Much Like The Celtics And The Lakers, the chicken and the egg, or the much-maligned battle between good and evil, the race to win Best of Class in the all-wheel-drive market between the Subaru WRX and the Mitsubishi Evolution is as scalding as a turbo heat shield insulator. It makes Hagler-Hearns look as anemic as a game of Guitar Hero, with both cars one-upping each other-year after year-in power, aesthetics, and drivability. It's a war with a yet-to-be-determined winner, often coming down to personal taste, and at times, the flip of a coin with the deadpanned sedateness of Anton Chigurh.
Thankfully, personal taste is the one characteristic that tuners absolutely do not lack-albeit sometimes they should-and with that, it temporarily solves the issue of which all-wheel-drive car is actually better. In this case, it's the Mitsubishi Evolution because Third Jarlego of Ewa, Hawaii, says so and is willing to race you for it. His full-dress '06 Evolution IX MR is a testament to the malleability of Mitsubishi's flagship car. Its willingness to be crafted in any way possible is also evidenced by its countless worshipers at car shows nationwide. Third (his actual name) has been in love with the EVO since it first came into production in 1992.
"I wanted an EVO ever since I was 16 years old living in the Philippines," explained Third, "I bought my first EVO in 2003. I eventually sold it and bought this MR Limited Edition. I also have two more at home-another '06 EVO IX GSR and an '05 EVO VIII." Third, who currently resides in Hawaii, makes his living in the print business, which is apparently good enough to own three EVOs, one being sweet enough to feature a deep list of rare JDM parts.
Diving into why the Lancer Evolution IX MR is so special: It's the last version featuring the CT9A platform, which is pretty much the EVO we've all grown to love, recently replaced by the EVO X, which comes with dramatic changes in body and style. The IX MR model was the top-end for the Lancer family in terms of performance, with a six-speed manual tranny, Bilstein shocks, a rooftop vortex generator, BBS forged wheels, foglights, HID xenon headlights, a zero-lift kit, an accessory gauge package, and an aluminum roof. If it were a basketball player, it would be LeBron James on HGH.
That's why Third decided to make this IX MR the car he'd devote all his time to. With only a year of modification time, he managed to make his MR even more major than it already was; the only way to do that successfully harkens to the gods of JDM, otherwise known as the parts we all wish we could afford.
The first considerable change came from Voltex, a name that tuners should be familiar with if they happen to be avid readers of Japanese tuner mags and big fans of body kits. The Voltex Suzuka Racing kit for the EVO IX features an impressive front bumper with single canards and aerodynamically functional side skirts. Third coupled the body kit with a C-West GT dry carbon hood and a Voltex rear under tray. He topped off the Japanese flavor with a JDM OEM rear bumper and rear wing. All of which is stitched together by the awesome Graphite Gray paint by Tech-One Customs.
He followed up with a set of 18-inch Volk TE-37 wheels with a Mag-Blue finish. The wheels are 9.5 inches wide on all four corners and blanketed by gooey Toyo T1-R tires. Though he doesn't track the EVO, it should be ready for any sharp turn that it encounters, especially with a well-done suspension system that combines the innovation of HKS and the experience of Cusco. Working the damper department is a set of HKS Hipermax II coilovers, lowering the EVO a full 11/2 inches. Cusco works the antiroll division with 25mm front and rear stabilizer bars and rear strut brace. To make sure his EVO doesn't flex under stress, Third also added Cusco arm bars, power braces, and a rear trunk brace. The EVO's ride is so stiff, it makes John McCain's arms look like a gymnasts.
Of course, a chassis so stout and rigid would be pointless if all it did was travel the inner sanctums of underground parking lots with factory horsepower. Third made sure the EVO's underhood was as JDM as its outside. He first upgraded the turbo with a Garrett GT30 snail, featuring a tubular AMS manifold, Tial blow-off valve and wastegate. To cool it down, an ARC intercooler with Nisei piping works its magic. Inside the engine, Third followed the route of a true tuner, modifying everything but the bolts. In the head, he replaced the valves, valve springs, and retainers with JUN Racing counterparts and chose a set of HKS cams to operate them all. To grab the spirit of rallying, he employed the quality work of Ralliart to replace the cooling plate, radiator cap, and spark plug wires. He capped it off with an HKS air intake and a GReddy JDM titanium racing exhaust system.
The last frontier he conquered was the interior, simply changing it to satiate his JDM hunger. He reworked the seats with low-max Kevlar Bride Stradias with matching Bride rear seats and all-around upholstery. He changed the driving essentials with an ARC shifter knob and Ralliart pedals. And if that wasn't enough, he also threw out the factory floormats and exchanged them with a set of sexy Bride mats. The interior is as Japanese as sushi.
"These rare JDM parts are really the most unique feature about my car," Third said. "They were also the ones that gave me the most migraines. I waited four months before getting those rims. That's when I realized most JDM parts take a long time to arrive." But it was all worth it. His trophy room is filled with awards from various shows that realize the prestige of Third's Lancer Evolution. This feature just placed the proverbial cherry on top.
Ewa Beach, Hawaii
Special Printing Supervisor
"I built it for speed and looks."
'06 Mitsubishi Evo Ix Mr
Output 430 hp
Engine HKS camshafts, air intake; JUN Racing valves, valve springs, retainers; GReddy titanium exhaust; AMS Racing tubular manifold, fuel rail; Garrett GT30 turbocharger; Tial blow-off valve, wastegate; ARC intercooler, oil coolers, plug cover; Koyo radiator; Samco Racing radiator hoses; Ralliart diversion panels, spark plug wires, cooling plate, radiator cap; Sun Auto ignition; Walbro fuel pump
Suspension HKS Hipermax II coilovers, front strut brace; Cusco front and rear stabilizer bars, rear strut brace, arm bars, power brace, rear trunk brace; Whiteline bushings
Wheels/Tires 19x9.5 Volk TE-37 Mag-Blue wheels; 235/40-18 T1-R Toyo tires
Brakes Brembo front and rear brakes; Motul RBF 600 brake fluid
Exterior Voltex Racing Suzuka body kit, front bumper, side skirts, single canard, carbon rear diffuser; JDM OEM rear bumper, rear wing
Interior Bride Stradia front and rear seats, upholstery, floor mats; ARC shifter knob; Ralliart pedals, carbon-fiber rear-view mirror
Electronics Defi gauges; Alpine IUA-900 head unit, speakers
Tech One Custom
6261 Katella Avenue, Suite 2B