Mission: Starquest The journey of a 20-year track car build

In the early days of car customization, it wasn’t uncommon for a guy to have his car in the garage on jackstands with a pile of parts nearby. You might even see him cutting the body to chop it or channel it. When you think of someone customizing their car these days, that usually brings to mind new wheels, a bolt on exhaust, maybe a vinyl wrap. Not the case for John Lazorack III.

John has owned his Chrysler Conquest, also known as the Mitsubishi Starion (made by Mitsubishi and rebranded for the US market) since 1998. It started when he blew the original turbocharged 4cylinder a couple of years after owning it. Even after rebuilding it with a bigger turbo, John still wasn’t happy with the power. Instead of just swapping in another engine, he decided to do a ground-up build. It would be a car he could beat up at the track and drive home.

After getting a job with the General Motors design team, John went full throttle on the build, swapping in a LS1. BUt that didn’t just mean bolting it in. He wanted a better weight balance, and decided to mount the engine further back, which meant cutting the firewall. It also meant swapping and adapting different steering components. Over the next five years, John learned as much as he could about welding, fabrication, 3D printing and digital modeling.

What you see here is the culmination of almost 20 years of constant engineering and design done to a car not many people are even aware of. John Lazorack, we salute you!

Check out this video posted recently by the Hoonigans.

Also, if you’re on Instagram, you can follow along with his car build here.

About Jerry Horton 35 Articles
I'm not going to pretend someone is writing a bio for me. Here I am. For those who don't know, I play guitar in Papa Roach. Since before I started dreaming of being a rockstar, I was dreaming about cars. My dad made me this way. Before I was born, he had a green 1972 Camaro. He did autocross when I was too young to know what was going on, and when I got a little older, he built a VW Beetle by himself in the carport. We would go to drag races in that car, and he would take down Mustangs and Camaros, much to their astonishment and horror. He took me to Top Fuel drag races in Sonoma, local drags at Sacramento Raceway, and I loved it. I was hooked. When it came time for me to get a car, he asked me if I wanted something older that we could work on, or something newer that would be a little more reliable. I told him I'd like an older car, and he said he found a 62 Chevy Nova with a 350. I was obviously excited, and 2 days later, he told me he had reconsidered. He said it was too much power for me, and ended up getting me a 1987 Mustang. 4 cylinder. I was extremely disappointed, and didn't want to talk to him for a while, but in the end it was the right decision. I drove that thing like an idiot, and ended up getting in 5 accidents (One was my fault). Fast-forward to the year 2000, and our first major record blows up, which allows me to get my dream car. The Dodge Viper. At the time it came out, the Viper was viewed as the modern-day Cobra; a motor with wheels. It scared the crap out of me, but over the years, I was able to show it respect, and get a lot out of it. Now, here we are. I created DriveKulture initially because the guys in my band aren't car guys. I needed an outlet; a place to share my ideas and opinions about new cars, sports cars, and kustom cars (yes that's custom with a "K"). I now see DriveKulture as not only a place where my car friends and I can interact, but also as a place for education. For a long time, I had pre-conceived notions about certain cars, and couldn't understand why someone would want them. In reading articles and talking with owners, I can see that they have slightly different tastes than I do, but their passion for cars are the same. I want to expose people to different types of cars, and try and convey what makes these different kinds of cars great. Welcome to DriveKulture.

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