‘Project Evo’ was well on its way. My new business venture – TAM Auto Engineering – was taking up a lot of time, but of an evening I’d often find myself planning the next phase of my Mitsubishi Evo IX rebuild (hence the codename soon became ‘Project TAM Evo’).
The next step was the engine, which was stripped for its 2.3l rebirth. Decisions aplenty were made concerning connecting rods, pistons, valves, valve springs, HKS cam shafts, gaskets, and everything else we stumbled across as we panned for horsepower gold: “Do we go with the 30/37 or 32/40 turbo?”; “Power, obviously, and let’s chuck in an HKS R-Type intercooler”; “well you’ll need the HKS oil and power steering fluid coolers then”…
Work on the heart transplant soldiered on while work began on the exterior. Completely stripped, the car was sent for its re-spray. Then another. And another. I had a dark gold interior in mind, and finding a tone to match proved difficult. But soon the perfect custom orange was given the all clear and the results were outstanding.
Next up was the interior, and this was no place for lacquered wood trim and heated seat cushions. Both driver and passenger would make their journeys in Bride bucket seats, racing harnesses making this choice non-negotiable. I threw in thinner carpets and installed a carbon fibre mounting for the EVC, the AFK displays and the VPro ECU. Alcantara along the door panels, dashboard and centre console was the cherry atop my torque-y cake.
Though still not complete, Project TAM Evo even made an appearance on our stand at the Dubai Motor Show alongside our completed racecars. Tangible examples of TAM’s hardwork and experience brought business flooding in, and soon the IX took a backseat as we started turning around more and more customer vehicles.
Over three years of work have gone into my Mitsubishi Evo IX so far. Business comes first, after all. Sometimes I wonder where the time has gone, but I also know that firing up the retuned engine for the first time is something I wouldn’t have missed for anything. It’s living a dream, and trust me, you never get tired of that
– Motaz Abu-Hijleh