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The Homegrown Hero

Human nature is such that we inevitably get carried away when we find something which we truly love. That special thing could be an innocent hobby, like stamp collecting which soon turns into a massive collection that occupies a whole room. It could all start with a kid picking up a racket and one day becoming a world tennis champion or a person who one day decides to act on his urge to kill and ends up going on a killing spree which would make him one of the most infamous people to ever walk the earth. Ok, that last example wasn’t a very pleasant one. Moving on.

Human nature is also such that we tend to chase after grander and more expensive things and forget about the simpler things in life, like when you leave your old Kapok guitar to collect dust in the corner of your room while you happily strum away on your shiny, new Ibanez. We see the same thing happening in the tuning car scene as well. These days just about everyone is caught up with the Impreza, the 350Z and the legendary AE86. No one seems to care about the humble Wira anymore, a car which introduced Malaysians to the Mitsubishi turbocharged power.

Sudin’s Wira (the Wira you see here) is what the tuning and modification scene should be all about; taking a simple, run-of-the-mill family saloon and turning it into a fire breathing monster which would threaten to swallow your children whole. And at the same time, give the car a demure appearance so that no one would have an iota of what the car’s true potential is.

We spotted this Wira parked in the pits at the Sepang International Circuit during the first round of the Sepang Drag Battle. The car didn’t look like much from afar, but the 17 inch Black Racing wheels, Evo 3 bodykit and fat intercooler hinted to us what lurked under the bonnet.

Under the vented hood lay a pristine 4G63 from a junked Evo 3. This engine may be old but the 4G63’s reputation of being able make big power reliably has made it a favourite and coveted engine amongst Proton and Mitsubishi enthusiasts. Sudin, the owner of this Wira, claims that this engine is capable of 536hp with 2 bar of boost. That’s a lot of power and I’m fairly sure that this humble Wira would embarrass more expensive cars like the Evo and Impreza.

The engine was fully rebuilt with 87mm forged pistons from JE, Manley conrods, King bearings and ARP head studs and crank bolts. The cylinder head was also given due attention with Tomei camshafts, oversized valves from BC and JUN valve springs. Arospeed adjustable camshaft pulleys were also fitted for easy tuning and a Power Enterprise reinforced timing belt keeps the whole engine running in harmony. With the block and the head sorted out, the rest of the power adding parts could be thrown into the mix.

First, a sizable Garrett GT3540 turbocharger was chosen to handle the task of forcing air into the engine. The turbo is bolted to a Tonnka exhaust manifold and an intercooler from an Evo 6 takes care of keeping the charged air nice and cool. Excess boost is vented out via a Turbosmart 45mm wastegate and a TiAL blow off valve relieves compressor surge.

The engine’s mouth is a Super 90 throttle body which is bolted to a high flow, high capacity Venom intake manifold. A 3 bar MAP sensor replaces the MAF system and fuel is supplied by SARD 1000cc injectors, a custom hi flow fuel rail and a Tomei fuel regulator while spark is taken care of by MSD spark plug cables. Cooling duties are now handled by a custom aluminium radiator with Samco radiator hoses. An engine with this much hardware needs a pretty fancy ECU to run it well so a Haltech E6K was chosen as the brains of this 500-plus hp operation.

For a car to be able to put down 500hp to the ground effectively, the transmission has to be quite a fancy piece of kit. Sudin says his gearbox has been ‘rojaked’ with a mish mash of selected parts, including a full lock LSD and a twin plate clutch from OS Giken. I see a lot of smoke and burnt rubber in this car’s future.

A set of TEIN Type HA adjustable coilovers replace the standard springs and shocks and tying the front struts together is a Rigid front strut bar. The standard brakes would’ve wilted under the force of 500bhp so twin-pot calipers and discs from the Evo3 were bolted to the Wira’s hubs.

One can almost always tell from a car’s set of wheels whether the car owner has good taste, and Sudin’s taste is quite impeccable as he’s chosen a set Black Racing Pro N1 wheels which are wrapped in sticky Toyo R888 tyres in the front and slightly less sticky Dunlops in the rear which measure 225/45R17 in size.

The Wira’s interior receives a simple and effective makeover with the two TOmmi Makinen Recaro seats now taking centrestage in the cockpit. The Momo steering wheel from an Evo 6 also finds its way into the Wira and a Ralliart gear knob hints at the car’s sporting intentions. As is expected, a set of Defi Blue Racer gauges is fitted on the Evo 3 dashboard along with a Defi tachometer which sits right in front of the stock tach. Finally, Sudin’s Wira is transformed with Evo 3 panels, front bumper and spoiler.

Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and appreciate the simpler things in life. It reminds you of where you come from. As much as we love to bash on Protons and their build quality, we should never forget that the Wira is the car a lot of car enthusiasts cut their tuning and modification teeth on before upgrading to bigger and better cars, and it’s for this reason that the humble Proton Wira will always hold a special place in my heart.

Car: Proton Wira
Engine: 4G63 2-litre, 4-cylinder, DOHC turbocharged
Engine modifications: 87mm JE Pistons, Manley conrods, King bearings, ARP headstuds, BC oversized valves, full engine balancing, Arospeed adjustable cam pulleys, Tomei 280º camshafts, Power Enterprise timing belt, SARD fuel pump, JUN valve springs, 3 bar MAP sensor, custom VENOM intake, Garrett GT3540 turbo, Turbosmart 45mm wastegate, TiAL blow off valve, Evo 6 intercooler Tonnka exhaust manifold, Super 90 throttle body, SARD 1000cc injectors, custom fuel rail, Tomei fuel regulator, MSD plug cables, Samco radiator hoses, custom radiator, Samco vacuum hoses, custom oil cap
Transmission: “Rojak” gearbox, full lock LSD, OS Giken twin plate clutch
Suspension/Chassis: TEIN Type HA adjustable coilovers. Rigid front strut bar
Brakes: Evo 3 calipers and discs
Wheels & Tyres: 17 inch Black Racing Pro N1 wheels, 225/45R17 Toyo Proxes R888 tyres (front), 225/45R17 Dunlop tyres (rear)
Electronics: Haltech E6K ECU, Defi Blue Racer gauges (RPM, boost, water temp, oil pressure, oil temp)
Interior: Evo 6 Momo steering wheel, Tommi Makinen edition Recaro seats, Ralliart gearknob
Exterior: Full Mitsubishi Evo 3 bodykit

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