Project cars are important works of art to their builders, they represent a creative canvas that they can use to express themselves. Just like an art project, a build can change directions often and will go through many phases before it’s done. Eric Englert’s canvas is a 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 that’s been through a host of engines and is now rocking a boosted LS power plant.
Eric started out in the appearance end of the car modification spectrum when he was in high school. Back then, he was all about having the right set of wheels, neon lights, and a thumping stereo. When Eric went to college, he purchased his first 3000GT VR4 and discovered the fun unlocking horsepower could provide. He added a boost controller to the car, a full exhaust, and lowering springs to make his spirited driving sessions and AWD launches more enjoyable. Eventually, Eric got married, had kids, and sold his 3000GT, however, when the opportunity arose to purchase a new one he did.
The 3000GT has been a creative outlet and giant Lego set for Eric. He’s learned to weld thanks to this project, and that’s helped him take the car to the next level. Eric has also learned the limits of several engines along the way. The stock Mitsubishi 6g74 connecting rods don’t like more than 500 ft/lb of torque, and Eric learned that the hard way after ejecting one through the oil pan and into the transfer case with enough force to separate it from the transmission.
After the 6g74 engine issues, Eric decided to do the first 4g63 engine swap into a 3000GT since the aftermarket was flush with parts for the proven engine. Eric drove the car everywhere, autocrossed it, and eventually found his way to the drag strip with the car where he went a 9.65 at 143 MPH. Eventually, the 3000GT’s transmission was getting pulled often for fresh clutch packs and drum changes, which wasn’t fun for Eric, and since he wanted to take the car even further he started looking at rear-wheel drive powerglide swaps.
While the car was down, Eric kicked around the idea of using an LS engine to power his 3000GT.
“This was a project that I really wasn’t qualified in any way, but I was motivated to make it happen. So hours of research on k-member designs, adjustable control arm designs, bump steer, and suspension geometry got the ball rolling. I started ordering chrome-moly tube, rod ends, and a lot of cut off wheels to get ready. I knew I wanted to keep stock suspension points in case I wanted to do any class racing, and wanted the stock interior to still fit as well,” Eric says.
Kicking off a major project like this on any car isn’t easy, especially when nobody has ever done it before. Eric took one final look at his plans and started the next chapter in his build.
“Eventually, I just held my breath and cut a big hole in my firewall. Then I made an even bigger hole when I decided to set the engine back closer to what a fox body would have for engine placement. I set the drivetrain on blocks and built around it. My DIY chrome-moly k-member bolts to the stock 3000GT subframe points, and has adjustable control arms that connect to mustang drop spindles, which connect to aftermarket coil-overs for a 3000GT. I built a new tunnel and was able to keep the stock interior components but I had to do some engineering for the Kirkey seats to fit,” Eric states.
Eric built his 3000GT to be a true driver and it sees plenty of miles on the open road. The 3000GT has been on Rocky Mountain Race Week three times now and that event has always been a family affair for Eric.
“My first Rocky Mountain Race Week was in 2019, then we did both in 2020. My two boys did the first two with me and my father the last one. That’s what kicked off our YouTube channel FamilyMan Racing. I wanted to chronicle the trip for me and my boys in 2019, so figured YouTube was as good a place as any to store our memories. Other people seemed to like it too and we’ve been keeping up with various builds and breakage, yes, I’m still breaking stuff. Our plan is to do Rocky Mountain Race Week again with my wife this time as my co-pilot and my oldest son wants to participate with his own 3000GT that we recently 4G swapped,” Eric states.
Eric has run several 5.3-liter stock bottom-end LS engines in his 3000GT over the years. Most were retired after they started to show low oil pressure readings. The last 5.3 lost a rod and piston, but it was a workhorse of an engine before it died on the horsepower battlefield. Eric plans on moving to an aluminum block engine for his next build with forged internals.
“I really need to thank my wife and kids. My wife edits our videos plus she has been very understanding and supportive of this silly hobby, even when I change my setups regularly, and make a mess in the garage with cutting up Legos before welding pieces back in the car. I also need to thank my brothers from other mothers in the racing world who have always encouraged and supported what I do,” Eric says.
If you want to follow Eric’s turbo LS adventures and see what he does with the 3000GT make sure you check out his YouTube page right here. You’ll see what he’s building and how much the family has doing race car stuff together, which is very important when it comes to keeping the sport going.