There's no " rev limiter" in these cars. 55 mph in first gear is abuse. Even 35 mph is not very smart and not what passenger cars are designed for. It's no wonder your old engine threw a rod. The 2.2L turbo, with modifications including nitrous, is capable of producing over 500 hp. But that is done with no upgrades to the bottom end. These engines are really tough, but over-revving any engine will kill it.