No, I’m not talking about the thirty-seven foot, two inch tall left field wall at Fenway Park in Boston. I am talking about a 1998 Saturn SL2 that no one would see coming; like Josh Beckets four seam fastball. A Saturn, which to some would be perplexing, but to me it’s the perfect car. Come with me and find out why.
If the first words out of your mouth were “Oh yeah, this thing will blow the doors off of most cars on the road,” you’ve run into the Monstah on the streets of Tampa Bay. What gives the Monstah a solid base is a Golden Eagle HD block with O-rings, a stock crank with crower rods and CP pistons at 8:5:1 CR and .080” overbore to make it a 2.0L. Adding support is a SCE pro copper gasket squished with ARP studs along with a ported and polished cylinder head which was done in the owner’s garage. The stock valve train was stiffened up with some spring spacers by Comp Cams. A friend ground down the stock cams to increase lift and duration. They call them “Turbo cams” by FSR motorsport creations. FSR also made the lovely intake manifold mated to a 3” throttle body off a Ford Thunderbird.
To expel the gases out of the Monstah’s heart is an exhaust that was drawn up in some spare time then sent to a friend who is “ridiculous with a TIG welder.” That same person also made manifolds in his spare time under a company called Alpha Tuning. Beers were shared and the concept was brought to life in the form of a beautiful long tube 4 to 1 manifold and downpipe for the turbo to sit on.
Ah, the turbo. A precision SC6152E perfect for daily use; Boost is regulated by Apexi AVC-R, with a Tial 38mm waste gate and a Turbosmart Race Pot 52mm blow off valve. Spraying the fuel where it’s needed is a set of 83# injectors from Trick Flow. Hot side piping runs 2.5″ through to the Treadstone performance intercooler and comes out cold 3” the rest of the way. The ignition was switched to a Ford EDIS for accurate timing and more spark where an Accel coil sets it off. Everything is run off a Megasquirt stand alone system tuned by Sam Bretz. There are some personal touches in there as well. Says the owner, “I like to powder coat things, use thermal coatings, and add some braided lines here and there when a function calls for it. I think it adds a little muscle car feel.”
Getting the power the Monstah makes to the ground was the next task to be tackled. The transmission is a stock ’93 Saturn MP2 5 speed (originally designed for a single cammer with 83hp). The weakest link was replaced, the differential, with a Quiafe torque biasing diff., which is holding it’s own. “I use stock axels. I use them like fuses; break an axel, save the tranny.” Stuffed into the transmission is an ACT six puck clutch with a stock flywheel. The car was originally an automatic, so the swap to the current MP2 5 speed was a must.
Giving the Saturn its Monstah stance is a set of AMR Engineering coilovers. Fully adjustable damping, the works; and for added support a 3-way adjustable rear sway bar made by a company who no longer exists. The wheels are flat black Motegi trak lites wrapped in 225/50/15 Falken Ziex 912 tires all around. There isn’t much going on in the cockpit of this beast, just a grant challenger steering wheel and some gauges to monitor the heart of the Monstah as well as an interior that was converted from grey to black.
If you haven’t noticed already, I haven’t mentioned the owner’s name…with good reason. He’s a very humble individual from brief conversations. Considering I also drive a Saturn, I doubt I would be as humble with a vehicle that puts out around about 400 horsepower. As for what the owner has to say about his car, quite simple if you ask me. “I have two favorite things about the car; One, I’ve always like a sleeper car. I try to keep things pretty modest looking, nothing flashy. When this four door grocery-getter blows your doors off, you can’t deny it’s a sleeper. And two, this car has a collaboration of parts and tuning by my friends. We help each other out whenever we can. The whole Saturn community is tight knit. Sam, Mike, Ian-thanks guys. And thanks to sixthsphere.com.”
Monstah’s future plans: a forged crank and some higher HP numbers are expected; but I’ll let the kind people of Tampa Bay Florida figure those out on their own. I have to say I am quite honored to have featured this car on BrokenSpeed. Driving a Saturn since I was 16, this car has become an icon to me and to many in the Saturn community I’m sure. It’s people like the owner of this car that keep people on their toes and break up the monotony of Hondas and Subarus. My hat goes off to you, sir. Keep pushing the envelope. (Photos by Marc Russel)