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I Now Own A Base Model EVO

For the price of a new WalMart SuperStart battery.

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Image: ME
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Its a one owner, 158k 2001 Mirage DE Coupe 1.5 5-speed. Purchased new in Waukesha Wi in 2001, the original owner drove it up until about a year ago when it stopped running well, wouldn’t pass emissions, and the doors started falling off. Literally. Then the battery died so it sat in a parking garage until the property she lives at said it had to go. Non-running non-registered cars is a no-no, especially when there is a waiting list for garage spaces.
A little birdie told me she was having problems finding someone to take it, so I said “if I can get it running, I’ll take it off your hands”.

All it took was a battery. $56 from WalMart. Drove it home Friday. And... it ran fine. No CEL.

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Its in decent shape for the area and age, the interior is a bit dirty but all there and 90% original, save for the aftermarket TAPE DECK. I mean, JUST LOOK AT THIS TRUNK CLEANLINESS!

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Image: ME

And other than some deferred maintenance (like the original timing belt at 158k!) it just needs some rear brake adjustment, a noisy exhaust welded up (hopefully), a couple tie rods... oh and tires. Luck would have it that on Saturday morning someone on a local Facebook group listed some tires and wheels at a rummage. FOR $40! So I snagged ‘em up.

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Image: ME
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They’re Michelin Defenders, just about as old as what’s on the car but better, and have some life left in them. Less cracking, less hard square cheap rubber that sat for a year... I’d gladly take used Michelins over used DOUGLAS tires, wouldn’t you? And for $40, they might be a LITTLE taller and wider than stock, and the wheels might need a LITTLE clearancing to fit the hubs (or vice versa), but they were FORTY BUCKS.

I plan to get everything done in time, but the ability to get in and out of the car has to be Job #1. So that means addressing the issue with the door hinges.

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It LOOKS like someone put hinges on it, maybe, as they are all un-painted and yet the bolt heads are. Well, those that are original. BUT, since no one lubed them, and they are heavy coupe doors, they froze and decided to flex the metal on the doors when opened. Just the lower hinges, mind you, but they tore into the doors on both sides and the doors drop 4-5 inches when opening. So not only do the doors have damage, the door frames, weatherstrips, and strikers all have marks and tears. Oh, and the driver’s fender looks like this:

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The driver’s door is the worst off, so naturally I started by taking the passenger side off to repair it first, to see if I can cobble it back together.

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Side marker lamp out, fender unbolted (from the headlight WTF?) and off, door onto the bench and... someone tacked some washers onto the door. Or maybe those are factory? They’re not the same size, not present on the driver’s door, and someone rammed the wrong size bolt into the upper hole, and the lower one was loose and pulled the threads out. GREAT.

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Image: ME

So I cleaned up the hole and what came out of it, tacked it in with some generous boogers (it doesn’t need to be pretty) then welded the whole thing up, sorta, and painted it so no one will know. Well, except you.

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Illustration for article titled I Now Own A Base Model EVO
Image: ME
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Image: ME
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Image: ME

Hackjob notwithstanding, if it holds it holds. If not, well, I guess I’m going junkyard shopping. Before I decided to take the car I made sure I could still get parts for it. They’re out there....

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So I just need to tap those holes, or drill them out and use longer bolts with a nut on the back. Again, no one is gonna know except you, so shhh.

Then I can do the other door, then the timing belt... then maybe bring it to work, put it up on a rack, see what else I missed by barely looking underneath it....

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Then tie rods, tires, a good cleaning... and oh yeah. It needs a hood and clearer headlights.

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Image: ME

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