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2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X - Building A Dream

Persistence And Commitment Pays Off Big Time

Charles Trieu
Feb 1, 2009
Photographer: Wes Allison

When 2008 came around, Rene Viniegra knew exactly what he wanted. He wanted a brand new car, preferably something AWD and turbo. Only but a few cars fit the prerequisites. The new Evo X had just been released with a new powerplant and aggressive styling from the previous generations. Mitsubishi redesigned the Evo to be better-looking and performing than the last. This was undoubtedly going to continue the Evo legacy with tuners, and this was the perfect platform for Rene to build.

After owning a few Nissans, (including an '04 350Z), this time around Rene wanted to build a car and go the full nine yards. His target was to build what most all of us dream to - an AWD turbo car, with both 'show and go'; something that could be respected for its show-stopping looks as well as its real performance upgrades. To add icing to his cake, one of his goals was to get the car featured in a magazine. Everyone needs a little ego boost sometimes. Over shooting his goal, Rene landed a spot on the cover of your's truly.

This Evo first caught my attention at the Import Showoff car show at Nisei week last August. I attended the show as I do every year. But this time, I was really hoping to see if anyone had built an Evo X. Since it was the hottest car released that summer and I couldn't wait to see what tuners would do with it. Although there were many crazy Evo VIIIs and IXs, there was only one Evo X that caught my eye. Rene's car was still factory white at the time and didn't have a body kit yet, but he had his wheels, seats and a few other small things. It was the most I'd seen the X modified here in the States, at the time. Seeing that he had such a new car modified already lead me to think he was going to be doing much more to the car.

After talking to Rene later on, I found out his plans were even bigger than I had hoped for. He was planning to have a complete body kit, a new full paint job and more all done for the SEMA show in November. Engine modifications? Yes, an AFI turbo manifold was being built for him, as well as plans to upgrade all the turbo components. With a target date only three months away, I thought he was going to be a letdown, and this would just turn into another one of those projects that never gets finished.

Wrong! After staying in touch with Rene, he assured me everything went as scheduled and he brought his car at the SEMA show just as planned. With several first-off parts installed, the car was completely covered in candy purple paint. With gender and sexuality aside, this color is f-ing hot. Candy paint is not easy to pull off cleanly on an import, nor is purple. I rarely like it, but I have to admit with all the simple clean JDM builds, it's nice to see someone mix in a little bit of bling and originality, and not accidentally step into the lame side of import tuning (circa '95 import car shows). I'm not sure how anyone, yet someone that's never done a build like this before, could build a brand new model car to this level so quickly. This has to be one of the very few Evo X in the States, at this level. If only more of us could come through and make our fantasy builds come to life. As Rene told us: "Take your time on a build and don't give up. Turn your dream car into reality."

With a personal invitation to our STi versus Evo Challenge last fall, Rene had planned to take the car to the track for a little fun. But due to a scheduling conflict with a pre-booked family vacation, he missed out. Hopefully this year, we'll see his car there, possibly with even more work done to it.

Fast Facts
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
Owner
Rene Viniegra
Hometown Irvine, CA
Daily Grind Sales & Marketing, M1 Autosport
Power 359 hp @ 4500 rpm, 353 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

Under The Hood2.0L 4B11T; AFI titanium turbo manifold; HKS intake, single exit exhaust, Fire Spark plugs, Hyper ground kit, and Type 2 turbo timer; MXP downpipe and test pipe; GReddy Type S blow-off valve, Type B boost controller; AGP intercooler kit and motor mounts; Password JDM blue washer kit; NRG hood dampers; Mishimoto radiator, hose kit, and cap; Nitrous Express kit; APR radiator cover

Drivetrain Spec Stage 2 clutch kit; Works short shifter, bushings, and knob

Brains ECU Tek

Stiff Stuff BC Racing coilovers; Robi Spec rear sway bar; Cusco rear strut bar

Rollers Volk LE37 18x9.5 Robi Spec Track Edition; Toyo T1-R 265/35R18; T1R purple lug nuts

Stoppers Brembo calipers; Works brake pads and stainless steel lines

Outside APR air dam, vortex generator, side mirrors, and GT300 wing; TiTek carbon hood scoop and carbon exhaust heat shield; M1 purple candy paint with violent pink PPG vibrance

Inside Kevlar Bride Lo-Max Gias seats; custom painted door trims and console; Stri boost, water temp, oil temp, and exhaust temp gauge; Personal Grinta suede steering wheel; Takata harness; Evo-R carbon crown cover, gauge panel; Sun Auto cigarette lighter

ICE Sound Stream V1-R touch screen headunit and components

Props Ryan and Kingston at Matt Press Corp and everyone from the M1 Autosport/DTM Autohaus family especially Long, Hoang, Hendry, MIA, Ray/David, Marwin, and Martin; KC, Tony, Johnny; Peter @ APR; Ben and John at AGP; Robi Spec; Mike and Jesse at AFI, Stan Chen at Toyo; Works; Calvin at Stri/ATI; Mike at Mishimoto; Randal at NX; Steve at Mackin; Shino at Lot USA; Jay at Evo-R; Nate and Edgar at HIN; Alex at TiTek; Mike at Road Race; John at J's Design Factory; Meguairs, Team RL2; RLadies; Iveth, Cindy, Chaba, and more. Sorry if I forgot anyone. And most importantly Grace Lanuza, Gerry, Danny, Brian and all my friends and family.

WWW afiturbo.com; apr-performance.com; bcracing-na.com; dtmautohaus.com; ecutek.com; evo-r.net; getnrg.com; greddy.com; hksusa.com; jsdesignfactory.com; m1autosport.com; mackinindustries.com; mishimoto.com; robispec.com; specclutch.com; tees-usa.com; titekusa.com; toyo.com

By Charles Trieu
161 Articles

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