LIMELIGHT | Ryan Eves’ Lancer Evolution VII RS

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In the 90’s I was a diehard Subaru fan. Nothing or no one could change that fact. I hated Mitsubishi and everything to do with them as at the time it was McRae versus Makinen and you could not be a fan of both and as a typical teenager I had to dislike my hero’s biggest rival. I started to change my mind towards the end of the 90’s as Colin had moved on to Ford driving the Focus and Gran Turismo came out at the time and the Lancer Evolution IV was my weapon of choice. It has been really since then that I became a huge fan of everything Mitsubishi Evolution even to the point where my girlfriend had my name as “Evo” in her phone – crazy!


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This love for Lancer Evolution’s has been going on for quite sometime and when I spotted Ryan’s car near home one day I literally followed him to the shops and pulled up alongside to ask him about it. It turns out this particular model is a Japanese Import, a RS version lightweight model that Mitsubishi basically made for motorsport purposes. The weight reduction came in the form of thinner glass, no boot trims, no sound proofing under the carpets, no air condition (not that you need it here in Ireland/UK), no electric windows, mirrors, no rear wiper and no rear speakers. This really is a stripped out special and even with all these extras removed the RS still retains a better second hand value in comparison to the better spec’d GSR models because they are difficult to find and especially in such excellent condition like this.

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With such a stripped out no frills car Ryan decided he had to do some work to it to make it manageable as trying to convince your other half that booming along in a fire-spitting, 4WD monster is, at the best of times, not going to be easy but with something as raw as the Lancer Evolution VII RS I think it would be nigh on impossible!

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You will have to forgive me throughout this article as I will talk about my own opinion on this car simply because I truly love it. I love white cars especially on white wheels and if there is a motorsport edge to the car I am pretty much all in on that. Scotia White looks great on pretty much any Evolution as it conjures up that rally feel – granted we are so use to seeing them in the Ralliart/Marlboro colours especially from the Evolution VI onwards.

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Ryan bought this VII completely standard about a year ago and has worked on it steadily since making it into what you see now. I have to admit I was surprised but very pleased to see an Evolution lowered just right as a lot of them end up getting lowered too much. Now do not get me wrong a Evolution slammed looks amazing but we simply do not have the roads over here to allow for it so what we usually get is a car that is between slammed and just right for our roads which then leaves the car in no man’s land. It is not low enough to look cool and it is not high enough to give it a good caning on a back road. Ryan has it just right!

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So how did he achieve this look? Well that was the first thing Ryan spent some cash on. A set of Ohlins coilovers were purchased and its achieved the desired effect. After sitting in the car and getting a “spirited” run in it the car rides firmly but remains comfortable nonetheless.

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The car is running some nice Rota GTR’s 18×9.5 on all corners and they do look great. Ryan also has Revolution Milleniums that he can throw on if he gets bored, again another excellent wheel for the Lancer. I know people will frown because it has been done many times before but if it looks good then why not? Sometimes people concentrate on trying to be different too often I think and sometimes it is not about what works but about what is different. I do appreciate people trying to do things differently though.

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One thing essential to a good Japanese Turbo car is an excellent exhaust. Ryan fitted a Hayward & Scott system that was hand made by them in the UK. It certainly sounded fantastic when I was following the car to the shoot location, not to mention looking fantastic with large pops of fire belching out the back on the over-run.

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The 3″ Hayward & Scott exhaust is only the beginning of the tuning parts. The VII is basically at a Stage One in terms of its engine tuning. A 80 Series turbo has been fitted and is capable of up to 450bhp. A.I Autosport fitted an Autronics ECU with an Anti-lag system which can be turned off. If you do not see the VII coming you will without doubt hear it!

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Although the turbo is ready for 450 wild horses Ryan has the car at a “safe” 375bhp with boost being controlled by a Greddy Profec Spec2 boost controller. I have to admit to being extremely jealous of the power figure. Of course there are Evo’s out there running ridiculous amounts of BHP but when your driving with 130bhp everyday of the week a figure like that definitely makes you jealous. The car is fitted with Brembo’s also to bring the Lancer to a complete standstill fast.

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With the VII RS being a lightweight version the car did not come with a nice interior. In fact I think it is released with the most basic Lancer interior there is. The reason for that being that because the car was soon to get a roll-cage and proper competition seats Mitsubishi thought what is the point of adding the GSR equipment – it did not make sense. Ryan has fitted Evolution IX seats and added some nice bits to the interior. The MOMO steering wheel looks great in the car and as always I had to get into the drivers seat for a feel around (hmmm that sounds kinda odd).

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We have discussed what Mitsubishi has taken away which has made the car sound a bit “poverty” spec but that would be unfair and, more importantly, completely inaccurate. The shell of the car has been spot welded in various key areas to give it more strength which would of course be totally necessary for competition. The car is also fitted with a low-ratio gearbox to aid acceleration and a Limited-Slip differential. These added extras to the RS make it a very potent machine indeed.

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Ryan tells me this car is still very much a work-in-progress as he has major plans for it and those they are in the engine bay! The plan is to come from the relatively “safe” 375bhp to seeing over the 500bhp mark and this is to be achieved with a stroker kit. A few days after the shoot I was telling Ryan how much I loved shooting the car and that only for my own personal plans I would have one and he said to me “Ah I should have let you drive it now that I think of it!”. Dude, I am so glad you did not give me that opportunity as I think I would most likely be driving one and my plans would be in tatters. If you did not realize by now, I really love this car and I cannot wait to see it punching a 500bhp hole in the air some time very soon!
 
Words & Photos: Patrick McCullagh
 

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