If you are anything like us (based on your choice of reading material it might be safe to assume that you are) you may have spent a good amount of your youth playing video games. Why is it that the majority of the games we bought were of a very distinct genre? Whether your game of choice was Gran Turismo or Tokyo Extreme Racer, they all consisted of the same essential ingredients—cars, the ability to change the way they drove, and, of course, the ability to control them around a set course. The limits of the law set on us as children, although necessary, can be quite frustrating at times. Especially when the only thing you want is to call a car your own, change it to the point where it is completely yours, and most importantly, physically get behind the wheel and drive it. There is no way to satisfy that craving as a child. However, through virtual reality you can subdue it, distracting yourself to the point where you might even forget about the emptiness for a few hours. For Daniel Sarmiento this was exactly the case, he shared with us that while growing up, he spent excessive amounts of time on his PlayStation, playing anything from the aforementioned Gran Turismo to Midnight Club to Need For Speed. He dreamed about the day that he could finally take the leap from video games into reality, from his couch to the seat of a real car.
The 25-year-old from Queens, NY, purchased this beautiful gray monster you see here in November of 2004. Surprisingly, he managed to leave it alone until May of the following year. As soon as he decided to modify it, things just snowballed from there. For many people the aggressive body lines, capable suspension, and ample power that the Mistubishi Lancer Evolution boasts in stock form is more than enough, but not Daniel. The first thing that might strike you as out of the ordinary is the exterior of the car. The choice in aero parts is anything but common. A GP Sports Chockets front bumper dominates the front of the car and guarantees a double take, INGS +1 side skirts keep the silhouette uniform up to the rear wheelwells. Perhaps surprisingly, an OEM Japanese rear bumper from the EVO IX brings up the rear. Despite being the aerodynamic equivalent of a plot twist when considering the rest of the aero, when paired with the Voltex diffuser the rear bumper suits the car extremely well. A hood and spoiler, both from Voltex adds to the very businesslike demeanor of the car, small details such as the Japanese headlights and taillights make all the difference when viewing the car as a whole.
With the car looking as mean as it does, it definitely needs to move in a manner that does justice to the aerodynamic enhancements, and we assure you that, move it does. The 4G63 engine was torn apart and reassembled with ARP head studs and HKS 272 cams replacing the stock counterparts. A Walbro fuel pump sucks fuel out of the tank and sends a seemingly endless stream to the 1,000cc PTE injectors. Justification for such a large amount of fuel ready to be shot into the chambers comes in the form of a BorgWarner S259 turbo. Exhaust gasses are channeled to the turbo in a Full Race manifold and leaves through either a Full Race elbow and downpipe or a Tial wastegate, and finally exits through a Greddy Ti-C exhaust. Boost levels are kept in check by an HKS EVC5 and a Turbo XS intercooler keeps intake temps as low as possible. This recipe is good for a reliable 500 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, thanks to the cooling provided by a PWR slim radiator and Flex-a-lite fans. Having this sort of power at your disposal must be an amazing feeling, liberating even, after years of feeling nothing but numb controller vibration when piloting virtual monsters such as an Escudo Pikes Peak around Trial Mountain.
Speaking of numb, we’ve all learned from years of budgeting the money we won at the Sunday Cup that buying nothing but power upgrades doesn’t lead to fast lap times but a quick trip into the wall. Daniel knew he wanted nothing to do with the stock suspension. As capable as it is, it wasn’t nearly as stiff or responsive enough for his taste. A set of Tanabe Sustec Pro Seven coilovers stiffened up the ride and brought the car a bit closer to the ground. In this day and age when everything is electronic, many coilovers are available with dampening level adjustment from the comfort of your cabin. In this case the TEAS system by Tanabe was fitted to the car. The stock alignment adjustment range proved to be adequate so the stock arms were kept. Each corner of the car was fitted with an 18x9 Advan RG2 wheel wrapped in a Yokohama S.drive tire and secured to the hub by Project Kics Revo R40 lug nuts. The white wheels complement the custom teal powdercoated calipers quite well, all the while adding refreshing contrast to the darker color of the car.
Unlike a video game in which you can drive your car in third-person view, in reality you spend the majority of your time with a car sitting within it. Daniel shows that he spared no expense securing the best parts an automotive interior can be comprised of. If you were to peek into his car at a show or meet, the word Bride could quite possibly become forever etched into your brain as it is on practically every flat surface in the car. Starting with a pair of Bride Zeta bucket seats for himself and a lucky passenger, two Bride seat rails secure them to the floor, Bride gradation fabric wraps the rear seats, headliner, and even the rear decklid. Even the floormats are—you guessed it—Bride. Providing a break from all the shades of gray are a couple of Takata harnesses draped across the seats and an ARC shift knob perched atop the shifter. Arguably, your steering wheel may be the single part of your interior that you spend the most time in contact with, so it seems natural that no cost should be spared on choosing one for your car. Of course a 350mm Nardi Sports Type Deep Corn steering wheel and Works Bell quick release are attached to the steering column with a Works Bell hub. A Pioneer Z110BT touch screen head unit provides visual and audio entertainment. Four Defi BF gauges mounted to the dash provide the interior with a soft amber light while providing vital readings on boost, water temperature, oil pressure, and oil temperature.
It’s always a great feeling when you accomplish a goal, but we think that achieving a childhood dream is something especially gratifying. I’m sure we can all relate to the desire Daniel felt playing various games, to just have a car to call his own. Perhaps a few readers have yet to buy their first car, and playing video games and reading magazines are all you can do at the moment. Oftentimes when somebody dreams of building a car for so long before they actually have the means to do it, it really turns out special. This EVO is the perfect example, after almost seven years of ownership it’s really become something extraordinary and most importantly something tangible that Daniel can call his own creation.
Behind the Build
Queens Village, NY
2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR
Engine ARP head studs; BorgWarner S259 turbo; Flex-a-lite slim radiator fan; Full Race T3 manifold, turbo elbow, and downpipe; Gates timing belt; Greddy Ti-C exhaust; HKS 272 cams, EVC 5 boost controller; Kinetic battery; NGK spark plugs; PTE 1000cc injectors; PWR Slim radiator; Ralliart Radiator cooling panel; STM short route intercooler piping; Tial 50mm blow off valve, 44mm MV-R wastegate; Turbo XS intercooler; Walbro 255 fuel pump; Zaklee clear cam cover
Wheels/Tires Advan RG 2 (18x9+29); Project Kics Revo r40 lug nuts; Yokohama S.drives (255/35-18)
Brakes Custom painted Brembo calipers
Exterior GP Sports Chokets front bumper; Ings +1 Hybrid side skirts; JDM EVO IX rear bumper, JDM EVO VIII MR headlights and taillights; Voltex rear diffuser, rear spoiler, and hood
Interior ARC shift knob; Bride Zeta Type L seats, rails, headliner, floormats, rear seats, and decklid; Cusco rollcage; Defi BF amber boost gauge, water temp gauge, oil pressure gauge, and oil temp gauge; Takata harness; Works Bell steering hub and quick release; Nardi 350mm Deep Corn steering wheel
Audio Hertz HSK 163.4 three-way component speakers and HCX 165.4 coaxial speakers; JL Audio 6w3v3 x 6 subwoofer, Slash 300/4 x 2, and Slash 500/1; Pioneer Z110bt head unit
Gratitude Jonathan Ventura, Ali Zafar, Martin Muniz, Ryan Reyes, and Najeeb Faridi for creating the monster I have built. Big ups to the whole ACE/ High End East Coast crew.