When it comes to building EVOs these days it seems that most are falling into a formulated idea, much the way Hondas have suffered the past few years. One person does something interesting and everyone else bites into. Take for example the Voltex aero kit, sure it's an excellent looking setup, but it seems as if people dare not build an EVO without one. When sifting through the sea of EVOs at this year's Nisei festival, this purple-to-pink flopping IX stood out like a sore thumb.
I'm by no means the authority on building cars, let alone anything on the Mitsubishi platform, but I really like what Paul Gongora has done. To me there are really three aspects to the build of any particular car: the overall stance/appearance of the vehicle, the physical cleanliness and quality of the build and finally the philosophy behind the build. It might just be one of my anal quirks since most people tend to throw the philosophy portion to the wayside, but it truly makes or breaks a car in my eyes.
Paul's philosophy for this build was straight-forward and executed brilliantly. It's simple, build something different that makes sense and looks right. He essentially pieced together an HKS Kansai Service catalog vehicle, despite what the current hype might be. "Make sure you do you" Gongora tells me "Don't follow the trend, set the trend." I couldn't have said it better myself. Anyone else with like-minded themed builds, will also agree that it's not something you get right on your first car, and Paul's case is no exception.
It takes time to listen to the voice inside your head and create something well-thoughtout. Usually our first car build consists of whatever new part we can afford at that time and immediately slap on the car, rather than saving and combining parts that function in unison. Gongora's first build was a 1998 Honda Prelude, a car he didn't speak too highly of. He did modifications that were popular at the time, such as a front-end conversion among other things, but when all was said and done something just didn't feel right about the car. "To me the Prelude was a baby step..." he says "[built] with other people's influences."
I went on in conversation for a while about how I don't understand why so many people are unable to build cars for themselves. I see it all too often on Internet forums, people make polls like "what wheels should I get?" or "what color should I paint my car?" I suppose some might ask for reassurance, but the majority just want to build a car to impress other people. I really think our scene needs more individuals building to the beat of their own drums, even if that means doing something wacky like a Daewoo with an RB26, if that's what makes the owner happy, I'm into it. "I felt that after the Prelude, I wanted to build a car for myself" Paul agrees.
When he first picked up the EVO he had thoughts, as many of us do, of keeping it stock. Needless to say, the plan failed miserably as Gongora started collecting many of the parts you see on these pages. When the time had come and the car was all together the "keep it stock idea" had crashed, burned and smoldered to a crisp. Although he had to wait for a number of parts to arrive from Japan (and is still waiting on others), he was able to assemble this wineberry monster in a matter of a year. "I learned patience not only in my team life, but in my personal life."
Fortunately for you, patience isn't needed to enjoy the fruits of Paul's labor. It's okay to take a minute and indulge in the immaculate paint job or the full black suede interior. By now, you have most likely noticed the in-dash DVD player, but what about the screens in the visors? While show cars aren't necessarily my forte, I have to admit that everything on the inside of the car was done extremely well. No hack job wiring, no cheap embossed tweed, not even colored window tint. But my favorite part wasn't the audio gear, not the suede (although it is very gangster) or even the Bride Cugas... no it was in fact the most overlooked portion of any interior that caught my eye, the HKS Kansai Service floor mats.
I love seeing cars that get that little extra piece that puts the build into completion and these mats do that beautifully. I know it's hard to top the HKS cage, or the HKS bumper perfectly molded to embrace the matching intercooler, but I like people that pay attention to detail. "I just had to follow through," Paul tells me, and follow through he did. The whole bracing structure, suspension, engine components and a slew of other parts are all HKS pieces. If he had any more HKS gear the car would probably be shot for the next catalog.
Although I'm not as keen on audio gear as I am performance parts, I know enough to understand that the stereo in this EVO is up to par with the go fast portions. Three 12" JL Audio W7 subwoofers were installed into the car's custom enclosure by Creative Audio of El Monte California. In order to push that much sound each W7 is powered by its own dedicated JL Audio 1000/1 amplifier. I'm pretty sure with that amount of bass after a short ride, I would become permanently impotent, not to mention deaf. Accompanying the other three amps in their custom rack is a final JL Audio 450/4 amplifier installed to power the MB Quart door Speakers.
As loud as this Mitsubishi may be, both visually and audibly, you might not be feelin' it. The color alone might be cause for you to be quick to reach for the haterade. But rather than dissing something different, be it this car or another, I would like to foster you towards being more open-minded. The last thing we need now is a bunch of look-alikes and my hat is off to those who dare to be different. At the end of the day it's your car, the only person's opinion that should really matter is your own. As Malcolm Muggeridge once said, "Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream."
2006 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX
Owner Paul Gongora
Daily Grind Student/Professional Bum
Under The Hood 2.0L Turbo-charged 4G63 MIVEC engine; HKS Kansai Service carbon-fiber spark plug cover, Kansai Service carbon-fiber intake box, Kansai Service downpipe, Kansai Service head gasket, Intake cam gear, timing belt, balancing belt, valve springs, valve retainers, carbon Ti exhaust, suction intake, R-Spec intercooler, intercooler piping; Sard oil catch can, fuel pressure regulator; Robi Spec carbon-fiber fuse box cover; Walbro 255 fuel pump; Blitz/Denso 1000cc injectors; Okada plasma direct ignition spark, Beatrush under panel
Drivetrain HKS dual-plate clutch
Brains HKS turbo timer, DB boost gauge, DB exhaust temp gauge, DB Oil temp gauge, I/F link unit
Stiff Stuff Hipermax 3 coilovers, Kansai Service front and rear strut bars, Kansai Service front and rear sway bars, Kansai Service sub frame brace, Kasai service 6-point roll cage
Rollers 18X9 Advan RS wheels; 255/35ZR/18 BFGoodrich KDW tires
Stoppers Stock EVO IX Brembo brakes
Outside HKS Kansai Service front bumper, Kansai Service oil cooler guide, Kansai Service carbon-fiber front lip, Kansai Service carbon-fiber hood, Kansai Service carbon-fiber mirror covers; Varis 10mm wide carbon-fiber fenders, carbon-fiber fender air guides, carbon- fiber trunk, Super Taikyu side skirts, Super Taikyu carbon-fiber side skirt diffuser, carbon-fiber rear diffuser; JDM EVO IX rear bumper; PPG Wineberry candy paint
Inside Bride Cuga seats; Takata harnesses w/gel pads; full black suede custom interior w/partial tweed; HKS Kansai Service floor mats, shift knob; Nardi black suede steering wheel; Ralliart carbon-fiber shift console, Works Bell steering hub and quick release
Ice (3) JL Audio 12" W7 subwoofers, (3) 1000X1 amplifiers, 450/4 amplifier; MB Quart front and rear speakers; Eclipse 8" double-DIN TV w/Navigation; (2) Nesa 7" visor monitors; (2) Optima yellow top batteries; Creative Audio custom monitor enclosure, subwoofer enclosure, amplifier rack and back speaker enclosure
Props I would like to thank my family for their understanding, my wonderful and patient girlfriend, James Lin of Team Hybrid, Team Hybrid my second family, HybridHunnyz.com, all the wonderful people at Creative Audio (thank you Ryan and the Creative family), DTM Autobody, the Filipino Usher and the wonderful cameraman Sean for taking me to the wonderful places in downtown LA