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Cruising the Caribbean

Grand Caymans "Gungho" Evolution 3

Not much is known about the Cayman Islands. Ask anyone on the streets if they could locate the tiny islands on a map and most likely they wouldn't have any idea. The Caymans, located 480 miles south of Florida is the ideal destination spot for honeymooners and vacationers looking to indulge in the top rated scuba diving, crystal clear waters and year long warm tropical climates. For local residents living on the largest settling of three islands in the Caymans, the Grand Caymans, the term living on a "rock" becomes a living reality. Put into perspective, the largest of three islands in the Caymans is no larger in size than the beef jerky that sits beside my shitty E-Mac computer at work. The Grand Caymans Island spans 22 miles long by four miles wide with a population of 35,600 people. Compare the population density of the Caymans to the 128,000 living on the island of Maui, Hi and you come to understand exactly how small the land and population the Caymans really are.

When 2NR was notified by several import manufacturers that an import drag event was to take place on the Grand Cayman Island all of us editors in the office were baffled. Sure the Caymans are known in Hollywood movies as the ideal place to deposit large sums of money in their offshore bank accounts but besides the stereotypical gangsters depositing illegal slush funds in accounts with false identities we weren't sure what to expect on an island that isn't known for building high horsepower import cars.

Boy, were we wrong! Meet Tony Williams, a native to the Cayman Islands and owner of Tony's Toys, a local high performance shop specializing in high horsepower vehicles. Williams, deemed a celebrity on the island, has literally revolutionized the import scene on the small strip of land local's call home. No stranger to the import scene, Williams currently owns his fair share of import cars ranging from an Hachiroku,1986 Toyota turbo pickup,1972 Mini Cooper 1275 GT, 2002 Mini Cooper(built by Mini Mania),1998 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO V (built by A'PEXi Japan), and a 2002 Mitsubishi Evolution Lancer VII.

While most cars begin their lives as either a junkyard vehicle or a hand-me-down from grandma, Williams most treasured and current project, a Mitsubishi Evolution III was purchased and shipped to the Cayman docks for $9,000 in 2001 as a retired ex-circuit vehicle from Japan. After arriving at the docks and taking the vehicle back to the shop, careful analysis of the car was done by the mechanics at Tony's Toys. The crew concluded the engine was tired and needed to be rebuilt. After a quick freshening up of the engine and gearbox, Williams set out to the local drag strip and proceeded to scare every V8 on the island. "Hands down we beat the fastest streetable Camaro on the island which was running about 600 hp," stated Williams with a grin. From that point on the anti-import scene on the Cayman was revolutionized overnight. Enthusiasts took notice of "Gungho" (the Evolution's nickname) and slowly began to change the landscape of performance cars on the island. The once proud owners of V8 cars saw the light and switched to Turbo JDM cars after witnessing the ass whipping performed by the Evolution III. "I have had every child of school age knowing about the car as it was and currently is the most feared street car on the island." Williams continues by saying "Kids as young as five or six come up to me asking about "GUNGO" Damn! Talk about a role model!

After several confrontations on the street and on the track, Williams decided to tear apart the daily driven EVO III and begin a complete rebuild. First to be addressed was the upper headwork. The newly upgraded parts consisted of a full Jun Auto mechanic lineup. Using a set of Jun camshafts with 10.8 degree intake/exhaust lift and 272 degree intake/exhaust duration mated to Jun adjustable sprockets for fine tuning. Jun titanium retainers, double valve springs and custom head porting was done by Williams' mechanic, Bolton, in search of added midrange and top end horsepower. Supplying the added horsepower is a custom built GReddy 20G turbo mated to a GReddy Tubular manifold. Keeping the ambient air temperature always ice cold is a Blitz intercooler with custom 3-in piping. Spent gases are exited out the rear of the car by a custom 3-in HKS exhaust and down pipe. With high horsepower, fuel delivery becomes a critical factor. Custom 660cc injectors are regulated by a CB Power fuel pressure regulator. The reliable and race proven HKS VPC is added as a 290LPH fuel pump insures a sufficient fuel supply at all times. The bottom end has been punched out using .20mm over JE pistons increasing total displacement to 2022cc. Additional items include an HKS head gasket, Blitz C3 stainless steel air filter, and a Racing Gear aluminum radiator.

