Great Britain is awash with Mitsubishi EVOs. Go to any one of their numerous track days and it is obvious that they are a popular weapon of choice. There's a lot to choose from, atleast among EVO Vs to VIIIIs.
Although it's from the same stable, an EVO III is an altogether rarer vehicle. This in no ordinary EVO III either; ordinary EVO IIIs don't kick out a scary 500 bhp-around twice as much punch as Mitsubishi ever intended. The man responsible for the many sightings of this rare car is Nigel Wilson from Wellingborough, England.
"To be honest when I went looking for a track car I didn't really have anything specific in mind," he says. The car was imported from Japan and already fitted with a rollcage. "The person who imported it had been thrashing it about on our poor quality fuel and it blew the engine, and he couldn't be bothered to replace it," he says. That didn't bother Nigel. At just 3,000 he thought it was perfect for a project car.
Nigel says he wasn't worried about buying a 10-year-old car with a limited selection of tuning parts available for it. He says he prefers to drive a car and be in control, rather than relying on computer-controlled modifications. That's not to say he doesn't appreciate the more modern EVOs, in fact his recent road cars have been an EVO VII FQ300 and an EVO VIII MR340.
With the block cracked, the EVO III's original engine was thrown away. "I did a lot of searching around the MLR forums to decide what to do with it," he says. "I did all the work myself. I've changed the spec several times over the past two years, including a full rebuild when it blew up."
Nigel started off with a standard turbo, then picked up a GT35. "Then I had to make a different manifold to make it fit together with a new intercooler and radiator, which both needed to be relocated to create enough room for the new turbo," he says. The original engine he built was around 360 bhp. When he rebuilt that with the larger turbo he was expecting considerably more, but it still didn't feel right so he went to WRC Technologies at Silverstone for some fine-tuning and expert advice. "I went to a rolling road day at WRC and it only got about 420 bhp. I was certainly expecting more," he says. WRC discovered he had the wrong spring fitted in his external wastegate; it was only a 0.5 bar spring. WRC fitted a 1.5 spring, which makes a big difference.
Nigel works with steel for a living and runs his own company so he can handle pretty much anything thrown at him when it comes to custom fabrication and installation. "When we removed the rear arches so we could fit bigger wheels we had to cut right through the door," he says. "I had a bit of an idea from a friend who does Banger racing where they weld up all the doors to strengthen the shell up. So that's what I decided to do."
He's also changed the paint scheme from black to red, which he reckons is much more a Mitsubishi color. The original rear wing wasn't adjustable so Nigel swapped it with a modified version from an EVO V.
AP Racing is responsible for the stopping power, along with mighty four-pot calipers at the front that grab hold of efficient-looking drilled discs, which were sourced from a passing Porsche 993 Turbo. Suspension is Cusco's domain. "The strut braces made a real difference, even with the rollcage," he says. "Now if you just jack up one corner it lifts the whole of that side of the car."
Nigel says the car is nice to drive on the track, but far too stiff to use for any distance on the road. "The clutch is either on or off; there's no slip in it at all," Nigel says. "It's well set up for the track with no real understeer or oversteer and doesn't slide much at all." The turbo comes in with a bit of a thump, but he says with the smaller housing there's not much lag. "It comes in at about 4,000 rpm," Nigel says. "There's no real lag because on a circuit I'm always over that anyway."