I think we all have a dream car. You know what I’m talking about—that car that makes you turn your head and smile every time you see one. For the record, I’m not talking about a fantasy supercar like a Ferrari or Lamborghini. No, I’m talking about the attainable car that exists (and that normal folks can afford to own) and makes you look at your bank account and wonder, Can I make this happen? For me, this dream car is an all-original ’97 Acura Integra Type R. Lots of people would not understand what’s so special about that car. In many eyes, the ITR is simply a white Integra with a big spoiler on the back. But a few people do understand what makes it a special thing, and I’m one of them. The same could be said about Ali Zafar’s dream car, the Lancer Evolution. After all, a four-door Mitsubishi sedan is not exactly the most exciting sounding thing on paper, but as we all know, there’s much more to it.
Ali grew up as the oldest of four brothers and holds family values very high in his life. After discovering a passion for cars at a young age, Ali fell in love with the Evo and worked his butt off until he could finally swing the purchase of this ’06 GSR model. It wasn’t an easy or quick process. Ali owned a plethora of other vehicles along the way, including a Mazda 626, a Toyota Supra, several Honda Accords, and a few Integras to boot. Ali tells me he had all but given up hope of finding the perfect Evo until the day it practically fell into his lap.
“I was working at a car dealership at this point in my life, and my second youngest brother (whom I had gotten a job as a valet) came running across the shop screaming, waving, yelling that there was an Evo at the dealership,” Ali says. “As excited as I was to go see it, I knew it would only make me want it, but I couldn’t resist the temptation. As I walked into the showroom, a salesman shouted across the floor ‘Don’t even think about it, it’s mine!’ I was astounded how over the years everyone around me had grown to know how badly I wanted to own one of these machines.” After taking the car for a long testdrive and finally showing his friends and family what the fuss was all about, Ali got lucky when the aforementioned salesman had second thoughts. The car was available, so Ali crunched some numbers, got his ducks in a row, and finally became the owner of his long-time dream car.
The car didn’t stay stock for long, and it has been through several phases along the road to where it is today. Ali has always tried to keep the car modest, as if the array of top-shelf JDM parts on his car could even be called such. Perhaps “street friendly” is a better way of saying it. On the outside, Ali has added a few Voltex aerodynamics parts, including a front lower half bumper spoiler, aggressive looking side skirts, and a not-so-small GT Type 5 rear wing. He has gone a different route than the almost expected JDM Evo VII rear bumper by instead opting to keep the USDM bumper, accented by an APR rear diffuser. “I have always been big on safety; it’s always ‘safety first’ with me,” Ali tells me. “I really liked the look of the JDM rear bumpers but didn’t want it at the cost of modifying crash beams or bumper reinforcements. I looked far and wide for a solution, and thanks to my good friend Lucky at Tach Motor Works, I was able to acquire the APR rear diffuser, which mounted right up with the stock bumper and proved to be aerodynamic.” We like Ali’s thinking on this, because no one wants to sacrifice something like a crash beam, especially considering he drives around with his 3-and-a-half-year-old daughter on a routine basis.
The interior cabin of Ali’s Evo is quite lovely indeed, including the addition of a Recaro child’s seat for his “little princess.” Driver and passenger are held in place by Bride Vorga front seats, and the rear bench has been custom upholstered to match (along with the door panels.) A six-point Cusco rollcage is in place for style points, and Ali has even gone as far as including the much rarer optional cross bars. This ’cage is admittedly not ideal for road racing, but that’s OK. This isn’t a race car. Ali drives this thing everywhere he can. But don’t worry; this car is no slouch.
