In about a week I will start my yearly trek to Cape Cod. It is a drive of about 800 miles and I like to make it in a day. My record is 10.5 hours, but I don’t expect to set any records. It will be an experience of discovering constructions zones and how gas prices differ as I travel north.
This year I will drive a Mitsubishi Evolution VIII MR. I bought it in 2005 and it has about 16000 miles on it now. It is a high performance sedan based on a rally car such as you find in WRC. Mitsubishi has equipped it with an all wheel drive (AWD) system that gives the car amazing grip and cornering capabilities. It has front and rear limited slip differentials (LSD) and an active center differential (ACD). This allows power and torque to be transmitted to the wheels that can use it the most as well as the end of the car that needs it. The suspension consists of inverted struts designed and manufactured by Bilstein. Most of the development work was done on the 13 mile Nuremberg track in Germany. What came out of that work is a car that handles like a race car with the composure of a street sedan. The tires that come on it are Yokohama Advans A046 in 235/45-17. They are mounted on a set of very light weight and strong BBS wheels. The brakes are Brembo four pots on the front and dual piston on the rear. They haul the car down fast enough to make you wonder how you keep your eye balls in their sockets.
The engine is the venerable 4G63 two litre four cylinder engine that has been turbocharged with a very efficient turbine that produces about twenty pounds of boost. Keep in mind that at 14.7 pounds of boost you have effectively doubled the engine’s displacement. With the titanium exhaust system I’ve added and a couple of secret mods I get well over 300 horse power out of the engine and there is a lot more to come.
The MR version of the Evolution comes with the Bilstein suspension as well as a six speed transmission. In addition to the aluminum hood and front fenders the MR comes with an aluminum roof.
The front strut towers are braced very well from the factory so I added a Mitsubishi aluminum brace for the rear strut towers along with an aluminium “trunk bar” that braces the rear frame. The suspension pieces are made of forged aluminum for strength and function. I upgraded the rear anti roll bar with a larger adjustable unit from Road Race Engineering (RRE).
This car will put to shame exotic cars costing $100K or more. It is truely amazing and a heck of a lot of fun.
For the highway portion of the trip I will supplement my eyes and sensibilities with an Escort remote radar/laser detector. The car does not have cruise control, and it handles so well that you can easily find yourself driving far over the speed limit and feeling that you are doing about fifty. The detectors are more to keep me alert and remind me to keep my speed in an acceptable range rather than allowing me to flaunt the traffic laws.
I will save my spirited driving for the roads of Cape Cod. Those roads can be just what this kind of car really make enjoyable. Granted, Cape Cod is more thickly settled than it used to be and in the summer there are often a lot more cars using the roads. None the less, there are still some select roads with little or no houses or side streets. Use them the right time of day and you can have a blast that is almost as safe as a race track.
Since Mitsubishi Evolutions are not common cars it will be fun to come across other Evo owners on the trip and on the Cape. I hope to hook up with several Evo owners as well as Subaru WRX owners while I am up there.