$2002 Suzuki Swift GTi
My entry in the Grassroots Motorsports $2002 Challenge
Suzuki Swift GTi Suzuki Swift GTi
Calmini header High flow catalytic converter
Glasspack muffler 2 inch exhaust system
Poly front sway bar bushings Poly rear sway bar bushings
Poly front suspension bushings Front suspension lower tie bar
Rear strut tower brace Front strut tower brace
Jamex lowering springs Relocated battery
Custom cold air intake High flow air filter
Wet nitrous oxide system Air/fuel ratio meter
Short throw shifter

I first looked at this car on February 17 of 2001, less than one month after returning from the Grassroots Motorsports Magazine $2001 Challenge. She was sitting in three feet of snow, in the corner of a salvage yard. There was only one wheel left on her. The windshield was broken. The hood, headlights, grill and alternator were gone along with the rear spoiler, both front seats and the radio. I made a down payment on her that day, but would have to wait for the snow to melt before I could bring her home. When we did bring her home in mid April 2001, using three wheels from one of my other cars, this is what she looked like. in the beginning...
in the beginning... The first thing I replaced was the broken timing belt. Once I had the engine running I swapped out the nearly used up clutch for a half used up clutch. A lucky find on eBay won us a complete Swift GTi for only $100. Why so cheap? The mounting points were so badly rusted the lower front suspension had ripped free. The $100 parts car provided all the missing pieces we needed, as well as nearly new brake rotors and pads.
The photos above don't show how bad the body really was. Under the plastic ground effects, the driver's side rocker panel was non-existent. About half of the driver's side floor was gone as well. I patched all of the holes with metal from a smashed Metro hood. After finishing up all the bodywork, I started thinking about what to do for a memorable paint scheme. Like many citizens of the United States, the events of September 11, 2001 left me feeling quite patriotic. painting...
painting... So with a bit of planning, a couple rolls of masking tape, several cans of red, white and blue spray paint and 50 hand cut vinyl stars, I set out to transform the little Suzuki into a rolling incarnation of the "Stars and Stripes".
Here's a bird's eye view of the finished paint scheme. This photo was taken at the $2002 Challenge. Please stand for the national anthem. roof...
engine... This photo shows the engine compartment. You can see the top of the Calmini header, the homemade strut tower brace and the homebrew cold air intake with the nitrous plumbing.
This photo shows part of the the gutted interior. In place of the rear seat you can see the relocated battery and the homemade strut tower brace. In place of the space-saver spare tire is the nitrous bottle. battery and bottle...
autocross... Mowing down cones out on the autocross course at the $2002 Challenge. Yes, the course was just a little bit wet. I suggested they change the name to Grassroots Watersports.
Back home at a local autocross. autocross...
Old Navy Most Patriotic Car Contest On June 15, 2002 participating Old Navy stores around the country held a "Most Patriotic Car Contest" in their parking lots. Since the contest was being held at a store nearby, we thought we would try our luck. At the end of the day we left with First place, a $500 Old Navy Gift Card and an invite to participate in a Fourth of July parade.


Copyright © 1999-2003 Joel Dirnberger. All rights reserved. - Email: joel@joeld.net
This page last updated: 16 June 2003