BEST SERVED COLD
WHEN YOUR HONOUR IS DISRESPECTED ON ‘MEXICAN’ TARMAC, IT’S ONLY NATURAL TO BUILD A STREET-EATING EVO AND PUT THINGS TO BED ONCE AND FOR ALL … RIGHT?
AN EVO BUILT FOR REVENGE
There’s a double-edged sword to owning anything on four-wheels that doesn’t look like it takes 15 seconds to hit 100 clicks. They are an endless money pit that can bring a lot of entertainment, both throughout the build and when driving. However, the other side of this is that those with even the slightest hint of modification draw attention — serious amounts of attention, be it from the red and blues, or just the comments from young bucks hanging around in the car park of your local supermarket. But if there’s one kind of heat that modified cars draw most it’s that from those looking to prove that their own is bigger, better, harder, and faster — even if you ain’t out looking for it, this kind of trouble will always find you.
Racing the streets of ‘Mexico’ has become the unofficial benchmark for many modifiers — a practice conducted in secret in the deep of night and with changing locations to avoid the suspicion of the local lawman. However, on rare occasions, challengers may appear in unexpected places; a simple drive home from work that turns into a rolling recreation of Super GT. And for Wellingtonian Johnathan Bui, this is what sparked an unassumingly tough Evo.
“I had just finished building my DC5 Type R [ featured in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 210] and was beginning to really enjoy what I’d spent two years creating,” says Johnathan. “Driving home on the motorway one night, an Evo VII pulled up next to me. I recognized the car from the region and he signalled that he wanted to hit the Mexican streets.”
“Taking into account that my Honda was making 163kW and the Evo put 220kW to all fours, losing by one car length was more than reasonable for me, but, when he slowed down, it wasn’t a thumbs up and ‘thanks for the fun’, it was rude comments about my car and Hondas in general.”
This encounter left Johnathan hungry to get his own back, and, with an existing temptation to jump into a bigger-bodied, four-wheeldrive, it wasn’t a hard decision to put the Integra in the garage and free up a few pesos for an Evo. He knew that by applying the same rule of thumb that saw the Integra finished, he could achieve the same results in Mitsubishi form — and it didn’t take long to find a VII for sale at a Mitsubishi service centre
However, it was missing a few key features, such as the spoiler, correct badges, and wheels. So, after exchanging cash and keys, the 19-inch Wolfs were quickly binned, as were the mismatched badges, and a wing sourced from the original owner was fitted.
Johnathan tells us that the first passing lane that presented itself on the drive home made for the perfect testing stretch — only it wasn’t quite what he wanted to discover. The boost gauge was reading 28psi and climbing: “I thought to myself, something must be wrong … turns out the boost controller had faulted and the car couldn’t hit full throttle without cutting.”
While this meant that the motor probably hadn’t seen much of a thrashing, the turbo was tired and would need to be replaced soon. This didn’t deter him, though, and, even with the ailments, a quick retune to get the boost under control and air–fuel ratios up to scratch saw the VII putting out 216kW at all fours — not bad for a nearon stock example.
Six months of solid driving would ensue before Johnathan realized the list of “cars I lost to” was slowly growing after every Mexican mission. To combat this, a fresh Forced Performance 71HTA snail was ordered out of the States, to replace the tired factory unit, and now sits
Only weeks into ownership, the stock clutch blew and was replaced by a Competition Clutch stagethree unit with Competition Clutch lightened flywheel, both of which are still going strong
atop a Sinco twin-scroll manifold with Turbosmart gate. This was the point at which Jonathan realized that he was “beginning the real build”.
The mailman would deliver a Mount Everest–sized pile of goodies over the coming weeks that would see a Tomei O2+ front pipe, HKS stainless mid-pipe, and STM Tuned stainless muffler combo take care of spent gases. Fresh oxygen is delivered via a custom plenum mated to a Macbilt three-inch intake pipe and cooled by an Extreme Turbo Systems (ETS) front-mount intercooler, and fuel is fed by Fuel Injector Clinic (FIC) 1050cc injectors and an AEM pump. The rest, bar the SpoolinUp coil-onplug system, remains relatively safe and makes use of upgraded OEM options for reliability. It’s a package that now sees the dyno spun up at 280kW with 466Nm of torque, all on 30psi of boost, as tuned by Phil at Dynotech Industries.
