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1995 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III - King Of The Jungle

EVO VIII Nothing. On The Caymen Islands, This EVO III Still Reigns Supreme

In "Origin of the Species," Darwin argued that certain organisms would prevail against their competitors over time through change and diversification. He called the process natural selection. It predicts the strongest will survive and propagate.

Darwin's theory has been proven many times. Take, for example, the Mitsubishi Evolution. It has ascended through a decade and a half of development and improvement to become today's definitive performance compact. Originally built for Group A rally homologation, the first Evolution (Evo I) was developed to continue Mitsubishi's winning tradition on the WRC circuit established by the Galant VR-4. Like the VR-4, the car combined a turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive, but used the small, lightweight Lancer chassis. Fourteen years have passed since initial production of the EVO I, and with them seven successive Lancer generations.

Despite radical improvements to the vehicle's overall performance in that time, much of the Evo's fanatical fanbase remains attached to the early cars, which are considered most faithful to the Evo I's concept of a fast, lightweight rally vehicle. A new, reinforced chassis and long list of technical refinements came with the car's fourth generation and pushed the car's curb weight dangerously close to 3,000 lbs.

Caymen Islands resident, Anthony Pacheco, has owned nine right-hand-drive JDM Evos, none newer than the third generation. This white Evo III is his most recent.

Pacheco became an avid Evolution collector through his friend Tony Williams, a fellow enthusiast who runs a specialty importing and tuning business in the Caymen Islands. "I met Tony before his automotive business actually got started," Pacheco recalls. "My first car [from Williams] was a supercharged Toyota AE86 Levin, and after that, I got a 1.8-liter turbo Lancer."

After he'd had his fun with the Lancer, Pacheco decided to upgrade to the Evo I, and became hooked from the first moment he stepped on the throttle. Though he admires the late-model designs, his enthusiasm for the platform is confined to its first three generations. "Weight issues are a big thing for me," Pacheco says. Even though the later engine configurations make more power."

Williams and Pacheco secured the pictured Evo III from an unnamed source in Japan. The car had already been upgraded in many areas and required precious little tinkering to set it up for drag racing, which is big in the Caymans. At one time, however, Pacheco believes the EVO was some sort of circuit racer or time attack competitor.

It may seem strange, but the extent of the work done to the car when Pacheco took delivery isn't an entirely known thing. "The invoice we got with the car said that HKS Kansai service center did $25,000 worth of work," Pacheco testifies. "We're not sure what the split is on parts and labor, but labor is known to be very expensive in Japan." To begin with, Pacheco says there's evidence the head has been completely rebuilt from the inside out. HKS cams, gears, valves, springs and retainers are all present, as well as complete porting and polishing. There's an HKS intake tract and blow-off valve, as well as HKS downpipe and full cat-back exhaust.

Pacheco admits he played around a bit with the fuel system and boost, adding an HKS EVC 4 electronic boost controller to increase airflow an adjustable fuel pressure regulator to supply adequate fuel. When he first got the car, there was also a small boost-leak issue he had to identify and fix, but aside from that the car ran as reliably as you'd expect, which is perfectly, aside from a mildly lumpy idle imparted by the hot HKS cams.

Other drivetrain modifications include revised front and rear differentials, a Cusco diff up front and a 1.5-way Cusco diff in back, a lightened flywheel and twin plate clutch. Beneath the car's panels, Cusco's high-performance Comp Zero 2R coil-overs and Cusco polyurethane bushings have replaced the factory equipment. Identical to Cusco systems used on WRC competition vehicles, the system incorporates five-way ride adjustment and plates for camber adjustment. The brake assemblies have retained their stock configuration, and wheels are 16x7-inch Advan RG alloys wrapped in Dunlop racing slicks.

Since the Evo III is inherently a pure performance vehicle, stressing weight savings over high-tech electronics and form over function, adding wild aerodynamic treatments or ear-bursting stereo components would be tantamount to sacrilege. Pacheco has kept his example as clean as it was on the day of delivery. It does wear a new HKS front bumper cover, but in all other aspects retains a factory Evo III appearance. The absence of a rear wing is particularly notable, and Pacheco plans to keep it that way.

Within the cockpit, a pair of Recaro SPG competition buckets has replaced the front seats, a MOMO steering wheel has replaced the tiller, and a Pivot gear knob has been screwed proudly into place atop the factory shifter. To assist in tuning, Pacheco added a trio of AutoMeter gauges displaying EGT, boost and fuel pressure. For enhanced listening enjoyment, a Pioneer head unit has been placed in the dash as the only stereo upgrade. And in case the unthinkable should happen, a six-point Cusco roll cage has been welded into the chassis.

At the time our pictures were taken, the forced induction hardware remained O.E. spec, from the turbo to the front-mount Evo intercooler. Since that time, Pacheco has laid plans to upgrade the system with a DN Performance tubular exhaust manifold and hybrid SBR-M60 turbo, a larger unit with a modified Td06 compressor cover with a huge 3-inch inlet capable of flowing up to 30 psi to make up to a claimed 500 hp in certain applications. Once this is bolted in place on its new manifold, Pacheco plans to revise the fuel system with larger injectors and retune it using his HKS Super AFR piggyback fuel management computer. Though today he remains uncertain about the car's official power output, he has timeslips from his local drag strip to prove its performance. His best time so far stands at 11.86 at 115 mph.

Our man Darwin is proven right once again.

Engine Code 4G63
Type Inline four, iron block, aluminum
  head, turbocharged and intercooled
Internal Modifications HKS cams, valves, valve springs,
  retainers, cam gears
External Modifications : HKS intake, downpipe, cat-back
  exhaust, intercooler piping
Engine Management Mods Adjustable fuel pressure regulator,
  HKS EVC 4, HKS Super AFR

Layout Transverse front engine,
  all-wheel drive
Drivetrain Modifications Cusco front and rear differentials,
  HKS twin-plate clutch

Front Cusco Comp Zero-2R coil-overs
Rear Cusco Comp Zero-2R coil-overs

Wheels 16x7 Advan RG
Tires 225/50-16 Dunlop slicks
Body HKS front bumper

Cusco six-point roll cage, Recaro SPG seats, MOMO steering
wheel, Pivot shift knob, Pioneer head unit
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