I’ve always wanted an Evo IX. I remember sitting with some close friends after another so-so day at work when the thought struck me. We were all mad keen on cars, and would talk well into the night on the subject. I’d often regaled the group about Honda Type-Rs, VW Golf GTIs, and a Mercedes E-Class I’d modified over the years, and was keen to get my teeth into another project.
No sooner had I mentioned my Mitsubishi interest than one of my friends – Mr Sultan – suddenly asked, “well, why don’t you do it then?” All of a sudden, questions on the subject were being fired rapidly at me: “which spec are you looking for?”, “what kind of budget do you have?”, “any preferences on colour?”. I’d had an Evo IX GSR spec (preferably white) in my head for years, so the answers were thrown back just as quickly. And so the journey began.
The very next day, I was on my way to the local Mitsubishi dealership. Things didn’t get off to the best start – the sales advisor ‘helping’ me needed some convincing that actually it was the Evo IX I was after and not the Lancer II, thank you very much – but a couple of phone calls and a quick drive to the main Dubai dealership later, a deal was done, and my pride and joy was ready for collection three days later.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with one of the sales reps on the day itself. In his most helpful tone, the gentleman said, “Please remember to break your engine in slowly. I wouldn’t advice going over 3/4000 revs”. I nodded, got in, adjusted my seat, tweaked the mirrors, started the engine with a roar, lit up the rear tyres, and promptly left the dealership forecourt sideways. I couldn’t stop smiling. The rep couldn’t stop staring.
It will probably come as no surprise that I already knew exactly what I wanted from the car. I had a mod list, I had previous experience of the process, and I had the finished Evo firmly in my mind’s eye. I wanted a reliable car that was fun both on-track and off. A car in which I could keep my foot planted and not worry about losing it. A car I could hurl into corners at ridiculous speeds and it would stick. I was thinking stiffened suspension and chassis, an aero package like none other, an out of this world Voltex body kit…oh yeah, the sexiness of it all!
Before the serious madness kicked in, I needed some track time to see exactly what I was working with. And here was where the smiles really started to kick in! Between ’07 and ’08 I’d done a lot of track driving, and have always fascinated with making a car go faster. I worked on tyres and the brakes, left the engine alone, then kicked on a heavy-duty HKS Titanium exhaust. I re-inforced the chassis courtesy of a kit from Cusco, kitted the Evo out with some HKS suspension and invested in some serious CCR-G brake pads. Man oh man, those really get the job done when you’re on it!
Though the tuning bug had bitten me badly, my new business venture – TAM Auto Engineering – was opening its doors, and ‘Project Evo’ took a back seat. Temporarily…