I think we all have a dream car. You know what I’m talking about—that car that makes you turn your head and smile every time you see one. For the record, I’m not talking about a fantasy supercar like a Ferrari or Lamborghini. No, I’m talking about the attainable car that exists (and that normal folks can afford to own) and makes you look at your bank account and wonder, Can I make this happen? For me, this dream car is an all-original ’97 Acura Integra Type R. Lots of people would not understand what’s so special about that car. In many eyes, the ITR is simply a white Integra with a big spoiler on the back. But a few people do understand what makes it a special thing, and I’m one of them. The same could be said about Ali Zafar’s dream car, the Lancer Evolution. After all, a four-door Mitsubishi sedan is not exactly the most exciting sounding thing on paper, but as we all know, there’s much more to it.
Ali grew up as the oldest of four brothers and holds family values very high in his life. After discovering a passion for cars at a young age, Ali fell in love with the Evo and worked his butt off until he could finally swing the purchase of this ’06 GSR model. It wasn’t an easy or quick process. Ali owned a plethora of other vehicles along the way, including a Mazda 626, a Toyota Supra, several Honda Accords, and a few Integras to boot. Ali tells me he had all but given up hope of finding the perfect Evo until the day it practically fell into his lap.
“I was working at a car dealership at this point in my life, and my second youngest brother (whom I had gotten a job as a valet) came running across the shop screaming, waving, yelling that there was an Evo at the dealership,” Ali says. “As excited as I was to go see it, I knew it would only make me want it, but I couldn’t resist the temptation. As I walked into the showroom, a salesman shouted across the floor ‘Don’t even think about it, it’s mine!’ I was astounded how over the years everyone around me had grown to know how badly I wanted to own one of these machines.” After taking the car for a long testdrive and finally showing his friends and family what the fuss was all about, Ali got lucky when the aforementioned salesman had second thoughts. The car was available, so Ali crunched some numbers, got his ducks in a row, and finally became the owner of his long-time dream car.
The car didn’t stay stock for long, and it has been through several phases along the road to where it is today. Ali has always tried to keep the car modest, as if the array of top-shelf JDM parts on his car could even be called such. Perhaps “street friendly” is a better way of saying it. On the outside, Ali has added a few Voltex aerodynamics parts, including a front lower half bumper spoiler, aggressive looking side skirts, and a not-so-small GT Type 5 rear wing. He has gone a different route than the almost expected JDM Evo VII rear bumper by instead opting to keep the USDM bumper, accented by an APR rear diffuser. “I have always been big on safety; it’s always ‘safety first’ with me,” Ali tells me. “I really liked the look of the JDM rear bumpers but didn’t want it at the cost of modifying crash beams or bumper reinforcements. I looked far and wide for a solution, and thanks to my good friend Lucky at Tach Motor Works, I was able to acquire the APR rear diffuser, which mounted right up with the stock bumper and proved to be aerodynamic.” We like Ali’s thinking on this, because no one wants to sacrifice something like a crash beam, especially considering he drives around with his 3-and-a-half-year-old daughter on a routine basis.