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yellow but nowhere near mellow

Yellow but nowhere near mellow

Asian virtues dictate you must respect your elders regardless if they’re deserving or not. We’re not here to debate that because this elder is undeniably deserving of respect

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

16 Nov 2018

Depending on who you ask, rather fortunately or unfortunately the Evo nameplate not only became synonymous with its manufacturer Mitsubishi but also singlehandedly kept the brand relevant.
Sure, the three diamonds made other more generic models for mundane applications but society isn’t to be blamed in forgetting that its portfolio extended beyond the Lancer Evolution; to call it by its birthname.

The mere mention of the word “Evo” was all it took to elicit images of turbocharged, all-wheel drive four-door sedans terrorising circuits, rally stages and every other surface conquerable by an automobile in between.
Although we’re probably more familiar with the later models of the Evo; especially the Evo 7 and its hero-car role in the Fast & Furious franchise, it was the Evo 3 that truly cemented its status as the blue-eyed boy of Mitsubishi.

Since the first two variations, the Evo 3 was produced in more units and finally gained more significant cosmetic enhancements to set it apart from the largely identical appearances of the 1 and 2. This marked the moment that those three letters; E.V.O, outshone Pamela Anderson in the mid-90s for every teenage boy.
It wasn’t all for nought though, the redesigned nose guided more air towards the intercooler, radiator and brakes. That signature rally rear wing also grew a little for some extra downforce to counter issues with lift on the previous iterations. A new engine increased the compression ratio and a larger turbocharger compressor increased power by 10 unicorns to 270hp.

With prices of Japanese sports cars skyrocketing like Cardi B’s popularity, owners know the older machines will hold their value and fetch a handsomer price down the road.
While newer Evos would undoubtedly handle better, make more power and be downright superior in all aspects, the emotional appeal and analogue nature of an older model is hard to turn down.

In respect to the aforementioned unaltered driving experience, improving performance is treading a fine line that polishes aspects of the car without overly altering or completely losing that identity.
This is precisely why the build sheet on this immaculate Evo 3 CE9A might seem a little lacking but rest assured it drives better than when it came out of the factory without diluting the intended communication between man and machine.

Being an all new engine at the time with increased compression set the foundation for improved reliability with more horses parked in its barn. The engine work consists of a basic formula; shove more air and fuel into the cylinders while keeping the entire package cool.
A straightforward and common upgrade is a TD05 turbo. It’s proven and been flogged on a million times for a million miles in everything with an engine so extracting more power with it was a no-brainer. Joining it is an open-pod filter feeding the turbo, a Tial 38mm wastegate plumbed into the stock manifold and a Sheepdog blow-off valve on the inlet piping.

More air requires more juice and providing that is the Coca-Cola of fuel pumps, a Walbro 255lph unit, governed by a Works Engineering fuel-pressure regulator. A FGK exhaust system lets it exhale easier with some nice noise in the background and a GReddy aluminium radiator keeps everything chilled under the hood.
There’s also a pair of Works Engineering adjustable cam pulleys and Arospeed plug cables to keep the engine bay a little busier.

Sending more air into the cylinders necessitated some tweaking to the electronics. This saw a newer Evo 9 ECU wired into the mix. Being essentially the same basic engine architecture updated over time, a newer ECU should work fine and extract more power while at it. A GReddy turbo timer keeps it company because who doesn’t like to hear the engine idling a bit longer after parking and locking the car.
Driveline upgrades are limited to just a Trinity clutch set to handle harder launches and that extra grunt. Seeing that the bump up in power was rather tame, the braking system was untouched. Seeing that every other aspect of the build has been revamped, logically the brakes should be next. Even a simple pad upgrade will do the trick.

Under the wheel wells are D2 adjustable coilovers with pillow-ball mounts to dial in the camber. You won’t notice the purple coilovers though with the Volk Racing TE37 wheels in its signature bronze filling the four corners. They measure a functional 17 x 7.5jj (+31) and are wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE003 rubbers.
Stepping into the office is a step back in time to when the term plastic-fantastic was endearing for Japanese tuner cars. Seeing how well the rest of the car looks, it’s no surprise the interior looks like it just rolled out of the showroom.

Everything is as it left the factory; something harder to come across than a Taylor Swift song not referencing love. Only a Defi ZD and Defi Advance boost gauge help the driver stay on top of the engine’s condition while driving. The ZD keeps things clean by housing all the vital stats on a single screen to avoid gauge galore.
How about the exterior? Much like the cabin, it’s all bone stock save for the set of crystal headlamps to replace the tired stock ones that look their age. Those sideskirts with “EVO III” on the side aren’t just to help you denote the variant, it’s slightly larger to counter aero lift.
From a time when function denoted form, there’s a nostalgic connection with 90s Japanese sports cars that has become extinct in this day and age. The Toyobaru twins come the closest to replicating that feel but by and large, sports cars now lack that magical analogue relationship between man and machine.

Behind the Build

Car – Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 3 CE9A

Engine – Open-pod air filter, TD05 turbocharger, Tial 38mm wastegate, Works Engineering adjustable cam pulley, Sheepdog blow-off valve, Walbro 255lph fuel pump, Works Engineering fuel pressure regulator, GReddy aluminium radiator, Arospeed spark plug cables, FGK exhaust system

Electronics – Evo 9 ECU, GReddy turbo timer

Transmission – Trinity clutch set

Chassis & Handling – D2 adjustable coilovers

Brakes – Stock

Wheels & Tyres – Volk Racing TE37 17 x 7.5jj (+31), Bridgestone Potenza RE003

Interior – Defi ZD, Defi Advance boost gauge, Momo Tuner steering wheel

Exterior – Crystal headlamps

Garage – Acah2top