Mitsubishi Motors recently hosted its 10th Annual Mitsubishi Owner’s Day (MOD) at their Cypress, CA, headquarters, bursting at the seams with a strong showing of over 1,400 vehicles in attendance. Mitsubishi owners and fans from across the nation gathered to enjoy the numerous exhibits, vendor displays, the dyno shootout, and other activities while sharing their passion for all things Mitsubishi. Throw in a few ultraclean Starions, first-gen Eclipses, 3000GTs, and the now rare Galant GTO GS-R and, in a nutshell, you have an eclectic collection of Mitsubishi heritage that takes us back to a time when the automaker was bold in design and unafraid to push the envelope.
Standing out among the hundreds of Mitsubishis attending this year’s MOD wasn’t a simple task. Owning a machine that catches eyes can be difficult when you’re surrounded by a parking lot filled with cars, but amongst the sea of Evo IX’s and X’s sprawled throughout the venue stood this ultra-rare ’73 Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO GS-R. Mitsubishi developed this car as the street version of the homologated race car for the Japan Grand Prix, but the OPEC oil crisis of ’73 canceled the racing program. This vehicle is only one of two known Galant GTO’s in the US and one of 12 surviving GS-R models worldwide.
This unicorn was factory-equipped with a 2.0-liter, twin carb, single-overhead-cam-equipped Astron engine running through a 5-speed manual gearbox. A set of era-correct 15-inch Watanabe wheels wrapped in Yokohama A048 tires allows the package to tuck neatly under the factory rally fenders.
The crowd favorite among Evolution fans was a pair of Evos sitting in the English Racing booth; one sports over 1,000 horsepower and the other is the shop’s world-record-breaking Evo X. English Racing made their presence felt strong at this year’s MOD as they made the thousand-mile-plus trip from their Camas, WA headquarters to California with a number of race vehicles in tow.
With an impressive 1,156 horsepower on tap, the rebirth of the English Racing ER/ETS Drag 8 was in full stride and showcased at MOD. Engine specs include a solid fill ER 2.0-liter engine with Wiseco 11.0:1-compression pistons, GRP aluminum rods, GSC S3 camshafts, Kiggly valve springs, and an ER race ported cylinder head. A custom designed ETS turbo kit with T4 twin scroll 1.28 housing and PTE 7285 Gen 2 turbo is mated to a ETS 6-inch intercooler, which subsequently force-feeds a Magnus V5 intake manifold. To quench the thirst of this methanol-fed beast, the Evo is engineered with a set of eight Fuel Injector Clinic 2,150cc injectors. Additional specs include a tube-frame front end, Graf Autohaus 5-speed dogbox, Competition Clutch triple disc clutch kit, and a Ron Piercy-fabricated 10-point chromoly rollcage. The team expects to debut this newly-updated vehicle in the near future.
Just a few feet away stood the world’s fastest and quickest Evo X, built in-house by English Racing. The car started life as a 2008 model that was transformed into drag racing duty by ETS right away. In June of ’09 the Evo became the first X in the 9s with the owner of ETS piloting the car to a 9.94 elapsed time. The car sat for a few years, and then an agreement was reached between ETS and English Racing to build the car into the fastest X in the world.
This Evo X is currently sponsored by Competition Clutch, which has allowed the ER team to push it even further. The vehicle currently owns the bragging rights for the highest-horsepower Evo X, with 1,033 wheel horsepower on E98, running 49 psi of boost supplied by a Precision Turbo Gen 2 7285 snail. The Drag X has reset the quarter-mile record to 8.59 at 172 mph.
It also currently holds the half-mile record for the 4B11 at 200.3 mph, and is second on the EVO half-mile record list to one of the company’s other Evo 8s. This year, the plan is to switch fueling to M5 methanol, a mechanical fuel pump, 8 injectors, a Motec M150, and a larger Precision 8385 turbocharger. For 2016, Magnus Motorsports aided the project by providing a rear tubular subframe to help reduce weight.
“Before the subframe swap, the vehicle was weighed at 2,590 pounds with an empty tank. It will be interesting to see how light we can get it,” says Aaron O’Neal, English Racing’s tuner.
