Lucky 13: Mitsubishi Owners Day 2018

Once a year, Mitsubishi Motors North America throws a huge party at its California headquarters to celebrate the marque’s existence, punctuated with plenty of food, fun, and entertainment. It’s a chance for the company to give something back to the community which has helped to make it popular here in the United States, and an opportunity for West Coast Mitsu fans to get together and check out one another’s hot mods and cool rides. This year marked the 13th time the company has invited its loyal owners to celebrate, and they responded enthusiastically with a monster event.

This year’s festivities brought over 3,000 people and hundreds of cars to the company’s campus in Cypress, California. The much-anticipated hype began long before the event’s official start, and vehicle owners began showing up at midnight in an attempt to land a premium parking spot.

The meet also brought out a number of popular Mitsubishi tuner shops, including Road Race Engineering, Tuning Technologies, AEM Electronics, and a slew of other vendors. Most had at least one display car on the property to show off their newest products in hopes of enticing customers to purchase some of their go-fast parts.

I’ve been stalking this EVO X owned by Albert Abundis since 2017’s MOD. This EVO offers a little bit of everything, including tasteful modifications to the interior, exterior, and engine.

The exterior features a complete Varis body kit wrapped in battleship gray. A set of Rays Volk TE37RT Magnesium Blue wheels sit flush, compliments of an air piston lift system coilover kit from Fortune Auto.

Just days before MOD, the EVO received a fully-built engine, which was done up by JRP Performance. A Comp Turbo Sidewinder turbo kit was built and installed by Intense Motorsports, then tuned on E85 to make 624 horsepower and 513 lb-ft of torque at the tires. Stay tuned for a full feature in the upcoming months as we break down Albert’s awesome build.

This third-generation Mitsubishi Mirage wasn’t exactly in showroom condition, but that didn’t stop the owner from coming out to this year’s meet. What really piqued my interest were the Yokohama A008 sticky street tires and side-exit exhaust. I was really itching to see what was under the hood but unfortunately, the owner was nowhere to be found.

I couldn’t help but compare this 3000GT’s Rosso Corsa paint — the soulful red of Ferrari racing — and custom hood design to that of the Ferrari 550 Maranello Berlinetta.

The EVO IX wagon was never offered in the US, so you can imagine the looks many of the attendees gave this vehicle when passing by.

Upon further inspection, we noticed the vehicle was left-hand-drive, which led us to believe that the owner had grafted a wagon back-half onto a USDM chassis. Regardless, it was cool to speculate about a vehicle that can only be purchased and seen overseas.

Roy Narvaez’s EVO 8 was once again on display at MOD. You might recall Roy and his EVO were involved in a horrific crash while competing at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb back in 2016.

The Mighty Max was one of only two production truck models ever made for Mitsubishi’s North American market. In place of the original 2.4-liter, 116-horsepower engine, now sits a turbocharged 4G64 powerplant pulled from an Eclipse, which transforms this commuter truck into a tire-shredding monster.

This clean first-gen Eclipse sits on rare Racing Hart Type C wheels.

Referred to as the Pajero intercooler turbo wagon, this first-generation 3-door SUV was popular overseas. It’s a shame these turbo models were never offered in the US.

I couldn’t tell what Mitsubishi model this was from afar, so I moved in for a closer look.

Circling towards the rear I was dumbfounded by the Bugatti-style engine ducts and Lamborghini rear lights. Then it suddenly dawned on me that this wasn’t some European supercar. It was actually a 3000GT that had gone under the knife. Crazy, right?

The Mitsubishi Lancer (A70) 1600 GSR was originally brought into the US as a Dodge Colt from 1977 to 1979.

Those familiar with this specific model would be quick to notice the Colt badging on the lower front fenders, but the car also has both Lancer and Mitsubishi badging emblazoned on the trunk. This ’77 Lancer/Colt was outfitted with throwback graphics reminiscent of the original East African Safari Rally.

Imagine this EVO pulling alongside you at a stoplight, as you peer over and notice a set of triple stack exhaust and wastegate dump tubes exiting out the hood, along with the Weld wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S radials.

