If you're a Mitsubishi enthusiast, we can all agree it's been quiet the last few years in terms of new and exciting cars. Don't get us wrong, we loved every minute building and driving our Ralliart project car, but it doesn't quite match up to the feel and performance of an Evo. It's hard to believe that eight years have gone by since the most current Lancer Evolution X hit our streets. With that said, the buzz level for the Mitsu brand has been down, however we can still appreciate well-built cars when we see themwhich brings us to this this custom-painted blue Evo that we discovered at Wekfest Hawaii last year. We'll admit it's not the latest hot shit or the most custom project car that typically graces our cover, but this build has all the right ingredients equipped on one of the best tuning platforms available.
Comparatively speaking, the Evo VIII looks a tad dated and doesn't have the low-end torque and advanced handling of the Evo X model. However don't be fooled by its age, it's still an amazing driving machine even by today's standards. The Evo VIII was America's first sample of Mitsubishi glory back in 03. It came with the full package out of the box271hp and 275 lb-ft, turbocharged, Brembo brakes, Recaro seats, all-wheel drive and more. Backed by the vehicle's success in World Rally Championship and time attack, it was no mystery why the car became an icon in not only the Japanese car scene but also worldwide. These reasons were more than enough for Hawaiian native Darwin Fernandez to take on this Evo VIII as his next project car.
To many of us, the island of Oahu is paradise. But for car guys and girls, it's an outright challenge. Hawaii isn't exactly the tuner capital of the world; in fact, it's one of the hardest places to build a carvery few shops to work with, outrageous shipping costs, limited open roads and not a single racetrack. But that didn't stop Darwin... "I started the car in '08 and slowly worked on it here and there when I had free time," he explained. "I had to divide my time between working two jobs. I did most of the wrenching, but shipping to Hawaii is a nightmare. Sometimes shipping is more expensive than the parts!"
Despite the upcoming damage to his wallet, Darwin wasn't going to back down. He set out to create the sickest Evo possible. To start, the exterior was outfitted with the finest gear any Evo VIII owner could get without diving into any custom fabrication. The front-end sports the popular Cyber Evo bumper made by Voltex. Add in carbon accents like the front lip, canards, C-West hood and Ralliart mirrors, plus JDM goodies such as the rear bumper and lights, there's no question why this Evo could easily win a car show.
Peeking inside, the cockpit proved to be just as immaculate with Bride buckets and Takata harnesses. You can even find the rear bench upholstered with the same Bride fabric to match. Dope!
The rest of the magic was hidden under the hood. While Darwin wasnt going to need 800hp on the island, he aimed for enough power to show that his Evo could be king of the streets. Starting with the cylinder head, its upgraded with Supertech springs and titanium retainers, along with 272° cams for a quicker valvetrain. Theres a gang load of HKS and ARC products thrown into the equation from the exhaust, downpipe, intercooler and radiator to the covers, intercooler pipes, oil and rad caps, and more. A Forced Performance turbo kit and uprated fuel system finishes off the inline-four. All that was left was a final tune taken care of by Chris Black from AMS Performance. The end result? 474.19whp and 389.65 lb-ft of usable torque, more than enough Hawaiian punch to embarrass any M3 or STI on the island.
You might be saying to yourself this car is pretty damn tame. But the truth is, Evos are already a solid performance street car from the get-go. All Darwin had to do was supply his own formula of performance and handling upgrades, plus a hardcore JDM style. While this Evo isn’t going to set any lap records or go up against dedicated show cars with custom bodywork, this street-built Evo VIII is one of the cleanest examples we’ve encountered in not just Hawaii but across the United States.
2004 Mitsubish Lancer Evolution VIII
Hometown Waipahu, Hawaii
Occupation Department of Public Safety
Power 474.19whp, 389.65 lb-ft
Engine 2.0 liter 4G63 inline-four with Forced Performance RED turbo kit; ported & polished turbo dump and Buschur exhaust manifold; ARC front-mount intercooler, aluminum radiator, blue aluminum oil cap, radiator cap, thermostat, Super Intake induction box, titanium upper intercooler pipe, tri-color spark plug cover, radiator shroud and manifold cover; HKS SSQ black blow-off valve, muffler, cat-back exhaust, downpipe, 272/272 cams, cam gears, head gasket, Fine Tune balance belt and lower intercooler pipe; Supertech valve springs and titanium retainers; ARP head studs; 880cc RC injectors; AMS red fuel rail; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; SARD fuel pressure regulator; Cusco motor mounts; Samco turbo induction pipe, upper and lower radiator hoses, vacuum hoses; Varish carbon-fiber cam gear cover and fuse box; Nisei billet battery tray and tie down; Kinetic battery; titanium dress-up bolts; billet power steering cap; engine damper and valve cover powdercoated sparkle silver blue; Sun Auto Force ignition system and grounding kit; Still Way engine damper; aluminum coolant reservoir
Drivetrain Five-speed manual with HKS Max twin-plate clutch
Engine Management Tuned by Chris Black of AMS; HKS electronic boost controller, EVC monitor unit and idler stabilizer; A’PEXi turbo timer
Footwork & Chassis HKS Hypermax II coilovers; Garage HRS front strut bar; Cusco rear strut bar
Brakes Project Mu lines, pads and rotors
Wheels & Tires 18x9.5" +22 Volk Racing TE37SL wheels; 235/40R18 Toyo Proxes tires; Project Mu super-lock lug nuts
Exterior Voltex Cyber Street front bumper, carbon-fiber front lip, rear diffuser and Type 9 rear wing, twin canards; JDM rear bumper, side markers, pearl black vortex generator, short antenna, window deflector, headlights, taillights and carbon-fiber side skirt extensions; Ralliart carbon-fiber side mirrors; C-West carbon-fiber hood; painted pearl blue with pearl black roof
Interior Defi gauges, control unit; ARC titanium shift knob; Bride Gradation front racing buckets, back seats, floor mats; Takata harnesses; Ralliart aluminum pedals, center armrest, rearview cover, carbon shift panel and dash trim; Kenwood head
Thank you My wife Krystal Fernandez, Fiel Jarlego at 3rd Gear Motorsport, Chris Black at AMS Performance, Ryan Nakamura at Tech One Customs, Brian Duong at Mackin Industries