Your Cars: Swift Recovery and Triumph


Story By Alan Cesar

A 1990 Suzuki Swift GT is an uncommon choice for stage rally racing, but Jen Imai has found in it a worthy dirt partner. Her underdog team recovered from a late-season crash and won the 2011 Performance Stock Class championship for the California Rally Series.

“We were leading the points and rolled the Suzuki at the Gorman Ridge Rally, and then had three weeks to get it back together,” she said. “By working late hours in addition to our day jobs, my co-driver, Terry Stonecipher, and I, with the generous assistance and expertise of Mike Welch at Road Race Engineering, were able to compete in the last major event of the season and won the championship there.”

Her car is a relatively simple setup, and she’s accustomed to chasing junkyard Geo Metros for replacement body panels. The drivetrain is robust enough to handle the frequent high-rev use, but after breaking a few sets of spider gears, she decided to get a nice Gripper LSD. To absorb those off-road bumps, a Hot Bits coil-over suspension system has been installed, and she has adapted rear pillowball mounts from an Eagle Talon.

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