Another joint-venture between Dodge and Mitsubishi birthed this car from the ’80s. This specific model was marketed overseas as the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda GSR, but it was known in the US market as the Dodge Colt Challenger.

This vehicle was kept in pristine condition and well-maintained, including the engine bay and interior.

How does a company like RRE attempt to re-imagine the 2G Eclipse Spyder that many hardcore Mitsubishi enthusiasts considered even today as “ugly as hell”?

Naturally, you throw on a custom turbocharger setup with side-mounted turbo and side-exit exhaust, bolt on a gratuitously large front-mount intercooler, add some wide fender flares, slam it, and throw in a roll cage for good measure.

While I attempted to hold a conversation with Mike Kojima—founder of Moto IQ and chassis engineer for Formula Drift champion Dai Yoshihara—I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs, in hopes of overpowering the sporadic turbo spooling and staccato exhaust backfiring coming from this EVO, which was spinning the Road Race Engineering Dynapack Chassis Dyno during this year’s dyno competition.

This machine produces serious power thanks in part to its custom-fabricated long-tube turbo exhaust manifold which locates a Garrett turbocharger just behind the front bumper.

When I inquired how much power the EVO laid down, the owner mentioned with conservative boost pressure, it recorded 785WHP.

The owners of these two Galant VR4s made the trek from Maryland to showcase their vehicles at this year’s event—a haul in the neighborhood of 2,600 miles, or 39 hours.

The sixth-generation VR4s were a rare commodity in the United States, as only 2,000 were imported in 1991, with 1,000 more crossing the pond for the 1992 model year. This 4-door sedan was often referred to as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, due to its capable 2.0-liter turbocharged engine coupled to an all-wheel-drive platform.

In the 90s it wasn’t unheard of for VR4 owners to throw a bunch of modifications at these cars to boost all-around performance, as they romped on high performance sports cars like the 300ZX and Supra both on the streets and down the quarter-mile drag strip.

This Starion was another clean example of how Mitsubishi’s engineers and vehicle development staff were visionaries during this time period, with wide arching fender flares and the 2.4-liter turbocharged rear-wheel drive platform.

The owner of this Starion managed to keep this timeless classic in good condition—including the interior—while adding some personal flair, rocking classic aggressive-fitment Work Equip wheels.

I’ve witnessed the progression of this Mad Max-styled Mitsubishi Lancer over the past few years. Typical of someone roaming the badlands in search of parts to fortify their vehicle for added protection and durability, new modifications include a snow-plow-style front lip, custom diamond-plate wide fenders, additional metal plating bolted onto the hood and new all-terrain tires.

I noticed significant rust settling on the exterior of the car, but do you think the owner really cares? Probably not.

Sitting just adjacent to the dyno competition area was this wild EVO X. This former World Challenge GTS class competitor was owned and campaigned by GMG before being decommissioned and sold off to CSF CEO Ravi Dolwani, who commissioned MotoIQ Garage to rebuild the car to compete in various race series—time attack, drag racing, and high-speed events.

Sheepey Built custom-fabricated the 321 stainless equal-length exhaust manifold, which is mated to a Garrett GTX3582R turbocharger. The tight confines of the engine bay means that an intercooler, twin Turbosmart WG40 Compgates, pie-cut intercooler piping, titanium up-pipes, and exhaust system must all coexist. These components are mated to the World Challenge GTS engine that GMG included with the vehicle.

With much of the roll cage previously done by GMG, only minor cleaning of the engine bay and a fresh coat of Alpine White paint by LTMW was laid onto the chassis and custom Street Fighter LA body kit.

Rywire Motorsports Electronics was commissioned to provide wiring for the vehicle’s electronics and plumbing the custom XRP Kevlar lines inside the engine bay. Dolwani mentioned that the car is close to completion and was recently dyno tuned at 780whp with plans to compete at a high-speed competition next month.

If you missed out on this year’s meet, be sure to mark your 2019 calendar to attend this free event and come celebrate the largest gathering of Mitsubishi tuner cars and classic rides anywhere!