A wide-mouth Evo VIII front bumper was added to feed in the most air possible, and, to match, the bonnet was switched out for a VIII unit, while the rear bumper was replaced by a IX piece, with carbon-fibre goodness added all over. The aforementioned Evo VIII spoiler wasn’t living up to what was required of it, and, after a few wild rides, it was replaced with a carbon-fibre GT wing for optimal downforce.
In its new lethal form, Johnathan explains that he was torn between looks and functionality come time for the V 4&Rotary North Island Jamboree: “I couldn’t decide if I should enter the Show and Shine or Superlap; [if I should] present the car for others to enjoy or enjoy it myself.” He opted for Superlap, because who doesn’t want to thrash the living hell out of their car after a fresh rebuild? Cosmetics would take a back seat for the time being as more money was sunk into an area that had otherwise gone unattended: handling. Rocking nothing more than OEM replacement shocks, King springs, and a gaggle of old bushes, there was a lot of potential. Stage one
saw Swift Spec-R springs, Whiteline sway bars, and a mixture
of Whiteline and Energy Suspension bushes fitted, making for a nearly four-second drop in lap times from 2016 to 2017 — holding a current personal best (PB) of 1min 20s at Manfeild Circuit. This set-up would later be surpassed by a set of Ohlin coilovers, which are yet to be tested on the track.
“I was super happy with the car, but, because I was tunnel visioning towards outright performance on track, the cosmetics took a hammering … slipping a little too far for my liking,” he says.
The car had remained a subtle balance of black and white, albeit slightly dirty and marked up from on-track abuse, until Johnathan taught himself the art of paint correction and bolted on a set of 17x9-inch (+15) TE37s shod in 245/40 Potenza RE11 rubber, optioned in eye-catching electric blue. With the coilovers set so low, alignment took three shots to get right, and camber and toe arms were needed for correct adjustment, but the resulting stance was near perfect according to its owner’s tastes.
Inside the cabin, things were kept strictly comfort. Evo IX seats adorn the rear, while Recaro SPG buckets look after the front occupants, with the driver treated to a carbon-Kevlar example. The dash has been hit with OEM carbon pieces from the VIII and IX generations, and the only additional gauges needed, according to Johnathan, were AEM boost and air–fuel ratio.
And, with the build complete, what else was there left to do? Yep — deliver that sweet serving of revenge to the driver who had sparked this entire journey: “I went to a car gathering with some friends to find that exact car parked across the car park from me. I told my friends the story about what had happened, and one of them snuck off to proposition him for a race. By the time he had responded ‘no’, I realized what was going on and got in the car ready to do it,” explains Johnathan.
“I think he realized who I was and changed his mind quick. We lined up on the ‘Mexican’ tarmac, and, straight off the line, I smashed him … three to four car lengths ahead. He came back into the car park and demanded a rematch with no passengers in his car. So, we got back out there, and he was done, again. That was one of the best nights with the car — I had gotten my revenge.”
So, after nearly four years of ownership and building, the Evo had fulfilled its destiny and, throughout its tenure in different forms, had not once seen the back of a tow truck, even with the handful of failures along the way. It is now living out its days as a very capable track weapon that sees its fair share of street driving — because you never know when a new challenger is going to appear on the streets of Mexico.
GEARBOX: Five-speed CLUTCH: Competition Clutch stage-three FLYWHEEL: Competition Clutch lightened DIFFS: Factory AYC and ACD OTHER: Braided clutch line, driveshaft tunnel bushes, rear diff bushes, Torque Solutions shifter bushes, Torque Solutions shifter base-mount bushes
