Shortly after the birth of my wife’s first child, I decided that my heavily modified Nissan 240SX wasn’t of much use to me constantly sitting in the garage. I decided to pick up a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution for several reasons, including the fact that it is pretty capable out of the box and its AWD platform would be perfect for year-round driving here in Michigan.
Most of you can probably relate to the game plan I had in my head- I’ll keep the modifications simple and street worthy. A set of coilovers, some nice wheels and tires, and an aftermarket exhaust should bring plenty of enjoyment. Perhaps an Evo IX front bumper conversion or JDM lighting someday, but even that might be a stretch.
If you’re after Voltex pieces in the United States and you want the real deal without a long wait time, Evasive is definitely the place...
After owning the car for about five months, I found myself with the very car I had told myself I would own when I bought it - and I was bored. With the Work CR Kai wheels and KW V3 coilovers installed, the car handled well and looked the part. I had completed the Evo IX front bumper conversion with SE lip, as well as JDM lighting all around. While the car looked tough and remained functional for every day use, I felt that the exterior appearance still left something to be desired. The Evo felt a bit too tame and conservative, and with the engine and interior still fairly stock, I knew I couldn’t call it quits just yet.
It was at this point that I decided to get in touch with Mike at Evasive Motorsports for some help in the aero department. I’ve been in love with Voltex aero components since I started to have an interest in Evos, and I had always hoped I’d have a chance at owning some of its products down the road. Evasive is the official US importer of all things Voltex, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had all of the items I was after in stock at their warehouse in California - how cool is that? All of the Japanese goodness without having to endure the painful wait while parts cross the pond on the slow boat. If you’re after Voltex pieces in the United States and you want the real deal without a long wait time, Evasive is definitely the place to talk to.
My initial order from Evasive arrived about a week after I placed the order. I decided to go with the Voltex Evo IX street front lip and side skirts. I was relieved to see that the front lip was constructed of thick and flexible polyurethane, making it a perfect candidate for a daily driven vehicle. A quick test fit showed that the lip fit really well and wouldn’t require any modification to sit right - I was even able to slide it on over the OEM SE lip, which made installation that much easier.
When I cracked open the side skirts, I found more of the same quality craftsmanship. Everything was packaged very carefully to ensure that nothing was damaged in transit from the motherland. The side skirts are constructed of fiberglass, which admittedly made me a little bit nervous. I’d never owned FRP aero components before, but after a test fit I found that the fitment was once again spot on.
While I was preparing my Voltex items to go on the car, I received my JDM OEM Evo IX rear bumper from my friend Russell at MitsubishiParts.net. I’ve always disliked the bloated USDM rear bumper on the Evo, so this was a great piece to add to the exterior. The bumper came white from the factory, so this piece needed to go in for paint along with the Voltex front lip and side skirts.
After a few days, my local body shop had my items painted for me and ready to be picked up. I elected to have the silver mesh in the Voltex side skirts sprayed black to tone them down a bit. I wanted to run the mesh though to keep rocks and other debris from being thrown out the side skirt and up the side of the car.
Since I was now running the JDM rear bumper, I decided to pick up one more Voltex piece from Evasive - a carbon fiber exhaust shield. This piece is made of high-quality CF and attaches to the JDM OEM rear bumper with the included double-sided tape and screws. While it probably does protect the bumper from exhaust gasses, its primary job is looking cool. It’s all about the details, right?
After a couple of hours in the garage one June evening, all of my new goodies were finally bolted on the car. The result was a much more aggressive looking Evo, and I was overall very pleased with the transformation! There was only one problem, though - the rear of the car felt a bit unbalanced visually.
Well, fortunately for me (and unfortunately for my wallet,) Voltex makes a beautiful carbon fiber rear diffuser for the JDM Evo IX rear bumper setup. Another call over to Mike at Evasive and about a week of waiting later, and this beautiful hunk of plastic had arrived on my doorstep.
The diffuser install was fairly involved, but it was really just time consuming more than anything. I had to trim a fair amount of material away from the diffuser itself to clear my Tomei Expreme catback exhaust system, so be prepared to hack up your beautiful new diffuser to clear your muffler and piping as necessary. It’s tough to stomach, but it’s what needs to be done.
And there you have it - a complete and well-rounded exterior setup that not only complements the Evo’s factory body lines beautifully, but is also functional and wind tunnel tested should I ever decide to hit the track. The rear of the car looks loads more aggressive with the JDM rear bumper, exhaust shield, and diffuser in place. I was concerned about how the factory wing would look with the new Voltex goodies, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it all flowed pretty well together. I ended up tossing on a set of OEM window visors as well to further liven things up a bit.
So NOW the exterior of the car is complete, right? I thought so, but after about two months of living with the car in this trim, I began to get the itch once more. Despite the aggressive looks of the Voltex lip paired with the stock IX front bumper and the convenient ability to remove and replace it with the IX SE lip for winter duty, I decided that I just wasn’t happy with how the front end looked. The OEM “fog light” holes in the IX bumper and the Mitsubishi emblem were taking away from new look of the car, and I decided again to jump ship to a different look.
I thought that Evasive might be getting sick of me at this point, but Mike was more than happy to sell me a Voltex Street front bumper for my car. I sold the OEM IX front end and Voltex lip to fund the new setup, and had my new front bumper in about a week’s time.
If I was nervous about the fiberglass side skirts fitting before, I was terrified to test fit the full FRP front bumper on my car when it arrived. I had heard so many horror stories about fiberglass aero parts not fitting well, but Voltex had my back with perfect fitment once again. I made one more trip to the body shop, and before I knew it the bumper had been sprayed with a fresh coat of Rally Red.
Nothing beats the feeling of backing your car out of the garage after installing some new parts and admiring the fruits of your labor in the driveway. As soon as I saw the car with the Voltex street front bumper, I knew everything finally clicked. The front bumper now had the aggressive looks needed to match the sides and rear of the car.
During the time between bumpers, I installed an OEM Evo IX vortex generator and a pair of blue tinted Ganador Super Aero Mirrors to spice things up just a little bit more.
For the time being, I chose not to run the optional Voltex street canards for the front bumper. While I am very happy with the car’s appearance now and I think it all works well together with the stock spoiler, I can’t help but want to order a Voltex rear wing to finally finish things off and take it to the next level. I’m still deciding between the Type 5, 5v, and 9 wings available from Voltex, but I’ll follow up with another post as soon as I have made a decision and installed it on the car. I don’t really think I can pull the canards off with the stock spoiler, so who knows - maybe those will come along for the ride when the new wing is in place.
Despite my indecisive mind and inability to know when to leave a car well enough alone, I am glad I took the plunge and continued to modify my Evo’s exterior. Though it is a bit more nerve racking swerving around road debris on my drive to and from work each day, I think the trade off has been well worth it.