Any and every true car enthusiast has seen the 1973 classic movie Mad Max, starring Mel Gibson – it’s required viewing and a rite of passage. The iconic matte-black V8 Interceptor with supercharger onboard was considered the true star of the movie and was built to kick ass and take names in a post-apocalyptic world.
The show-stopper at this year’s event was none other than a vehicle dubbed the “Mad Max Evo X”. I’m not sure whether to call the owner of this monstrosity a true visionary or just plain crazy but regardless, this EVO looked perfectly altered down to the tweed-wrapped dual side mirrors. While taking photos of the car, I peered over my lens, expecting Mel Gibson to come barreling out from the driver’s seat. This vehicle build delivered such an impact at the event that it received the People’s Choice award.
Pikes Peak Photo Credit by Yoshiaki Aoyama
Competitors entering the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (see our coverage here) understand the risks of racing up the treacherous 14,110-foot summit in a test that pits driver and racecar against the mountain.
Walking along vendor alley at this years MOD, we were surprised to see the Narvaez Racing Evo 8 on display at the Whiteline booth, along with a slew of body parts retrieved from the wreckage. Roy Narvaez, driver and owner of the Hulk Evo, recalled the tragic moments just seconds before the crash.
“The car was running solid sector time and was looking good as I entered the fastest section of the climb, a few turns before entering Devil’s Playground in fourth gear. Within a split second, the tires lost traction through a sweeping turn and began sliding towards the cliff,” says Narvaez.
Narvaez quickly countersteered to regain traction, but within seconds, the Evo pitched into the mountain side and rocketed into the air.
“It happened so fast. I had no time to even think. As soon as I realized I hit the mountain it was all over. It did knock the wind out of me. It took about 15-20 seconds before I could catch my breath,” he explains.
Luckily, Narvaez walked away from the horrific crash with only minor bruises and a battered car but claims this traumatic accident hasn’t changed his passion for racing nor his plans to compete at next year’s event.
“The Evo is currently being rebuilt. The damage wasn’t as bad as we thought, and the car should be running within the next month. I will be competing again in Pikes Peak, pretty sure in the same Hulk Evo,” says Narvaez.
A true enthusiast will tell you that their work is never complete when it comes to building a project car. Just ask Karl Magtoto to hear about the long journey he took while building his ’06 EVO 9 MR. Magtoto’s Evo was outfitted with a laundry list of Voltex Aero body parts including a Voltex wide body kit, hood, trunk, wing, and canards. The engine received a full treatment of rare parts, including an OriginFab titanium intake pipe, ARC intercooler pipe, Garage HRS titanium Dolphin-tip exhaust, and Tomei exhaust manifold. The interior was upgraded with a pair of Bride Gias II Lowmax seats and Takata 4-point harnesses, while Bride fabric was reupholstered throughout the entire interior including the headliner, and a Cusco 6-point roll cage was set into place. A set of 18×10.5-inch Volk Racing TE37 wheels are wrapped in 265/35-18 Toyo Tires R1R’s.
Another standout vehicle at this year’s show was this ’78 Plymouth Arrow GT that was badge -swapped to resemble a Mitsubishi Celeste. Moises Castro has owned the car since 2011, and made many of the repairs in his the comforts of his own garage.
“The vehicle was given to me by the owner that wanted it out of his yard. It wasn’t registered prior to that since 1996. The original engine had a bad oil pump and was knocking extremely badly,” he says.
Castro pulled the original 2.0-liter 4G52 in favor of a 2.6-liter G54B turbo from a Starion. The engine was mated to Mitsubishi Mighty Max automatic 4-speed.
“Sourcing parts for this vehicle was nearly impossible but I was able to find the window visors, interior pieces and even the rear window louvers,” says Castro.
A set of 14×6-inch and 14×7-inch rear Appliance vintage wire-mag wheels made in Japan complete the vehicle look. Vintage Stewart Warner gauges add the finishing touches to the interior.
With hundreds of different models that filled the parking lot with modifications ranging from mild to wild – including Starions, Eclipses, Evos, 3000GTs, Lancers, and Mirages – this year’s MOD event was another huge success.