Red Rocket: 1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI
Nearly a decade ago, at an open air contest organized alongside the Dhaka Motor Show, cheered by a couple of hundred people, Adeeb Iqbal won "the best modified car" award - for his blue 1992 Toyota Corona. It had extended body kits that made the car a foot longer. Rice much? Maybe. But the stubby ,witty fellow knew how to drive since then – eventually he ditched the FWD and moved on to a RWD platform. His new toy was a pristine JZX twin turbo Mark II, but because he did not "build" the car himself, he parted with it. Moreover, he wanted to enjoy boost with AWD grip; hence, a Mitsubishi Evolution. Adeeb is a classic example of the evolution in the automotive scene in our country over the last ten years or so. This is Adeeb Iqbal's story.
Adeeb did not want to buy the later model Evolutions. He wanted something raw and lightweight – Evo VI. Although you would find a handful of Evo 8-10s in the country, you have to be very lucky to spot the only VI around which was imported during the early 2000s. Unfortunately you cannot import a car from the late 90s at the moment because of the import restrictions on vehicle year. Luckily, there is no such issue with importing parts from a donor car which you can buy in Japan. Furthermore, with internet forums and build threads gaining popularity, building a car of your interest is no longer an impossible dream.
So he ordered away an Evo VI, cut it into strategic pieces and had them shipped to Dhaka. In the meantime, he scavenged for a clean shell. Luckily, Adeeb managed an unadulterated unit with a sunroof. He also went to Malaysia to hand pick some of the best parts money can buy for the build that he had in mind. Eventually he handed everything over to Anwar, the body and paint specialist.
The result of Anwar's dedicated workmanship is evident in the immaculate detailing of the bright red car. There are absolutely no visual differences between Adeeb's build from a factory VI, because everything from the donor VI has been replaced with precision. Differential housing? That too was accommodated for, by manually fabricating a portion of the floor pan. To maintain the car's structural rigidity, Adeeb ensured MIG welding all over the fabrication.
The 2.0 litre 4G63T motor is all stock with no internal or external modifications as of yet, other than a SSQV IV HKS BOV. With the stock turbo, the motor puts out 300 hp of tarmac grinding madness. But it's an Evo, and it belongs in rough terrain. Forget dirt, we took the VI out in the mud. The result? Donuts, power slides, gooey mud darting all over the place. By the end of it, the car looked like it crossed Dakar in style.
On the tarmac, the Evo is spirited and lithe. Come 3,000 RPM and the turbo wheezes to a blur effect. Every shift throws in a differential jolt that will hammer you down to the firm Recaro bucket seats while the car scurries off. The loud BOV works better than a horn in traffic conditions. Full throttle to 8,000 RPM, there are no shortages of ear deafening, missile-like backfires.
Adeeb likes driving. There would be moments he would get the car out to go for a drive to 300 feet road but after a little bit more driving, he would find himself in Sylhet-Moulvibazar. He therefore wanted to build the car so that it can go all over the country, comfortably. Despite being on coilovers, you would not be complaining.
However, there are occasional challenges of converting a Lancer to an Evo or an Impreza into a STi. Electronics don't match, things don't work, etc. In Adeeb's case, he was particularly worried because his was one of the first Evo VI conversions in our country. Also, not all parts are available locally, so the build took longer than expected. The AWD conversion was the most arduous task in the overall build, Adeeb recalls. There are a few tidbits that need fixing before the build hits perfection. Vehicle Solution helped get the drivetrain in, while Autosmith tuned the car. He is currently running the motor with an Evo VIII computer, which allows a wider tuning band. I even found the HKS EVC boost controller reading 20 psi during the morning boost session.
At the end of the day, the car is a head turner. You are bound to notice its presence. And it is a fun, nimble car to drive. It is more mechanical than the newer variants, hence, Adeeb feels like he can connect more to it. And boy it responds to his commands – Adeeb swivels through traffic, measuring the gaps precisely, boosting his Evo VI with pride.
Photos: Rahin Sadman Islam