Custom Mitsubishi Evo VIII: An Enthusiast’s Rematch Draped in Japanese Armor

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This aggressive Voltex-equipped Mitsubishi Evo VIII was actually supposed to be an Evo IX. At least, that's how things were playing out for Zach Tabonda and his first Evo MR that he began building in 2017. Not one, but two major setbacks put a halt to that project and a slight change of direction led him to this point, a happy marriage of fate and luck.

The driver's side quarter panel of that first Evo was badly damaged in an accident and put a damper on things, as he notes, "There were flaws in the repair, but knowing that the quarter panel was going to be cut anyway, it didn't bother me as much. I went ahead and built the motor with various specs, first as a 2.0L with an FP Red making about 450 horsepower, then a 2.3L with a 6466 making 550 hp on pump gas."

Call From A Friend

With the accident and a not-so-perfect repair in the past, things were moving in the right direction, right up until an oil issue led to engine failure and put a stop to the good times. Not long after the Evo IX called it quits, Zach's friend gave him a call and told him about a new car he'd picked up. "He showed me his newly acquired Evo VIII and I jokingly asked if it was for sale," says Zach. "He did say yes, and I never even mentioned what happened with my Evo IX." Not long after their encounter, Zach and his friend made good on the deal and this became his new project.

Some of the parts from the first build were able to be transferred over and some were replaced or updated in the transition. You'll now find a Sheepey Race top mount manifold and downpipe supporting a Precision Gen II 6466 and Turbosmart waste gate and 3-inch titanium exhaust piping from Carbonetics Australia making up the exhaust system.

Under The Carbon Hood

It's not the ultra-shined and meticulously detailed engine bay that you might expect, as this car was driven regularly through Hawaii's sunny to rainy, then back again (often in the same day) weather patterns. Under the water spots you'll fine ample use of titanium from the RK Ti charge piping and Chasing Js heat shield and radiator stays, to the Carbing shock tower bar with master cylinder brace and JDCustoms hardware.

Close the lightweight, heavily vented Sydney Composites Australia hood, take a step back and realize the already buff, boxy body of the Evo is dramatically beefed up with a complete Voltex Cyber widebody kit. "I've been collecting Voltex parts for the last five years with the help of Tony at Evasive Motorsport," Zach notes

Body, Paint, Wheels

Carshop Refresh is responsible for all of the paint and bodywork on the Evo and that included fitting the kit properly and removing all of the glass for a complete respray.  Even draped in rich black paint, you can't help but take note of the low-slung front bumper and its carbon fiber lip with splitter that terminates on both ends with carbon winglets. Just above is a pair of massive carbon canards on either end, their dramatic visual impact matched by the louvers in the hood.

The bulky Voltex side skirts match height with the front bumper and help the widened front and rear fenders flow with one another. The sort of overshadowing rear wing you might expect on a kit like this is in fact perched over the rear. Custom Genki TRS L.E.D. taillights were built and added along with stout Ganador mirrors that help finish the body makeover.

We typically see the same few wheel choices with this generation Evo and it's nice to encounter something a little different. To fill in the ample room under the widened fenders, 18x10.5 AME TM02 were chosen and, in contrast, bright red R1 Concepts brake kits sit just behind. Further inside the wheel wells are Fortune Auto 500 Series coil overs with their patented Air Lift Piston System that allow Zach to keep his Voltex lip and splitter intact.

Cabin And Seat Delete

The titanium theme from under the hood and the Voltex exterior treatment both carry into the cabin with the rainbow hue metal in the form of a Momo steering wheel in place and Bride x Voltex collaborative seats installed. The factory shifter box and cables were replaced with a Boostin Performance x KDN H-pattern shifter kit and just above is a trio of AEM gauges. No more passengers in the rear as the seats were pulled and the gap filled with a Backyard.Projects aluminum seat delete with matching door cards.


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