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2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII SSL - Like A Rock

Engineering Reliability In A Tuner Car

Brad Elsinore
Nov 1, 2007
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper
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Any shop calling itself reputable is concerned with one key thing you're not. It's a concept called building a car to last. You see, shops don't want you pounding down the garage door when your turbo falls off on I-95 when you're going 175 mph. Having built many extreme-tuned Lancer Evolutions, the guys at Atlantic Motorsports in Gaithersburg, MD, quickly realized the need for a tried-and-true solution, so they set out to build a car that was a little bit more streetable than cars like the monster "Shop EVO" we featured in Mar. '07.

We're not saying there isn't a place for high-horsepower gigabuck cars, but that place might not be your driveway. Atlantic Motorsports put out a worldwide APB in an effort to find the most reliable parts, then figured out which of those worked best together. As the testing went on, a second goal developed. They needed not only to figure out which parts worked well with each other, but also which parts didn't break the factory stuff in the process.

The resulting combination is the car you see on the pages before you. Cory Peterson calls it, "A mild version of our extreme 'Shop EVO', built with streetability as the main goal." We call it the ultimate daily driver.

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The guys at Atlantic felt that in order to retain everyday drivability, a GT35R turbo was the biggest that could be used without sacrificing spool characteristics. Although the turbo necessitates the use of an external wastegate, Atlantic decided to sacrifice the badass noise of an open wastegate blowing off 19 pounds of boost against the asphalt. It's a daily driver and that means a visit to the impound lot is out of the question, so the noise and the fire were plumbed back into the exhaust. In order to keep underhood bling levels constant, the turbo and manifold were polished. The shiny turbo sends spent gases through a custom 3-inch downpipe and A'PEXi N1 exhaust.

Inside the head sit 280-degree bumpsticks, adjustable cam gears and a timing belt from HKS, which conspire to help the engine gulp large quantities of air at high rpms. ARP head studs keep the big metal blocks together when the boost gets excessive. Atlantic opted for an HKS DLI2 with Magnecor plug wires to fire off NGK BPR7IX spark plugs.

Like we said before, looking underhood is like looking into a bay of mirrors. You don't find this much bling at a Tampa strip club. An ARC oil catch can and radiator shroud reflect light everywhere. The stock valve cover has been high polished and now sports an Atlantic Motorsports spark plug cover and fuel rail - both high polished. Heck, even the Tein hood dampers are polished. A third damper from Stillway has the more purposeful job description of keeping the engine steady under acceleration in conjunction with Avid motor mounts.

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A Koyo radiator, along with Samco hoses and a SPAL fan keep everything cool. The TurboXS HyperFlow intercooler uses all hard piping and T-bolt clamps to ensure leak free boosting, while a TiAL blow-off valve is used to release boost pressure when the throttle plate closes. While goodies from HKS are responsible for engine timing, GReddy electronics are in charge of keeping the turbo in check. A GReddy Profec B Spec 2 regulates boost pressure while a turbo timer from the same manufacturer ensures proper cool-down after a long run.

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The GReddy electronics share the cockpit with a host of Defi BF Imperial gauges that detail boost, oil pressure, exhaust gas temperature, water temperature, oil temperature and fuel pressure. Basically, the only thing the array isn't able to display is the current temperature on the surface of the moon, so if the car is going to pop, Atlantic will know about it before it happens. An AEM UEGO wideband gauge is used to keep tabs on the air/fuel ratio when the boost kicks in. A Defi VSD heads-up display makes all of the information easy to access while hauling ass. As Cory puts it, "Looking down to focus on the cluster can be dangerous...plus the heads-up display gives the passenger something to freak out about. ("We're REALLY going 120 mph?!")

Atlantic Motorsports believes you can take a slow car and make it fun with the right suspension. "With that in mind, you can take a fast car and make it super fun with the right suspension," Cory says. After trying all sorts of lowering springs, and various coilover setups, the JIC FLT-A2 ended up being the perfect fit. Atlantic contends that the added adjustability over the FLT-A1 was worth the extra change. Along with the JIC's, a Progress rear anti-sway bar and Perrin endlinks help keep the car flat during cornering. An over-zealous Cory set the bar to its stiffest setting, only to find that the middle setting was the sweet spot for daily driving.

