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Apollo - 1996 SL2 Red Line :D

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  • Apollo - 1996 SL2 Red Line :D

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    1996 Saturn SL2 Red Line "Apollo"
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    Goal: Take Matt Shoop's previous project car, make the mechanical repairs necessary to bring it back to its former glory, then make minor improvements to keep it a fun, reliable daily driver, with the occasional autocross thrown in.

    Start Date: April 2006

    Planned End Date: ongoing




    Q&A thread here

    The starting point
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    This project is unusual in that the vast majority of the work has already been done by the previous owner. :lol:

    It came to me with the following mods:

    Engine
    ------
    Hotshot Powerstack intake with SPS bracket
    Larger throttle body (not sure if 52 or 55mm)
    Hotshot header (cracked, of course :lol: Nothing against the previous owner - he did say it was on its last legs when I bought the car. But I had to get that replaced fast and cheap to get through inspection. Ended up with a 2" straight pipe from the cat to the recycled SPS muffler. Passed inspection, but sounded like a bumblebee on crack Civic! I later cut out a section of straight pipe and added a cherry bomb as a resonator. Deepened the tone, much better now.

    The suspension was brought up to snuff with 4 new KYB GR-2 struts and a pair of OEM end links. I run the 3-way rear sway bar on the middle setting - stable and predictable on the street, but with a little left foot braking I can still swing the tail around on an autocross course.

    I bought a friend's set of disused OEM teardrop wheels with scratches, peeling clearcoat, and a set of well used Kumho 712 tires. Sanded the wheels down and painted them with some generic auto parts store wheel paint, graphite color. Amazed at the end result - many people think they're aftermarket wheels because they've never seen wheels like this on a 2nd gen SL2. The 712s wore out and were replaced with Kumho Ecsta SPTs. They lasted only one season, which I wasn't happy with, and replaced them with Falken Azenis RT-615s for autocross use - both on the Saturn and the MR2 I run.

    Stereo was a Dual XDM6820 I transplanted from the MR2 that the Saturn replaced. Also upgraded to Kenwood speakers in all 4 corners, as the 10 year old Clarions the car came with were just about dead.

    The aftermarket Hollandia sunroof had stripped gears in the motor mechanism. When I got the car, it would only pop up, not open fully, and then even that stopped working. I managed to track down an online parts source that sold me the exact replacement motor, with metal rather than plastic gears for better durability. Sunroof has worked great ever since.


    The upgrades
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    As you can see I already took the opportunity to upgrade some parts that needed replacement anyway. Then I focused on some other minor upgrades to improve the car even further. I was already happy with the car's performance, so most of these were comfort items.

    The biggest upgrade was a full set of tan leather seats. These originally came in Bill Bennert's SL2. They were installed in the SPOC NE GRM $2004 Challenge SL2, and removed for weight reduction. After sitting in a garage for a while, I scored them. Also, I was on the road commuting for 2 hours a day. I liked to be able to blend in with traffic and not be noticed. I passed 5 green SLs every day. The only visible cues that this car might be a little different are the wheels, the slightly lower ride height, and the Red Line badge. :lol: Also attending the Rally was the Saturn One Lap of America team, along with the S series brand manager. He had never realized there was any kind of performance enthusiast following for these cars, and he was extremely interested. He made it a point to talk to each of us individually and find out all about our cars, what we'd done to them, what we wanted from them, etc. He loved the ///M badge on my SL2, and took a picture to bring back to the office. Years later, the souped up Red Line models come out, and they have a special badge to designate them as such. Coincidence? Perhaps not. And maybe, just maybe, I might have had a little something to do with that. So contrary to the ///M badge on my old SL2, which was a joke, the Red Line badge on this SL2 is a sort of "thank you" for all that. I also believe that the car is worthy of the badge, with its mods and all - it's pretty much what I think an SL2 Red Line would have been, if one had existed.


    In April 2008 I sold the car to the other Justin in Maine. So, [img]{SMILIES_PATH}/locked.gif[/img]
    - Justin<br />91 Sentra SE-R, &quot;The Millenium Falcon&quot;<br />91 Miata, &quot;The Otter&quot;<br />ex 95 SC2 (Locutus), 96 SL2 (Silverstreak), 96 SL2 (Apollo), 94 SW2 (Ninja Wagon)
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