUNDER) and another Mitsu owner and friend Jason V. went to pick up the Fiji from Memphis, Tennessee, off of another fellow member (Michael Knight). For us the trip was 17 hours one way and we did it in one weekend with a very fun stay over in Nashville, TN. It was a great time to say the least, and a very tiring time also since we drove straight down with no rest. Besides the fun we had that Saturday night, and driving 17 hours home in pouring rain it will be a time I wont forget. The Fiji drove perfect all the way home and with the AC on at 80 mph and didn’t skip a beat. We even got pulled over two hours from home for changing lanes and speeding on the Bay Bridge. The police officer was more concerned about what I was driving and gave me a warning, while Spencer (GTXTHUNDER) was driving my Charger got a ticket with a good fine. It was the longest ride and trip I have ever taken in a Starquest. Good times with good people.
Tell us about a time something broke and what it took to fix it.
Knock on wood, nothing has broken on this car. Uhh, I hope I don’t jinx myself, but I have had plenty of problems with previous Starquests.
What’s the best part about being a Mitsubishi owner? The most challenging?
The best part would be the car first, the handling, the power of boosting a turbo RWD car, and the people you meet and the people who you educate about the car. We are all unique in our own ways just like the cars. The most challenging is finding what you need – parts, companies that make aftermarket items, and people who enjoy and work on these cars. There’s just not much market for them and we are losing valuable people every year that build performance parts or stock parts. Also people who build quality parts. Mitsubishi has discontinued making a lot of parts for our cars and the only way we can get them is from part outs.
What excites you about the coming year? (Your Mitsu and your community)
This year is about over, I didn’t have much time to make any of the meets. I really have to get on the ball next year and make a couple so I can meet some of the great people of the community and their cars. Nothing like a good time with good people.
How often do you get together with other Mitsubishi owners in person?
Not very often, and not as much as I would like. I have not met many owners. I meet up with (GTXTHUNDER) once in awhile. We had about five show up for a weekend in Ocean City, Maryland, that was the most I have ever seen in one place.
Your thoughts on those who part out otherwise salvageable cars?
Personally I have never parted out a car that I have owned. They have been all been very straight bodied and reliable cars. I believe that parting a good rust free car shouldn’t happen, but it does happen and there’s nothing you can do. The less cars are out there the more it should raise the value in our cars eventually. We all need parts and they are getting more scarce, good parts are hard to come by and we all know that.
How do you feel building a Mitsubishi compares to building a Mitsubishi community?
I would imagine it would be difficult but well worth it in the end.
How has your Mitsubishi build benefited from your involvement in the community?
Over the years quite a bit. I have needed numerous parts, I have asked a thousand questions, I have bought plenty of performance parts. If it weren’t for the community, I wouldn’t own half the cars I have owned. If I ever need anything all I have to do is ask and I will have a answer usually pretty quick. The community is what keeps us on the road and keep the future Starquest owners on the road for years to come.
What’s next for your Mitsubishi?
Well I don’t think you can ever stop buying parts or working on a car. Next for me is going to be a fresh paint job the one now is several years old and starting to chip up in small areas. Window tint and maybe a bigger turbo here in the near future.
Who has helped you the most along the way with the car? Any mentors?
I have been helped a lot of the years, mostly on the StarquestClub site. I can mention their usernames – Mike C, Indiana, Shelby, Jainsworth – to name a few over the past 7 or 8 years. If it wasn’t for their advice and help I doubt it would still own a Starquest. It’s the people that help you along the way and the friends you make over the years that make it worth while owning. As far as helping me and driving a couple of hours to help would be GTXTHUNDER, Spencer, he has helped me a lot of the past couple years with parts, and manual labor to get a car running or to help keep my car on the road I cant thank him enough.
How have you paid this forward and mentored others?
I have given advice and ideas, sold some parts to members. I haven’t helped to much as far as working on others cars. I live in Delaware and there are hardly any around here. I may be the only one, but I would be willing to give a helping hand to anyone.
Is there a particular shop you’d like to recommend?
Pretty much the one in your yard or garage. It’s best to do it yourself and learn from it.
Do you spend time on any Mitsubishi sites? Which ones?
I spend a couple hours a week on StarquestClub.com and KDMPerformance.com. Both of these sites have great knowledge and great products for our rare cars.
Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Where can people find you online?
Yes. I am on Facebook, but no Twitter. You can find me on Facebook as Gary Hazel II.
The Starion/Conquest was a truly unique and special vehicle which still turns heads today. If you’d like to learn more about them, consider getting to know Gary and his friends over on StarQuestClub.com. Wouldn’t you like to own a piece of Mitsubishi history?