You should already be familiar with this, but in case you're not, we're going to go over it once more. In addition to the email addresses we have set up for your tech questions (p. 26), automotive photography submissions (p. 98), rants and raves (p. 16), and Carter fan mail (p. 10), we have another: [email protected] It's the first place we look for feature cars. And we'll be honest-nine submissions out of ten are along the lines of Big Dogg's Civic back on page 16, only way worse: usually some kind of J-body domestic with Altezza-style Supra taillights (for headlights) and fluorescent paint. But hidden amongst every few hundred rocks, there is always a gem.
And then sometimes there's a diamond. Take Vi To's EVO, for example, which was first pitched to us via email by one his homies. The majority of us here at 2NR would sell a kidney to drive something along the lines of that Pentroof R34 or David's Civic to work everyday, but it ain't gonna happen. SoCal's law enforcement, thieves, and poor roads would probably keep them locked in the garage. But Vi's EVO is different. It's attainable and driveable. With proper planning and some wise managing of money, and with no sponsored help to speak of, Vi's proven that having a 600whp, 10-second, show-winning circuit monster is within reach for most of us.
Of course, it all hinges on starting with the right platform. When Mitsubishi first homologated a turbocharged, AWD version of their small-frame Lancer to take the reigns of the successful Galant in WRC competition, they had created a monster in terms of performance for a road-going vehicle. Eight evolutions later, and the EVO IX was running 0-60 in 4.6 seconds and the quarter-mile in 13.4-besting the performance of cars like the BMW M3, C5 Corvette, and Porsche Boxter, for about half the price and with every bit the reliability.
Vi's bought his EVO one year old in 2007. Its classification as a used car brought the cost down considerably, and the fact that one little old guy putted it around town for all of 20K miles made it a steal. With a generous down payment courtesy of the Civic Vi had built over the preceding years and parted out, his monthly installments were less than most of us pay for utilities, cable, and insurance. And it still had a warranty. "I voided the warranty the day after I bought the car," Vi says, regarding the Greddy Profec-B boost controller that became his first mod. Function/Form coilovers, and APR and EM Racing three-point strut bracing went on next, followed by a set of wheels. While friends building other makes were battling problems, Vi drove his car for months, eventually growing tired of its estimated 340 whp. A turbo upgrade was in order, and while you'll have to ask him what brand and size it was, we'll tell you that it blew apart after only a few hundred miles installed, taking much of the engine's cylinder head and intercooling system with it.
Vi picked up a beater car and got to work tearing into the EVO. The 4G63's bottom end was left stock, but the damaged head was rebuilt with a full Cosworth valvetrain and sealed down with ARP studs. To it was bolted an RnR exhaust manifold supporting a Garrett GT35R turbo and Tial 50mm wastegate. A Blitz front-mount intercooler replaced the damaged stock unit and Blitz intercooler piping was massaged to accept a Tial 38mm blow-off valve. Vi had a homie fab up an intake and trick upper radiator hard pipe (with Samco silicone elsewhere). Rather than reflash his factory ECU, Vi opted for an AEM EMS to help the EVO IX play nice with its massive 1,050cc Rochester injectors and MAP sensor that allowed the production of much more boost and power. And once that became too mundane for Vi, he tacked on a 100-shot NOS kit and purge.
While all this was going on, Vi began modding the chassis for competition. The new powerplant would send him down the track at disqualifying speeds without a roll cage, so he added a Cusco bolt-in unit along with a four-point under brace, lower front brace, and Swift rear sway bar-nothing wrong with prepping for circuit duty at the same time, right? That frame of mind was complemented by the Voltex rear diffuser, VIS hood, trunk and voltex generators, and APR front splitter, side mirrors and GTC-500 rear wing-all in carbon fiber-as well as ultra-lightweight CE28N Time Attack edition forged monoblocks.
Joining the race-prepped theme with street accouterments inside, we find a Nardi wheel, Bride bucket, Takata restraints, slew of Defis, and the requisite Apex'i, Greddy, and Defi controllers joining a Kenwood flip screen and a stock passenger Recaro. The rear seats remain intact, too, but not too many passengers are down to share room with that Sparco harness bar. And don't even think about getting finger prints on Vi's brushed nitrous bottle.
With modifications representing an approximate $20K investment, the end result of Vi's efforts has a nasty habit of breaking off high-dollar exotics and stealing class wins from show queens-all with streetable reliability. "The car's been together as it sits now for about two years," says Vi, "and I haven't had any major problems." He admits he doesn't expect it to stay that way for long, though. "I'm building a 2.3L stroker motor which will go in soon." And what makes him think he'll need it? "4G63s are strong, but don't last long at this kind of power level," he says. "And I'm starting to get bored with it."
Behind The Build
Vi To (no, not Vito)
La Puente, CA
Living life to the fullest.
To build a powerful, stock, show-quality, reliable daily driver
'06 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX
Output: 598 whp / 456 lb-ft of torque
Engine: Cosworth 280/280 camshafts, valve springs, retainers; ARP head studs; RNR intake, stainless turbo manifold; HKS Ti-C cat-back exhaust; Garrett GT35R turbocharger; Tial 38mm Sport blow-off valve, 50mm Sport wastegate; Blitz front-mount intercooler; custom upper/lower intercooler piping, carbon fiber spark plug cover; NOS 100-shot nitrous oxide injection, purge kit; Samco radiator hoses; Rochester Products 1,020cc/min fuel injectors (x4); Walbro 255Lph fuel pump; Nisei mini battery; APR radiator cooling panel
Drivetrain: Act Xtreme Duty clutch, Streetlite flywheel
Suspension: Function/Form coilovers; APR front strut tower bar; EM Racing rear three-point strut brace; Cusco bolt-in roll cage, front radiator support brace, four-point lower chassis brace; Swift rear sway bar
Wheels/Tires: 17x9 Volk Racing CE28N Time Attack wheels; 255/45-17 Falken Azenis RT-615 tires; Project Kics lug nuts
Exterior: JDM EVO IX rear bumper; VIS carbon fiber hood, trunk, rear vortex generators; APR GTC-500 carbon fiber rear wing, front lip splitter, side mirrors; optional Mitsubishi window visors; Benen rear tow hook; custom top-mount front tow hook
Interior: Bride Low Max front seats; Takata harnesses; Sparco harness bar; Nardi steering wheel; NRG quick-release hub; Trust shift knob
Electronics: AEM EMS; Greddy Profec-B boost controller, turbo timer; A'pexi S-AFC Neo air/fuel controller; Defi 60mm BF gauges (EGT, oil pressure, boost); Kenwood KVT-715DVD head unit
Gratitude: Girlfriend, Janet; Chris and Marc Lacson; George (Bimbo); Mike at High-End Autosports; Dewey at JMR Autobody; Ken and Travis at 88 Rotors; Peter at APR Performance; Tec at VIS Racing; Preston and Rob at Function/Form; Kevin Luu; Jordan V; all the homies from TapKrew and Kritical Racing