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A jungle gym of bolt-in steel piping stiffens the chassis and lets the suspension work the way it was designed to. An Autopower rear half cage was painted, matched and installed in the car, which also serves as a great mount for a camera when the Atlantic guys are out playing. There's a GT Spec trunk cage, modified to work with a Cusco triangle rear strut bar out back as well. In the front, you'll find Cusco Type 1 and 2 lower braces, with a Carbing front strut tower bar, along with their trick master cylinder brace and undertray. A set of Takata harnesses stay tucked away until play days.

Chrome Advan RS wheels in 18x9 often prompt the question, "Are those 19's?" The GTR face and resulting aggressive 29mm offset can be blamed for that. Unfortunately, the offset also means Atlantic is stuck using a 235/40R18 tire, but it still means business. Cory adds, "We rolled the fenders in order to give it the slammed look we love so much without concern of rubbing."

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Not wanting to go overboard with the exterior, Atlantic felt a Do-Luck chin spoiler did the front justice, while the cherry on top were Varis carbon-fiber intake ducts. They lend an aftermarket flavor to the stock front end. On the other hand, the factory JDM Mitsubishi rear bumper gives the car a distinctively aftermarket flavor too. "The shortened length, along with the built-in diffuser do a great job of trimming up the rear end," Cory says. HKS Kansai supplied the side skirt protectors to bring a little more carbon-fiber to the mix. Finally, to help finish off the black and white look, Atlantic installed a set of JDM EVO MR headlights and taillights.

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On its Dynomite Dyno, in-house tuner Mike Anders was able to squeeze just over 600 whp out of the 2-liter. As fun as that much power is, the guys recognize that attempting that much power for any period of time just isn't a great move with a stock bottom end. Tuned for a safer and more reliable 560 whp, the car has little trouble keeping up with the DC area traffic. Over the winter, the motor will be pulled and fitted with forged internals, so they can really push the power once more.

Mitsubishi 2005 EVO VIII SSL
Power Output: 600 Whp
Engine
GT35R Turbo Kit
HKS 280-degree Camshafts
HKS Cam Gears
ARP Head Studs
AutomotoSport Upper and Lower Intercooler Piping
Stillway Engine Damper
TiAL BOV
TiAL Wastegate
Turbo XS Hyperflow Front-mount intercooler
3-inch downpipe
A'PEXi N1 Exhaust
GReddy Profec Boost Controller
GReddy Turbo Timer
Weapon-R Coolant Overflow Tank
SMC Alcohol Injection
Tein Hood Dampers
ARC Oil Catch Can
ARC Oil Cap
ARC Cooling Panel
ARC Shift Knob
Technomechanica Spark Plug Cover
Technomechanica Fuel Rail
Technomechanica RAX Rear Air Extractors
Polished Valve Cover
Odyssey PC680 Battery
Koyo Radiator
ARC Radiator Cap
FAL Slim Fan
Fluidamper Crank Pulley
AEM EMS

Drivetrain
Carbonetic Twin-Plate Carbon Clutch

Suspension
JIC FLT-A2 Coilovers
Progress Rear Anti-Sway Bar
Cusco Rear Triangle Strut Bar
Carbing Front Strut Bar
Carbing Front Undertray
Cusco Type 1 and 2 Lower Braces
Russell SS Clutch LineMotul RB600 Brake Fluid

Brakes
Rotorpro Dimpled and Slotted Brake Rotors
Endless Brake Pads
Russell SS Brake Lines
Motul RB600 Brake Fluid

ExteriorJDM MR Headlights
JDM MR Taillights
Do-Luck Chin Spoiler
Varis CF Bumper Cooling Ducts
Mitsubishi MR Vortex Generator
Perrin Shorty Antenna
JDM Mitsubishi Rear Bumper
Rexspeed CF Rear Spoiler

InteriorAEM UEGO Wideband
Defi BF: Boost, EGT, Oil Pressure, Oil Temp, Water Temp and FuelPressure GaugesDefi VSD HUD
Carbon-Fiber Dash Gauge Pod
Carbon-Fiber Armrest
Gauge Works Glove Box Gauge Pod
Sparco Suede Steering Wheel
Works Bell QuickRelease Splash HubAutopower Rear Half Cage (paint matched)
Takata Harnesses
GT-spec Rear Trunk Cage
Alpine 9855 Head Unit
Alpine CD Changer
Alpine iPod Adapter
Alpine 545 Amp
Alpine and DLS Speakers
Custom CF Front Door Panels
Dynomat

Wheels/Tires
Advan RS 18x9 GTR Face (chrome),+29 offset
Dunlop 235/40R18 Tires

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By Brad Elsinore
3 Articles

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