Great Britain is awash with Mitsubishi EVOs. Go to any one of their numerous track days and it is obvious that they are a popular weapon of choice. There's a lot to choose from, atleast among EVO Vs to VIIIIs.
Although it's from the same stable, an EVO III is an altogether rarer vehicle. This in no ordinary EVO III either; ordinary EVO IIIs don't kick out a scary 500 bhp-around twice as much punch as Mitsubishi ever intended. The man responsible for the many sightings of this rare car is Nigel Wilson from Wellingborough, England.
"To be honest when I went looking for a track car I didn't really have anything specific in mind," he says. The car was imported from Japan and already fitted with a rollcage. "The person who imported it had been thrashing it about on our poor quality fuel and it blew the engine, and he couldn't be bothered to replace it," he says. That didn't bother Nigel. At just 3,000 he thought it was perfect for a project car.
Nigel says he wasn't worried about buying a 10-year-old car with a limited selection of tuning parts available for it. He says he prefers to drive a car and be in control, rather than relying on computer-controlled modifications. That's not to say he doesn't appreciate the more modern EVOs, in fact his recent road cars have been an EVO VII FQ300 and an EVO VIII MR340.
With the block cracked, the EVO III's original engine was thrown away. "I did a lot of searching around the MLR forums to decide what to do with it," he says. "I did all the work myself. I've changed the spec several times over the past two years, including a full rebuild when it blew up."
Nigel started off with a standard turbo, then picked up a GT35. "Then I had to make a different manifold to make it fit together with a new intercooler and radiator, which both needed to be relocated to create enough room for the new turbo," he says. The original engine he built was around 360 bhp. When he rebuilt that with the larger turbo he was expecting considerably more, but it still didn't feel right so he went to WRC Technologies at Silverstone for some fine-tuning and expert advice. "I went to a rolling road day at WRC and it only got about 420 bhp. I was certainly expecting more," he says. WRC discovered he had the wrong spring fitted in his external wastegate; it was only a 0.5 bar spring. WRC fitted a 1.5 spring, which makes a big difference.
Nigel works with steel for a living and runs his own company so he can handle pretty much anything thrown at him when it comes to custom fabrication and installation. "When we removed the rear arches so we could fit bigger wheels we had to cut right through the door," he says. "I had a bit of an idea from a friend who does Banger racing where they weld up all the doors to strengthen the shell up. So that's what I decided to do."
He's also changed the paint scheme from black to red, which he reckons is much more a Mitsubishi color. The original rear wing wasn't adjustable so Nigel swapped it with a modified version from an EVO V.
AP Racing is responsible for the stopping power, along with mighty four-pot calipers at the front that grab hold of efficient-looking drilled discs, which were sourced from a passing Porsche 993 Turbo. Suspension is Cusco's domain. "The strut braces made a real difference, even with the rollcage," he says. "Now if you just jack up one corner it lifts the whole of that side of the car."
Nigel says the car is nice to drive on the track, but far too stiff to use for any distance on the road. "The clutch is either on or off; there's no slip in it at all," Nigel says. "It's well set up for the track with no real understeer or oversteer and doesn't slide much at all." The turbo comes in with a bit of a thump, but he says with the smaller housing there's not much lag. "It comes in at about 4,000 rpm," Nigel says. "There's no real lag because on a circuit I'm always over that anyway."
Engine build aside, the car has been reliable-if you don't count the gearbox problems. But Nigel's feeding twice as much power to it compared to a standard EVO III so he accepts it as an occupational hazard. At the moment he's on his third gearbox and it's always the teeth on third or fourth gear that break off while downshifting; they work their way to the crown wheel in the differential and then split the casing. The car is still driveable so he doesn't realize it has happened until the car fills with smoke from the gearbox oil leaking onto the exhaust!
Plans for the future include swapping to a dog box. Sure it ain't cheap but he thinks it would work be more cost effective in the long run without having to keep replacing it. And rather than give his new toy an easy life he plans to switch to Piper cams in an effort to improve midrange torque and raise the power to 550 bhp with 500 lb-ft of torque.
Why does he need even more? The answer's simple: he's preparing for the trip of a lifetime-a weeklong tour of Europe, taking in track sessions at Spa and the infamous Nurburgring, and he wants nothing holding him back.
Max Power: 500 Bhp & 430 Lb-Ft Torque
2.0L, 16V, DOHC 4G63
Arrow steel con rods
Phil Marks cams, springs & retainers
RGS Motorsport modified head
Garrett GT35.63 turbo
External wastegate & BOV
3-inch stainless steel exhaust
1,000cc Sard injectors
Sard fuel regulator
Custom pipe work
Alcon twin-plate ceramic clutch front & rear LSD
AP Racing four-pot calipers custom bells
Porsche 993 Turbo drilled discs
Hawk Blue brake pads
Wheels & Tires
18-inch Team Dynamics Pro Race 1 alloys
235/40 Toyo R888 tires
AVO twin adjustable coilovers with remote gas dampers
Cusco strut brace
Modified wheel arches
EVO V modified rear wing
Rear doors welded up
OMP steering wheel