A CAR THAT INCITES COMPETITION
By Al Khoury
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As Americans, we often miss out on the “forbidden fruit” cultivated by carmakers abroad. There was a time we learned about these mysterious vehicles through magazine articles and televised motor racing from far away lands. We were then exposed to unfamiliar vehicles through film and video games, such as The Fast and The Furious and Gran Turismo franchises.
Send in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
The rally-bred Evolution was introduced in 1992. The Evolution I was based on the lightweight Mitsubishi Lancer, which saw further weight loss in its ... evolution. The suspension and body rigidity were tightened and a four-wheel drive system was incorporated. The 2.0-liter I-4 turbocharged engine put out 244 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque through a five-speed manual gearbox.
More Evolutions followed, adding power and some degree of refinement. Third-party performance parts from the likes of Enkei, Brembo, MOMO, and Recaro were bolted on. Tech advances like active yaw control were introduced, which splits the torque sent to each rear wheel individually.
Sadly, the Lancer Evolution bowed out in 2015 with the Evo X. 1,600 Final Editions were produced for the U.S. market alongside the GSR and MR trims. But we got our first taste of the Evolution back in 2003, when Mitsubishi brought the then-new Evo VIII stateside. The Evo VIII was available in three trims: the standard VIII/GSR, the stripped-down RS, and the MR. All models came with a five-speed manual aside from the MR, which had six gears.
Oloi’s next featured ride comes courtesy of Madison Miklancic, who drives a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII GSR, the final year for the generation. Standard specs included the venerable 4G63 2.0-liter I-4, which sent 276 horsepower and 286 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via a five-speed gearbox. This Evo could hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in about five seconds and topped out at 155 mph. GSR curb weight was 3,263 pounds and the MSRP started at $30,699.
Standard features for the 2005 model year Evo GSR included an active center differential, a helical limited-slip differential, Recaros, Brembo brakes, aluminum body components, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler.
Madison obtained her car in February 2015 with 46,000 miles, and the clock currently reads 82,000. She found the car modestly modified with Enkei RFP1 wheels and some bolt-ons and gauges. This Evo originally came painted Wicked White, but Madison has since changed it to a pale grey via a wrap from Avery.
“I love driving it.” Madison told Oloi. “It was a daily driver for the first two years, but now it’s more of a weekend car. I use it for work and content creation and I’ve tracked it a couple of times. It’s a show car, a sometime-track car, and my fun car.”
Madison has worked to make the car her own, with most of the modifications being done this past year. She added a Voltex body kit, which included a Cyber Street front bumper, side skirts, rear fenders, and diffuser. The car already had the front fenders installed from the previous owner.
Rexpeed carbon fiber side skirt extensions and a VIS Racing carbon fiber hood complete the body panel mods. Madison also replaced the wheels with Work Emotion D9Rs at 18x10.5 with Yokohama 265/35/18 tires all around. She custom painted the Brembos along with her AutoPower four-point roll cage. The car rides on an Air Lift 3P air suspension.
“The air suspension is not a popular thing for Evos,” Madison laughed. “I never used to think it belonged on an Evo, but now I’m obsessed with it. For version three, I wanted to do a whole new look. I’m designing a new wrap and livery for the car. Other than that, I am in the market for a Voltex wing. I want to have some fun with the car. I like the whole bagged look but I might do a roof rack too. We’re doing a bigger turbo but also rocking a stanced look.”
Inside this Evo you’ll find custom Status Racing bucket seats bearing Madison’s name, which she says might be her favorite part of the car. Status Racing harnesses complement the seating package, which also includes a MAPerformance rear-seat delete. The words “Spirit of Competition,” borrowed from Mitsubishi’s rally team roots, can be found back there.
“It incites competition, but in a friendly way,” Madison said. Prosport gauges and an HKS turbo timer help this Evo’s driver monitor her performance.
Under the hood is an ETS full intercooler kit, HKS 272 cams, 3.5-inch Garrett core intercooler, Perrin intake, Koyo racing radiator, JDC coil-on-plug ignition system, and a Tial Q blow-off valve. The FP Green turbo will soon be upgraded to a 5858 Comp turbo.
A 525 Walboro fuel pump and 1700cc injectors keep the e85 flowing, and the stock block produces 430 horsepower at 30 PSI.
“I feel that I am at really good horsepower without building the block,” Madison said. “I’m pretty content with the stock block. I’m doing a bigger turbo and the goal this year is for 525 to 530 horsepower and keep it that way.”
Madison took her Evo to the track when she first got the car and recently went this past September. She wants to get back into it but after all the work she’s done, it’s difficult and risky to track it.
“I do want to prove a point about taking air suspension to the track,” Madison said. “This year I will track it a couple more times, but it won’t be a full-time track car.”
Getting this car was an “accident,” according to Madison.
“I had a Hyundai Genesis and I sold it to get a different Genesis – a more sporty, manual, R-Spec edition. The deal fell through and I had to find a different car. At the time, the guy I was dating had an Evo X. I looked into it and liked the way the older Evos looked. It made me realize that my heart laid more with the performance side of things over stance and aesthetics.”
Madison honed her need for speed at the track. The Evo VIII meshed looks with performance. It was the best of both worlds to Madison.
“I had no idea the love people had for Evos, and the raw power they had,” she said.
Besides the Evo, Madison has a 2012 Audi A3 manual turbo hatchback, which she plans to keep stock.
“I’m in the market to buy a new project car to complement my Evo,” Madison said. She is looking to get a Nissan S13 Silvia coupe in the next month or so.
“The idea of bringing on a new project is extremely exciting. The Evo is how people know me. I’ve had it for so long I can’t imagine getting rid of it. I’ve built it exactly the way I wanted it. I want to leave it the way it is and start on something new.”