HEART ENGINE: Mitsubishi 4G63, 2000cc, four-cylinder BLOCK: Factory HEAD: Factory INTAKE: Custom plenum, three-inch Macbilt intake pipe, STM Tuned hose and filter. STM Tuned throttle-body seals, 2.5-inch ETS factory-route intercooler piping finished in wrinkle black, 3.5-inch ETS front-mount intercooler, OMNI Power 4bar MAP sensor EXHAUST: Tomei O2+ front pipe, three-inch test pipe, HKS stainless mid-pipe, STM Tuned stainless muffler TURBO: Forced Performance 71HTA, Sinco twin-scroll manifold WASTEGATE: Turbosmart Comp-Gate 40 BOV: TiAL Q 50mm FUEL: AEM pump; FIC 1050cc injectors; FIC resistor plug; new OEM fuel-pressure regulator, cradle, and fuel filter IGNITION: SpoolinUp coil-on-plug system, NGK iridium plugs ECU: Factory COOLING: Factory radiator, Ralliart thermostat, Ralliart 1.3bar radiator cap, Castrol Edge coolant, factory oil cooler EXTRA: Oil catch-can, Evo IX spark-plug cover, air ducting, cam-angle-sensor cover, Design Engineering, Inc. (DEI) heat tape, magnetic drain plugs, Kiggly Racing HLA pressure regulator INTERIOR SEATS: (F) Recaro carbon-Kevlar SPG, Recaro SPG3, (R) Evo IX STEERING WHEEL: Evo IX INSTRUMENTATION: AEM air–fuel ratio gauge, AEM boost gauge AUDIO: Pioneer MVH-X565BT head unit, JBL GX600C front speakers, Orion Cobalt CO693 rear speakers, Digital Design (DD) DM500 amp, eight-inch subwoofer EXTRA: Grimmspeed three-port electronic boost controller, Torque Solution gear knob, carbon-fibre speedo trim, Evo IX carbon-fibre dash trim, Rexpeed carbon-fibre centre console cover, fire extinguisher STRUTS: Ohlins Road and Track edition coilovers BRAKES: (F) four-pot Brembo calipers, Endless MX72 plus pads; (R) two-pot Brembo calipers, Endless MX72 Plus pads EXTRA: DME rear lower control arms, DME rear lower toe arms, Whiteline 24mm rear sway bar. Whiteline rear end links, Whiteline front and rear sway bar bushes, Energy Suspension rear trailing arm bushes, Energy Suspension front lower control arm bushes (inner and caster), Whiteline roll-centre adjusters, Whiteline bump-steer correction kit, Whiteline front sway bar bushes, Tein front strut brace, Beatrush rear strut brace SUPPORT
THANKS: The biggest thanks goes to my partner, Hannah Perry — thank you for supporting me and my hobby, and doing your best to be a part of it; Kevin So, for teaching me the standards of perfection; Jordan Mcdermott, for always offering a helping hand at any time (even a few hours before his exam); Darren Galvin, for achieving the impossible and producing what we all see today; Matt Pothoven, for motivating me to finish the build and find good tyres; Ashton Young, for providing me skills and tools to ensure the car stayed clean, shiny, and protected; Cam VG, for the hookups; Panda, for further hookups; Julian Dunster, for making sure the car was still there in the morning; Rahul Singh, for supplying all the tools I didn’t have but needed; the team at Macbilt for always making time for me; Conner at STM Tuned, for ensuring I got what I needed asap; Lawrence Chok, for capturing the moments; Ryan Brenton, for always doing nothing; Warren from Rimrite; Detail Depot; Bridgestone Tyre Centre, Miramar, Final Touches; Jensen and Moore; Obsessive Vehicle Security; Dynotech Industries; Aotea Prestige; RHD Japan; and lastly, to all the friends and family: Billy Bui, Mengcheu Lee, Cameron Luo, Conner Triest, Jamie McNee, Shane Simpson, Aaron Algar, Phil Harris, Damien Hinch, David Thomsen, Khrunal Mahendra, Jesse Clifton, Phil Harris, Michael Kim, Jacky Tse, Hamish Liew, Spyro Serepisos, Son Tran, Steven Chin, Aaron Mai, Prashant Petal, Chris Wallis, Long Li, David Tang, Michael Clarke, Julian Dunster, and Gunna Rajenthran.
PERFORMANCE POWER: 280kW TORQUE: 466Nm BOOST: 30psi FUEL TYPE: 98 octane TUNER: Phil at Dynotech Industries LAP TIMES: 1min 20.9s — Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon (stock suspension) SHOES WHEELS: 17x9-inch (+15) Rays Volk Racing TE37 TYRES: 245/40R17 Bridgestone Potenza RE11 Racing on Mexican streets ain’t no joke and should be conducted under designated circumstances only — like beating a challenger at his own game EXTERIOR PAINT: Resprayed OEM white by Darren Galvin ENHANCEMENTS: Evo VIII bonnet, Evo VIII front bumper, Evo IX rear bumper, carbon-fibre air ducts, carbon-fibre lip, carbon-fibre side extensions, Ralliart mirrors, Voltex Type 3 carbon wing, APR canards, Evo VIII MR rear tail lights, Evo VIII MR headlights, Nokya 2500k Hyper Yellow fog lights, Nokya 7000k Arctic White high beams, Perrin stubby antenna DRIVER PROFILE DRIVER/OWNER: Johnathan Bui AGE: 22 LOCATION: Wellington OCCUPATION: Student BUILD TIME: Two years LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: More than 3.5 years