After not driving the Evo for a couple of weeks you forget how much attention it draws on the road. You initially think there’s something wrong with the car as it turns heads and people point. The funniest thing for me is when kids walking or being dragged to school stand open mouthed as you drive past. One small lad, can’t have been more than 4 years old stood wrapped up in hat gloves coat and scarf dropped his biscuit and stood fixated as I waved and pootled by him. That’s the thing about the old Evos – their massive Wings, vents, agressive bumpers all attract attention and make you feel like you’re driving a comical character of a car. What would be chavvy on another car is functional on the Evo and designed to increase performance and so people seem to like them, and give the thumbs up. Even though it is approaching 14 years old, they still look fantastic today and stand out against the swathe of silver Euroboxes commuting to work; If I had seen a V or VI when I was a kid it would have made my day, and no doubt a poster on my wall. I remember thinking at 16 when Tommi Makinen was driving, they looked so brutal and devastating but couldn’t ever envisage being able to afford one. Here’s to old cars raising a smile on an otherwise mundane commute to work!
I don’t tend to come up against many quicker cars on the road, mainly due to me not doing many miles in the Evo. One car I did come across though recently that was quicker was a new Audi TT RS; £40,000 worth of Audi, hammering down the local Dual Carriageway at speed. At around 340bhp from it’s 5 pot turbo engine the Audi was pulling away on the straights and looked fantastic, much more muscular than the old version renowned for those who have a strange fondness for hair products. I expect these TTs with a remap are serious weapons. However it does show how good value for money these 13 year old Evos are – currently worth around 15% of the cost of a new TT RS and almost identical performance. These things really are performance bargains.
Not long after I bought the car I soon realised that the fuel gauge was more of a guide than a useful gauge! It’s quite amusing that the first 1/4 of Super Unleaded gets munched in around 80miles, yet the remaining 3/4 tank also gives 80 miles! You have to laugh at the Japanese complete ignorance of fuel economy when they created the likes of these 90s Evo/Skyline/Supra/200SX turbo nutter cars. It’s like they had discovered how to make cars that would embaress expensive exotica and all the budget went on turbo and handling development, and the poor the guy in the fuel economy department got made redundant. I like that philosophy of making cars. So much nowadays is aimed at maximum fuel economy that fun and true performance are secondary considerations. Unfortunately with the state of the economy and price of oil, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
For years I’ve wanted to own an Evo – I like the technology, I like the unapologetic aggressive looks, I like the rally motorsport heritage – I suddenly found myself religiously checking online ads for Evo V. Almost an identical car to the VI except for some minor cosmetic and mechanical changes, the brutal looking version 5 has a nicer looking rear wing, rear light cluster and front bumper compared to the (IMO) bulbous VI. A good 5 also better fitted my budget than a slightly shoddy 6.
So having set about viewing Evos in various parts of the country, what I soon discovered was that some people’s definition of “mint” differs from mine! It was never going to be easy finding a 12 year old performance car in excellent condition but I knew there would be good examples out there it just requires patience and the will to travel to find the right car.
Viewing was not straightforward I found and subsequently was beaten to, a very nice Evo V with a forged NR Autosport engine, and also wasted a long trip to see another forged motor which ended up being a complete dog. This car was leaking oil all over the drive, had a snapped actuator a windscreen covered in chips and the worst thing, poor bodywork and chronic rust underneath.
Then my patience was rewarded, a car with traceable history through the MLR owners club, standard engine with “Stage 1” mods, but also extremely tidy bodywork and totally rust free underneath. The owner lived on the Isle of Wight and I can see why he sold it, theres barely any decent roads to stretch the car’s legs.
I was delighted after the long trip over to the island to see the car was exactly as described with fantastic bodywork, absolutely no rust, and a very tidy engine bay. The oil looked brand new and was quality Silkolene Racing oil. The service history was spot on with belts changed and servicing completed on time. I had found “the one.” Swift negotiations were dealt with, and I left in the Evo a very, very happy man. The only problem was finding reverse to get the car off the drive as the white Ralliart gearknob had no gear indicators!
Over the next few months we aim to bring you lots of useful information and help buying and maintaining a Misubishi Evo. Buying a performance machine can be daunting, especially since the majority of Evo’s are now second hand prospects and a lot have been imported from Japan. It’s important to know when buying what you’re looking for to spot many potential pitfalls and problems. However picking the right one will reward you with a fantastic machine, amazing driving experience and great memories.
Over the next few months we aim to bring you useful information, guides and product reviews to help you buy, maintain and enjoy your purchase for years to come.
Please check back regularly as we update the site, but for now check out some fantastic footage of the Evo on it’s home turf, the Rally stage: