For all intents and purposes, this car shouldn’t have turned out as dope as this. Given that it’s not an Evo X, we had to pause for a moment when Mitsubishi first approached us to do a project on their Ralliart model from the Lancer lineup. Initially, we were told we could take our pick of a blue or dark grey sedan—the only downside being that any other media outlet who was also given a car to build would also have these two colors to choose from. Meh. But a second option was proposed; what if we were to opt for the Sportback version instead? The hatchback was already seen as a bit of an outsider, a black sheep to some, but wagons can become cool; just look at the Europeans. The only drawback with the Sportback was a six-month wait time,
a small price to pay for originality. Now, what about our choice of color? Oh, they come in white? PERFECT. We’ll take one… and wait. Nobody else is going to have a white Ralliart Sportback, the ideal specimen of a project car.
When the car finally arrived, we couldn’t be any more pleased, nor could we contain our excitement. At least, that was how I was feeling. Other than the only time I’d driven it previously at the press launch – which, to be honest, was driven a few short miles in an unfamiliar city – the Ralliart Sportback would become a long-term project that I’d learn to love over the months of ownership. The first couple of months were regulated strictly to breaking the engine in, and it would be sourcing parts that would prove to be the biggest pain; companies simply didn’t offer any and they don’t carry over from the Evo X as you might expect. Chassis-wise, the only crossover part is the hood; the front fenders and bumper, and the entire rear suspension is all completely different. So as you can probably guess, the easiest aftermarket piece we could find was a Seibon carbon hood. Everything else would require a small wait as our partnering sponsors worked to find a solution for us.
And so the Ralliart remained stock for another few months. This gave me some time to think about what I would ultimately want as the end result for this project; that came to me when I saw a modified Audi A3 wagon while stuck in LA traffic. Now, for people who know me, they know that I love European wagons—especially white ones with a black roof, precisely the color of the A3 I saw that day. The shape was similar, it was slammed and the only other thing it had was a quad-tip exhaust; I had found the inspiration. Mixing JDM and EDM influences for a clean look. DC Sports had already designed an exhaust for the Ralliart sedan and it had already seen its way to another project car, so all that was needed was a test fit to make sure it lined up the same, and it did; the only difference being it’s a dual-tip versus a quad-tip I originally wanted. Under the hood, we didn’t touch much of anything. Knowing the car had to be returned stock, the plans to swap in the factory Evo X turbo and intercooler were thrown out the window; instead, DC suggested replacing the stock upper intercooler pipe with one of theirs to not only increase velocity and achieve a smooth and consistent flow, but to get rid of a stock piece that basically flexes and expands a lot more than you want; naturally, this upgrade was good for a small bump in power. We’ve yet to do a final dyno pass to see what all of DC’s bolt-ons tally up to, but our last trip with just the exhaust and a drop-in K&N filter resulted in 228hp and 236lb-ft.