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Custom Tiburon
By Larry Edsall

Custom Tiburon She shows how to transform the Tiburon
Sandy MacKenzie and her 2003 Hyundai Tiburon are proof that you don't need deep pockets or vast mechanical experience to create an award-winning customized vehicle.

MacKenzie, who does payroll and billing for a trucking company in Coshocton, Ohio, said she's always been into cars. So has her husband, Travis, an ATT repairman who got even more into them as a teen-ager, first upgrading the stereo system in his car, then doing the same things for a succession of friends.

Thirty-something Sandy appreciated the fact that Hyundai's Tiburon sports coupe was a nice looking car even if you didn't do anything to it. She bought a good used 2003 model, though she's certainly done quite a bit to it. So much, and so well, that her car was the star at the 2006 Triple Crown Tuner Challenge, held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The event drew some 400 entries. MacKenzie's car won the six-cylinder class "style" award and also took the Hyundai-sponsored Tiburon tuner competition over 30 other vehicles from seven states.

Except for the aerodynamic body kit and paint, Sandy and Travis did all the work themselves or with the help of friends. That work included lowering the car's suspension, mounting 18-inch wheels and low-profile tires, installing a cat-back exhaust system, cold-0air intake and lightened flywheel, removing the back seat and replacing it with two nitrous tanks and "all of those amps." Under the Tiburon's hatchback they built a fiberglass enclosure to hold three subwoofers and two DVD screens. They also installed new front seats and custom black-and-white interior details, and built a rear-view camera into the bodywork just above the rear license plate, with a four-inch monitor in the interior.

Next, she says, they'll add a supercharger to the engine. She also says they quit keeping track of what they'd spent on the car, though she admits that they've put more in aftermarket parts into they paid for the used Tiburon.

MacKenzie built her Tiburon for show and go. She drives it frequently – though not in inclement weather, she admits.

Now that her car is almost complete, Sandy says its Travis's turn. He's found a 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 that he wants to boost to 600 horsepower and modify for racing.

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