Naming a car is one of the telltale signs that a car has evolved well past its role as a mechanical entity and into a more surreal realm as an object of affection where emotion, not the laws of physics, seem to be in control. While this trend could well have gotten its push start in Puerto Rico with drag racers Pepe Loco, Sakura, Rafealito and Party Time, some cars have been blessed to answer this call. Is this trend sweeping the States? Meet Tangerine Chaos, the brainchild of the schizophrenic mind of Rigo LaFontaine Jr. Rigo, shop foreman at South Coast Mitsubishi, spearheaded the project along with owner Abbas Ahmadi.
Rigo related that South Coast Mitsubishi is the No. 1 EVO dealer in the country. Since the dealership services thousands of EVOs and has seen a myriad of tuned ones, a shop car seemed appropriate. "We wanted to do something that stands out, turns heads and is a symbol of what we stand for at South Coast Mitsubishi," Rigo says. "One day the owner came up to me and said, 'Let's build something badass!' One hour later he brings us a 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII GSR with ugly Infiniti G35 wheels that had been traded in at one of our dealerships with the hardest 73,000 miles I've ever seen an EVO endure-all those miles of driving with no maintenance." Rigo was told this was going to be his project.
Rigo aimed high when he thought of how to modify the EVO and make the proper statement. "The hardest thing was to have Abbas sign for the $12,000 Cosworth 2.2L stroked longblock, but after that it was all downhill," he says. "As far as signing checks, we went well over $50,000." The Cosworth engine starts with a fresh block that was specially prepped by Cosworth and then fitted with the company's forged 86mm pistons, forged H-beam con rods and trick billet crank with a 94mm stroke. Cosworth high-performance main bearings, rod bearings and studs keep the rotating assembly secure as engine speeds escalate.
Rigo happily urges the 4G63 to strive for 10,000 rpm since he covered that base with a Cosworth-crafted cylinder head. Torturous flow bench testing resulted in a program that delivers great flow and high-speed capability. It all starts with a five-axis machining regime with precise port-shaping alterations. A CNC machine carves out the ports and un-shrouds the 1mm oversized valves. The big valves work in tandem with Cosworth 272-degree camshafts to ensure the 2.2-liter can ingest big boost, while Cosworth high-tension valvesprings and titanium retainers ensure the engine can handle big rpms.
The stout 4G63 plant is pressurized by a Forced Performance EVOGreen turbo mounted on a DC Sports stainless steel turbo header. The custom EVOGreen turbo is based on the chassis of the stock Mitsubishi TD05H found on the EVO IX. Forced Performance hot rods the unit by swapping in its own 69mm, five-blade compressor wheel and a larger-than-stock 11-blade turbine wheel that spins in a 10.5cm2 housing. The EVOGreen expands the TD05H's envelope without drastically altering its spool-up characteristics. The turbo retains its efficiency up to about 24 psi on pump gas and has generated power in the 400whp range on 4G63s with the proper supporting modifications, according to Forced Performance.
Induction is augmented with a Nisei front-mount intercooler. One of the big tricks to maximizing intercooler performance is using piping with fewer or less drastic bends. In the EVO this consists of swapping in a super-compact battery and fabbing up the correct pipes. The Tangerine Chaos EVO runs a Nisei battery kit and hard pipe upgrade to provide better intercooling, which is key in sunny SoCal.