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Saturn Motorsports/Mavrik Ion
The search for respect: Will a turboed Ion win over the streets?
By ANDREW LUU
AutoWeek

In the sport compact world, Saturn has a reputation problem. Not that it's bad, just almost nonexistent-especially when it comes to the aftermarket scene. You don't have to tell the kids about Honda or Nissan; they already know. But Saturn lacks street cred.

On the NHRA sport compact circuit, the Saturn Motorsports team and aftermarket tuner (not to be confused with GM subsidiary Saturn), led by racer-turned-director Jim Epler, is on a mission to change that. It started last year. The team took home three victories with Lisa Kubo, the fastest female front-drive drag racer.

Still, Saturn is better known for laying the smack down on grocery carts than for turning heads. So when Epler decided to promote and ready for market a turbo kit for the Ion, he called upon James Chen, owner of Axis Tuning in Santa Fe Springs, California (see page 21). Chen is to the tuner crowd what Russell Simmons is to hip-hop.

Axis-prepared cars have won the Ultimate Street Car Challenge (a tuner test for the best balance of performance and streetability in a road car) twice in three years. The reigning USCC champion is Axis' Nissan 350Z. In other words, Chen has street cred.

When Chen wants to make cars that go fast, really fast, he turns to Teddy Hiraoka. If a suspension kit won't fit, Hiraoka's Mavrik Motorsports shop makes it fit. If a turbo or crankshaft doesn't exist, Hiraoka machines one. Appropriately, Hiraoka's motto is, "Where almost anything is possible."

Chen simply chose a set of Axis shoes and passed the Ion and turbo kit to Hiraoka. Hiraoka's task was to write a manual for the turbo, ensure the pieces fit, and above all, that they operate reliably since Saturn Motorsports backs this kit with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty.

"It is pretty straightforward," Hiraoka said. "The average person with mechanical knowledge should be able to put it on."

The turbo's 5 psi charges the 2.2-liter 140-hp Ecotec four-cylinder with about 100 extra horses. With that much power, we expected some serious lag low down in the rpm range, but there wasn't any.

FULL Article Here

 

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wow. impressive. Throw that on a non SC Cobalt SS
 

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Damn it GM, look at this stuff!! Kids like this dont want supid blowers.. .they want turbos!! MAKE IT TURBOCHARGED!!! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS!!

and people say Im not hard on GM.
 
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