Producing a significant amount of horsepower usually means problems for the transmission after a dozen or so launches. Bolton and Reese of Tony's Toys were up to the task of rebuilding the factory transmission to handle the new found power. Included in the rebuild was a completely new dog box of short ratio gears with a final drive ratio of 5.358:1. Aiding in the transfer of horsepower to the tarmac is a "turbo clutch" single plate system by RPS mated to a JUN flywheel. Keeping oil temperatures to a minimum is accomplished with an HKS racing oil cooler system sitting up front.

Suspension tweaking was deemed minor on the Evolution 3 due to its already excellent setup when received from Japan. Using an Ohlins coilover setup on all four corners shop mechanic, Reese, dialed in the suspension settings along with a local shop, Superior Auto, who did the alignment. Aiding in the braking department, Williams opted to use a Ralliart master cylinder, Ralliart steel brake lines and custom brakes to bring the 3150-lb beast to a screeching halt. Keeping in check with traction, 17x7.5 Gold ADVAN RC rims wrapped in Yokohama Parada Spec II on the front and rear of the car propel the Evolution to low 11 seconds e.t.s with trap speeds in excess of 127 mph. With a history of circuit racing done with the Evolution III before being shipped to the Caymans, chassis prepping and safety modifications were carefully executed by the experts of Garage SPL of Japan. Garage SPL is renowned for specializing in high performance components for the SW20 otherwise known as the MR2 in Japan. A Safety 21 six-point roll cage was carefully welded in the confines of the interior for added rigidity and safety. Dark grey Recaro SWII suede buckets now reside in place of the factory seats while door panels and floor carpet has also received a custom upholstery job. Keeping a watchful eye of all engine vitals include a plethora of gauges ranging from an HKS oil temp meter, oil pressure, EGT, water temp and boost pressure gauge. A Blitz ID meter keeps boost pressure at consistent levels while a Pivot A/F meter assures Williams the car is running properly at all times. It's no surprise but you won't find any audio system in this baby. "Gungho" was built to kick ass and take names.

"Our competitors said us locals lacked the tools and skills to build an engine properly. Well we proved them wrong and they should take notice that the car was built entirely on an island as our 'competition' said it could not be done. We proved them wrong and have proven that home built is the best way to go," states Williams. So what does he have in store for his 11-second monster? "Well we have only had problems with the VPC so far which sometimes has a mind of its own. We hope to further fine tune the car and hopefully dip into the 10s soon but as far as now when all systems are GO we run low 11.00 passes all day. The car is a real blast to drive and is a real head turner with the graphics. In truth the HKS wastegate is so loud it scares everyone within a 1000-foot radius." Business has been brisk for Tony's Toys as they have become the main distributors of JDM vehicles in the Cayman area. Shipping multiple super cars from Japan monthly has been a real boost for the business. "When you sell JDM cars and parts during the week and then race the same type of car you sell and win on the weekend it makes for a beautiful combination." If import history is to be documented on the Cayman Islands, Williams and his Evolution III are considered the pioneers that started it all. After two years of completion and 20,000 dollars invested into the Evolution III, it's a proven fact that this car is still the one to beat on the island. As of now, Gungho's best quarter mile times at Drag Wars have been recorded at 11.34 e.t. with driver and extra passenger on board. How sick is that? Gungho is a regular at the Cayman Hot Rod Associations Drag meets and Sunday fun runs on a consistent basis, terrorizing the V8 class. Racking up awards and disgracing the domestic class, Williams currently holds the record for fastest 4WD, fastest 4 cylinders, and fastest street legal full bodied car in Grand Cayman. Next time you plan on vacationing in the Cayman Islands screw the beaches, Mai Tai's and scenic views; make sure and check out Gungho.

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