Ali has taken a good path with the performance aspect of his build, choosing to stay with stock internals and the stock turbo for reliability purposes. And before you write in about how your built 4G63 is reliable, save it—I’m talking about a real daily driven car here, something you never wonder if it’s going to pop. An AMS front-mount intercooler has been added for additional cooling capacity, and Ali has also upgraded the fuel system with a higher-capacity Walbro fuel pump and Perrin fuel rail to ensure his motor is receiving all the fuel it needs. The bay has a nice selection of aesthetic parts as well, including a Tomei spark plug cover, polished heat shield, custom-braided AN fit hoses, and a Titek carbon-fiber timing belt cover. It’s not all show and no go, though. An E-Spec ECU Tune is adequate to milk as much power out of the setup as is safe and, you guessed it, reliable. Ali is not trying to break any land speed records here, folks, he just wants to have a fun-to-drive car that packs enough punch to take people by surprise when the time is right. On that note, the suspension department has received modest upgrades as well in the shape of BC Racing BR Series coilovers, Cusco strut tower braces, and an array of Robispec adjustable arms and rear links. Since the Evo IX is such a fantastically well balanced car straight from the factory, it’s not necessary to go completely nuts when upgrading the suspension. These mods will work very well, and when combined with Falken ZIEK ZE-912 tires, should make for a very fun to drive machine. Ali rolls on Super Bright Chrome Advan RS-D wheels, and it’s worth noting that “Super Bright Chrome” is actually the name of this finish that Advan has come up with. They say sometimes Japanese companies lose things in translation, but not here. These are super bright, and very chrome! Rare also, according to Ali.
It all comes down to a well-balanced car, something Ali can proudly cruise down the boulevard in, take his wife and daughter on a long road trip with and not worry about breaking down, and even spank a few ricers along the way if he feels like it. But the most important thing about this car isn’t any of its parts or how fast it is. This is Ali Zafar’s dream machine, and he couldn’t be happier. Hopefully we will all be lucky enough to realize this same goal at some point in our lives.
Specs & Details
'06 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR
Engine Mitsubishi 4G63 turbocharged inline-4
Engine Modifications AMS front-mount intercooler; Injen intercooler piping; Hallman manual boost controller; Walbro 255-lph fuel pump; Perrin fuel rail; Helix v2 downpipe; Megan Racing test pipe; HKS carbon-ti exhaust w/custom piping, radiator cap, oil cap; DLI II ignition setup; Weapon R torque damper, coolant reservoir; Tomei spark plug cover; STM battery tie down, radiator brackets; Ralliart cooling shroud; custom polished braided hoses w/AN type fittings; polished aluminum heat shield; Titek carbon-fiber timing belt cover; Saiku Michi oil catch can; Blox front engine mount; Mishimoto aluminum radiator, silicone coolant hoses; MP Fab cam sensor shield; Votion T-bolt clamps; stainless steel hex bolts kit
Engine Management E-Spec ECU Tune
Drivetrain Speed source shifter bushings
Suspension BC Racing BR-series coilovers; CUSCO strut bar (f); ROBISPEC 4-way adjustable sway bar (r), trailing arm bushings, bumpsteer bushings (r)
Exterior VOLTEX front half bumper spoiler, side skirts, carbon-fiber GT Type 5 rear wing; Beatrush front under panel; APR rear diffuser; Carbign Craft carbon-fiber rear plate surround; Ralliart hood vent; C-West eyelids; Varis carbon-fiber B-pillar trim; OEM Mitsubishi window visors; Rexpeed vortex generator; S2000 short antenna; Kaixen 6000k HID headlights; custom vinyl decals; JDM taillights & side markers; Red Hella horns
Interior Bride Vorga carbon-fiber seats w/ Bride rails; Custom Bride wrapped rear seats & door panels w/ suede accents; CUSCO 6-point bolt in rollcage w/ cross bars; Takata long harness & eye bolts; ATI steering column-mounted gauge pod w/DEFI boost gauge & AEM wide-band; Greddy counterweight shift knob; custom-mounted Blitz turbo timer; Jensen in-dash flip-out monitor w/ backup camera; Broadway convex rearview mirror; Tyrant carbon-fiber armrest; Recaro Vivo Carbon Series child seat; Rexpeed carbon-fiber steering wheel cover; LED interior lighting; Aluminum Evo front sill plate trim
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Super Bright Chrome Advan RS-D wheels 18x9-inch +25mm; Falken ZIEX ZE-912 tires 245/40R18; DBA 5000 2-piece slotted rotors (f) 4000 slotted rotors (r); Works brake pads; Motul brake fluid