How many of us can honestly say that the original Fast and Furious movie was our first introduction to the modified car scene? The life of organized underground street racing events, the comradery among petrolheads, the sexy women that seemed to always be around these car events, and the cars. The cars (along with the women) stole our hearts at a very young age and inspired many of us to buy our very own imports and modify them in attempts to imitate the status of a quarter mile 10 second car like in the movie.
Now, I’m not saying that the car scene started with the Fast and Furious franchise because without dating myself, it was alive well before the movies. When the movies did came out however, the interest and desire to be a part of something like the import scene did exploded leaving us with famous quotes such as ‘living every quarter mile at a time’ and ‘the buster’. The movie even took iconic cars such as the Toyota Supra Mk IV and the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R and made them into something even more legendary which even today, probably plays a small role in why those car are still expensive. What I did not think about was the impact that the franchise would have all around the world. Even here in Japan, the ramifications of the Fast and Furious franchise can be seen and Shu-san’s 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GSR is the prime example of this.
The adventure begins with me receiving a random friend request on Facebook from Shu-san followed by a barrage of pictures and messages in Japanese stating that this was his car and that he was wondering if I liked it. He old me he has been a fan of my photography work and was wondering if I wanted me to come to Toyota to shoot his Evo IX. It was so beautiful and yet, so aggressive looking, that there was absolutely no way I could say no. From the pictures I saw, it was the perfect balance of visual stance and performance. Besides, I had yet the opportunity to travel that far West in Japan since I moved here.
Therefore, after a 5 hour bus ride from Tokyo to Nagoya, I met Shu-san for the first time at the Nagoya train station and had the opportunity to get to know him better while we made the hour drive to Toyota from Nagoya where his Lancer was waiting for us. When Shu-san was 16 years old, he started watching the Fast and Furious franchise and in particular, 2 Fast 2 Furious where Brian O’Conner drives the yellow Lancer Evolution. It was that car, that yellow Evo, that stole Shu’san’s heart and made him go ‘I want an Evo’. So, two years later he bought his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and begun the slow process of buying parts, and working a ridiculous amount of overtime to afford those parts. Three years later and a somewhat irritated wife, this is what Shu-san has come up with.
When we pulled up to where his 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR was resting in Toyota, the black paint scheme with red wheels and red side mirror accents that I had saw in the pictures stood out for miles among any of the cars parked near it. The M Sports Street version front bumper spoiler and carbon canards demands your attention immediately. I am actually a fan of the canards when placed on vehicle that looks like it could have came out the factory with them.
With the Lancer Evolutions racing history, they look right at home on Shu-sans Evo IX. The Password JDM quick release on the front and rear bumper, which I’m coming to find out is pretty popular modification to have in Japan, and Charge Speed Carbon Hood gives Shu-san’s Lancer Evolution a seriously aggressive front end appearance. I would hate to look in my rear view mirror and see this coming at me.
Working our way from the front on back, the Shu-san’s Lancer Evolution sits on bright red RAYS Volks Racing TE 37RT which are wrapped around Dunlop Direzza 235/40 R18’s. Bright yellow Brembo Brakes attempt to hide behind those beautiful TE37’s and provide the much needed stopping power this car desperately needs. The whole wheels and suspension setup is completed with Blistein BPS suspension kit, Swift springs with 20k’s in the front and 18k’s in the rear and AMTEC SPC Performance EZCAM XR. The ride quality with 20K/18K’s respectively is pretty stiff and slightly harsh for daily use in my opinion, but with the tight fitment Shu-san has, I would not want my wheels constantly rubbing against the inner tire wells either.
Continuing the trend of aggressiveness and performance, we follow the INGS N-Spec Side Step to Shu-san’s Evo rear end which, if you can believe it, is even more aggressive than the front end. The massive Voltex GT-Wing Type 5 Wet Carbon 15000mm with 40mm Extension, VARIS Carbon rear diffuser and side splitter fins all are dedicated to help keep Shu firmly planted on the road as he cuts thru the air at high rates of speed. Trust me, he needs all the downforce he can get with this one.
The Evo IX in its stock form was one of speed and a rally racing pedigree, but with a ECU tune and an increase of boost to around 1.6 bar ( 23 PSI), Shu-san’s Evo IX takes that speed to an entirely different level. In other words, this Evo does not mess around. You had better think twice about how much space you really have in front of you because when you smash the fun pedal, this car will absolutely haul. Smoked Depo Full LED Tail Lamp’s and a One-off tow hook complete the aggressive and yet functional rear end of Shu-san’s Evo.
The interior is tastefully done as well with Vertex-Forever Deep Cone Steering Wheel, and Recaro RS-G ASM limited seats for both the driver and passenger. Both seats are mounted on Recaro low position seat rails and side adapters. These seats make sure you are firmly stationary when riding in Shu-san’s Evo. Defi- Link Meter Advance Bf Turbo, Water temperature, Oil Temperature, and Oil Pressure gauges are all present as well. Shu-san goes the extra step in adding a custom switch system that rests on top of the transmission housing.
On the driver side, Shu-san can toggle switches ‘off’ and ‘on’ which controls the power being sent to an array of car socks on the passenger side. The interior is a nice place to be with all the creature comforts still in the car such as cold AC, touch screen navigation system and even the back seats. The ‘worst’ part about the interior setup is the Recaro seats for the passenger side. It definitely does its job of holding you firmly in place, however, it was almost too tight for me and I am not a very wide person at all. Big for Japan, absolutely, but in general, not at all.
After spending the day shooting with Shu-san, exploring his home town, and just being treated to some good ol’ Japanese hospitality, it gave me some time to think about Shu-san and how he got to where he is now. Only at the ripe age of 22 (yes he is only 22), he has taken a dream that he saw from a movie, and turned it into a reality. Not only did Shu-san get the Evo that he has always wanted, I think you all would agree with me saying that it is MUCH better than the Fast and Furious Evo. Every single modification Shu-san has done to his Lancer Evolution has been done with precision and style. It has the perfect balance of visual and performance appeal and will continue to turn heads in the import community.