The IX was already an epic Evo; then came the HKS…
By Matt Bird / Sunday, 21 May 2023 / Loading comments
Perhaps no car makes 15 years ago seem more like ancient history than the Mitsubishi Evo IX. Today, Mitsubishi UK doesn’t exist as a sales operation, only surviving to service the sorry collection of Mirages, ASXs and plug-in Outlanders that were its market offering as the death knell tolled. It’s been some fall from grace. Back in 2007/08, not only was the Evo IX probably the best Evo since the VI, there was still another one to come. Maybe the X wasn’t as adored (with some justification) but it was still a ferociously fast four-door with tonnes of clever chassis tech. The Final Edition of that car was confirmed less than a decade ago – now look.
The Evo’s demise is a curious and lengthy case, and the story can’t really be done justice here – but there’s no question that models like the Ford Focus RS undoubtedly proved there was still demand for aggressively turbocharged, four-wheel drive, manual gearbox’d fast cars in the years after Lancer. Mostly it was the simple fact that times change and the Evo didn’t as much; in the late 2000s, as it was at the turn of the century, the car did what it said on the tin, but it was pretty expensive to run and its heyday was already over the horizon. Still, what a legacy.
By the time of the Evo IX FQ-360 by HKS, the Lancer required ever greater commitment. It was quite a lot of money, those notorious service intervals remained, and the world’s finances were teetering on the edge. But what a car. On top of the standard 360’s brilliance, the HKS added new Bilstein dampers, Eibach springs and Speedline Turini wheels, like it was a Clio Cup’s long-lost relative.
It was so good that Mitsubishi kept one for its legendary heritage fleet, and that was the car used to welcome the IX into the PH Heroes hall of fame; everything so wonderful about the old stager was abundantly clear a decade later, its ability to make four-wheel drive fun – and work with a British B-road – still unrivalled. The Evo always stood out for the way that the tech came together for an authentically gratifying (and thrilling) experience; if anything the passage of time only highlighted that more strongly, as nothing had yet come along to match it.
This Evo is one of those exceptionally rare HKS models, and presumably one of very few in red. A 2007 car, it’s being sold with a full service history (which won’t have come cheap, surely) and recently renewed parts including an exhaust and battery. A new cambelt will save the new owner an expense, too, while a lighter flywheel should further heighten the excitement of that iconic 4G63 engine. With almost 80k now under those smart Speedlines, it’s not a concours car, but then a pristine Evo always seemed a bit of an oxymoron anyway; if ever there was a car to get out and drive rather than look at, this is it.
Such is the revered status of late Evos that this one is for sale now at quite a bit more than it would have cost new. It’s possible even to pay £60k for a lower mileage HKS, believe it or not – they really are very, very desirable Japanese fast cars. But see above: who wants an Evo to mollycoddle? With Tommi Makinens now even more valuable, perhaps no Evo demonstrates best why this car is so loved than an FQ-360. Wherever Mitsubishi might be in another 15 years, this is still going to be loved like little else.
SPECIFICATION | MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION MR FQ-360 by HKS
Engine: 1,997cc, four-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],887rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],200rpm
Top speed: 165mph
Year registered: 2007
Recorded mileage: 78,000
Price new: £35,504
Yours for: £44,999
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