If this car doesn’t look familiar to our regular readers, then its previous owner, Las Vegas’ Charleston Penesa, has done his job. Again. This 500-plus wheel-horsepower ’06 EVO IX of his is the exact same one that appeared in our Mar. ’10 issue, painted bright orange and rolling polished Enkei RPF1s (“Orange Alert” http://bit.ly/owHdIk). Seems the joys of painstakingly sinking $25K into building his EVO into near-legendary status were so great that he decided to tear it down completely and do it all over again. Why? “Eh,” Charleston says. “Seemed like a fun thing to do.”
Of course, a lot of parts were retained from the car’s previous build. Charleston may be one of the more driven individuals to ever completely tear down and rebuild their cars, but he knows not to fix what ain’t broke. On the outside, the car’s complete APR Evil-R widebody kit remains (though now slathered in BASF Teal Blue pearl paint) in part because it’s simply one of the cleanest, most complete and functional widened kits on the market, especially when complemented by APR’s aerodynamically engineered carbon-fiber front lip spoiler and canards. The Seibon carbon hood and trunk also remain; those eyelids were about the only exterior mod to have been added later in the car’s life, aside from those white Gram Lights.
Now might be a good time to drop a little Team Hybrid knowledge. Founded in 1995, they quickly grew to become the pioneers of SoCal import culture in its heyday, their brightly colored, highly modified rides serving as flagships for the import movement in the public eye. Picture your typical Southern California–tuned import, and the image that springs to mind is undoubtedly along the lines of something Team Hybrid’s built over the years. An original Team Hybrid m ember, Charleston has been able to exhibit that flare in everything he’s built, with this EVO first in its bright orange iteration, and now in this teal/white second coming. Admittedly, we weren’t the biggest fans of Charleston’s original orange color-matched interior bits and the contrasting Takata green paint on his Cusco ’cage. Covering those orange bits in carbon-fiber vinyl this time around was a cleaner choice, and the unapologetically bolt fuchsia paint covering the Cusco ’cage now paradoxically complements the bright teal exterior every bit as much as it contrasts it, in that O.G. import flavor. Status Ring seats have been updated to Bride VIOS, the Takata belts remain (why replace perfection?), and the Pioneer AVIC N-3 head unit of the old build has been replaced by a solid carbon-covered panel; an equally capable Sony XAV-60 head unit can now be found below it all.
When we arrived in Oxnard, CA, for our second photo shoot of Charleston’s EVO, we were surprised to learn Essex Olalia, fellow Team Hybrid member, now holds the keys to this beast, having bought it from Charleston just weeks prior to our shoot. And in standard Team Hybrid dedication, he drove it from Las Vegas for our shoot—across hundreds of miles of desert, over some mountains, and through L.A. traffic. Which brings us to our final point about this car: its reliability. As Team Hybrid President James Lin points out, gutted, track-prepped cars make crappy daily drivers, just as ground-scraping, fiberglassed show cars do, or anything with an overbuilt engine requiring race fuel, constant rebuilds, or huge payoffs to make “technically” legal. This EVO falls victim to none of that. Its full Brian Crower internals, Buschur Racing turbo system, Mizu cooling system, and reflashed stock ECU remain as reliable and powerful today as when Charleston added them years ago. At the time we shot, this was Essex’s daily driver.
“My goal all along was to have a comfortable, good-looking, quick car that I could enjoy every day,” he says. “I worked closely with Charleston to learn everything I could about the car before I bought it—all its little quirks, all the parts that went into it—and so far, it’s everything I’ve expected.” But that’s not to say he’s satisfied enough to put the tools away just yet. “I still have to make it mine,” he says. “The next time you see it, the interior will be gutted, black with a white ’cage, and I’ll be changing out the suspension and prepping it for autocross and the occasional time-attack. I’ll probably change out the color again after that; this time to something a little more subtle.” It turns out not everyone’s a fan of that classic import style—a testament to Team Hybrid’s evolving presence in the modern day. Still, some things don’t change. When asked why he wanted to take his car in the direction he does, Essex simply replied, “Eh . . . seems like a more fun thing to do.”
Seems the joys of painstakingly sinking $25K into building his EVO into near-legendary status were so great that he decided to tear it down completely and do it all over again.
Behind the Build
medical assistant/medical biller
family and friends, working on cars, Team Hybrid and Hybrid Hunnyz
“Building a car isn’t just adding parts. Think of the car’s purpose, and don’t sacrifice performance just for looks.”
’06 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX
Engine Brian Crower crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, 280-degree camshafts; HKS Super Induction intake, Carbon TI cat-back exhaust, front-mount intercooler and pipes; Buschur Racing 3076R turbocharger; Forge Performance blow-off valve. Tial wastegate; Halman boost controller, GReddy FATT turbo timer; Mizu radiator, fans; Mishimoto hoses; RC Engineering 1,000cc/min fuel injectors, Walbro 255-lph fuel pump, MSD DIS-2 Plus ignition; Cusco turbo manifold heat shield; PCM-reflashed ECU by Thomas Ribble
Suspension Endura Tech front and rear coilovers; Energy Suspension Master Urethane bushing kit; Cusco rollcage, radiator support brace
Wheels/Tires Volk Racing Gram Lights wheels (18x9.5 +15mm); BFGoodrich KDW tires (265/35-18); Work aluminum lug nuts
Brakes Rotora six-piston front calipers, four-piston rear calipers, two-piece slotted rotors
Exterior APR Evil-R front bumper, rear bumper, side skirts, front fenders, carbon-fiber front lip splitter, canards; Seibon carbon-fiber hood, trunk, BASF teal blue paint, applied by Spring Mountain Autobody; vinyl decals by Brian of BCE Design
Interior Bride VIOS Lowmax carbon/Kevlar front seats; Takata harnesses; Nardi Deep Corn steering wheel; custom red suede interior accents, headliner, stitching, carbon-fiber vinyl
Electronics Greddy boost gauge, shift light; Sony XAV-60 head unit, XVM-B62 LCD monitors (x2), XM ZZR3301 Class D amps (x3), XM ZR704 amps (x2), GTX 16215 speakers (x2), XSGT 1626A speakers (x2), XS-LD106P5 10-inch subwoofers (x3), rearview camera (x1)
Gratitude God, for all His blessings; my mom and dad; my fiancé, Camille Ramos; founder/president of Team Hybrid and Hybrid Hunnyz James Lin; the extended Team Hybrid fam, especially LV chapter director Archie Concon; BFGoodrich Tires; Sony; Meguiar’s; NOS Energy Drink; Alfred Mortel; Marc Cuyugan; Omarc Carticiano; Ricky Tolentino; Brian of BCE Design; Richard Celestino; Mark Aquino; Filipino Auto Body; H1 Performance; Spyke Salvoza of S4S Autohub