David Says: I’ve always wanted to own a Mitsubishi Evolution. Even with the current ones loaded with all the fancy electronics, my favorite is still the first-generation body style EVO I–III. Short of importing a gray market RHD version, it was clear that if I was to ever own one in the U.S., I’d have to build my own. I decided to hunt down a fourth-gen, four-door Mirage and transplant the guts of a first-gen AWD DSM. I love the DSM cars, but I was never into coupes, and the Galant VR-4 was too heavy and rare. After running some preliminary numbers, I estimated about a 500-lb weight saving over the DSM with this conversion. Most people recommended getting the Lancer GSR/EVO “back-half” instead of messing with the DSM parts. This would provide the floor pan that would have all the mounting locations to allow the suspension components to bolt right up. The DSMs use a bolt-in subframe, which is perfect for a swap like this once you fabricate the mounts to attach it. The project took a lot of measuring and checking, but once all the cutting and welding was complete, I ended up with a car that all my replacement components can be sourced locally — a true USDM car.
Just by looking at it, this Mirage would hardly convince anyone of its performance capabilities. Whether I’m at an autocross, rallycross or the dragstrip, there are always a lot of curious questions. It’s always fun mentioning that the car is also AWD before they get over the fact that it’s a 4G63T conversion.
We Say: With the simple exterior and just a hint of the front mount poking underneath the bumper, this Mirage is a nice-looking sleeper that we can’t help but like. The swap sounds like its been done right, and judging by the photos, the car gets used and abused. Thumbs up for a great build that you’ve done on your own.
Specs & Details
'89 Mitsubishi Mirage
Engine 2.0-liter 4G63 turbocharged 4-cylinder
Engine Modifications Stock bottom end w/ balance shafts removed; hand-ported head & intake manifold; ported EVO III 16G turbo, manifold & O2 housing; 2.25" intake w/ EVO IX intercooler; manual boost controller; 3" exhaust; 8-gallon Fuel Safe fuel cell
Drivetrain Fidanza Lightweight flywheel & heavy-duty clutch
Engine Management Stock ECU
Suspension Maroon Racing custom coilovers w/ Koni 8611 double adjustable inserts
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Tarmac: MB Weapon 17x8" wheels w/ Falken Azenis RT615 235/40R17 tires; Rallycross: Dodge Caravan 15x6.5" steelies w/ Michelin Rally 175/60R15 tires; Talon master cylinder; Talon Interior 13" Ralliart steering wheel; Talon Ralliart short shifter; Stewart Warner tach, oil pressure & boost gauge; Cobra Monaco Pro Racing seats; custom-built 8-point rollcage
Numbers Best quarter-mile time: 12.67 seconds at 111 mph (on older setup w/ ported 14B & Talon side-mount intercooler) 2:19 at VIR full course at 10 psi4-wheel discs