What do you do when your Evo I of nearly a decade disappears at the hands of a thief and is never seen again? Rob Stewart’s answer was to spend the next decade building a perfectly understated 440kW Evo VI to replace it!
There is no greater disappointment than pouring your undying devotion and entire bank account into a car only to have it disappear from sight at the hands of a scumbag thief. Even worse is when that car is never seen again and the person responsible is never held accountable for their actions. You can either give up and swear off cars altogether in anger — which would be an understandable response — or, as Rob Stewart has done, move forward with a positive attitude and take the next step to better what you previously had.
It was the theft of Rob’s Evo I some 10 years ago that acted as the catalyst for the 1999 Mitsubishi Evolution VI featured here. You see, Rob’s been obsessed with anything on four wheels since birth. Like the rest of us, he spent all his time playing with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, and, as the years ticked over, he grew up a member of the generation that watched cars such as Reece McGregor’s GT-R and Andre Simon’s ‘DOCILE’ Evo III carve out a name for the import scene on our shores.
Although Rob’s initial venture into modifying was by way of a 1975 Ford Capri 2.0S that was licked in primer and sitting over 13-inch Hotwires wrapped in Bridgestone Eagers, it took only a visit from a friend who owned a CD5A Lancer GSR to sway him to the import side of the fence.
“I was completely blown away with the performance and wanted to get one of my own. The dream was an Evo III, but I couldn’t afford one, so I ended up getting an Evo I,” Rob tells us.
That Evo I was modified over the course of several years before it was stolen, with Rob left questioning where to go from there. While most of us are left with a base budget for the next build once selling off a car, Rob had to start from scratch this time around, meaning that the timeline was always going to be stretched out. An Evo VI, now known as ‘EV0LVN’, was chosen to replace the Evo I, and has been in the works for a good 10 years to date.
Rob tells us that near-on everything has been built in the shed in order to keep costs down; building something of this calibre on a shoestring budget ain’t a small feat. The goal has always been to keep it super clean and visually as close to stock as possible, while focusing his efforts on the performance side of the car: engine, driveline, and handling. It needed to be reasonably comfortable and responsive for road car duties while capable of hitting the track and drags on the weekends.
While to most of us that would take form in a simple package that might see a few bolt-on pieces added and upgraded shocks installed, to Rob, it meant a whole lot more. The factory 4G63 has been opened up with a Manley 100mm forged stroker crank crammed into the bottom end — stretching capacity out to a hefty 2.3 litres — alongside Manley Turbo Tuff rods and CP pistons. Among the scattering of track-ready pieces, such as the baffled sump and ACL Race Series bearings that support the increase, the top end has been equally tickled. With a ported head packed full of Ferrea 1.0mm oversize valves, Kelford TX280 camshafts, and Tomei adjustable cam gears, and finished off with an HKS head gasket for good measure, this Evo’s made for big figures.
So, with a bulletproof bottom end and a head waiting to flow all of the boost, Rob has opted to bolt the ever-popular Garrett GTX3582R atop a Sinco twin-scroll mani and wind the wick up to 28psi with twin TiAL 44mm MV-R gates. All that boost is accepted via a Plazmaman Pro Series intake manifold and 66mm billet throttle body, and mixed with fresh 98 in the cylinders by Bosch 1650cc injectors that sit on a Sard fuel rail. Down the back, the fuel system consists of a custom surge tank that is fed by a Walbro 250-litre-per-hour in-tank lift pump and drawn on by a Bosch 044 external pump. On the dyno at Dyno Power and with Brent on the laptop, the Evo cranked 440kW at all four wheels.
For those of you who know Evos, that’s a shit-ton of power to be putting down, and the kind that loves to blow gearboxes to absolute bits. Thankfully, after a few mishaps that saw broken pieces of clutch being pulled out on the garage floor, the syncros survived — Rob having worked out a suitable package to handle the jandle that consists of the factory Evo VI five-speed gear-swapper paired with a Tilton 7.25-inch twin-plate–and–Quarter Master hydraulic release bearing combo.
Down back, Rob has converted the rear diff to the stronger RS version. It has caused him little heartache compared to the former incarnation, and, judging by the way the thing gets pedalled at Street Fighters, he’s onto a winning recipe.
As for ticking the box when it comes to the way it handles, it’s been kept fairly simple. Tein Mono Flex Sport Spec Winding Master coilovers appear on each corner and Whiteline 24mm adjustable sway bars can be found at either end, among a mixture of Cusco braces. The factory Evo VI Brembo calipers were more than enough to deal with the uprated power figure, albeit now fitted with DBA 4000-series slotted rotors and Mintex M1166 pads, with Goodridge braided steel lines in place for when the corner shortens up faster than expected and a few stomps of the pedal are required. Lastly, 17×9-inch Advan Racing RS rollers shod in 245/40 Advan Neova AD08R rubber take care of maintaining grip and putting that power to the ground.
As Rob told himself it would be, the exterior remains almost completely stock, having been resprayed in the factory Mitsubishi Scotia White and the headlights switched out for black one-piece units along with the side repeaters. If you consider yourself an Evo connoisseur, you may spot the custom cold-air ducting in spotlight recesses, although we laymen would struggle to notice the difference. That same ethos applies to the interior, where the Evo VI Recaros remain, albeit dropped down on HKS Kansai Service low rails. Rob has converted the steering wheel to an Evo IX unit, which he says took a lot more effort than you’d expect. Besides the well-integrated AIM MXS Strada digital dash, which displays data from the Link G4+ Xtreme ECU — both installed and wired in by Chris at Performance Fuel Injection — and a GReddy gear knob, everything remains factory.
While Rob could easily have thrown in the towel and turned his back after losing his car all those years ago, it’s a damn good thing he didn’t, as there was an even better build lurking within. That build has stayed true to what it was supposed to be, even across the decade it took to get it there — what’s that old saying? Some things just get better with age. It definitely hasn’t done it any harm.
Whether you catch Rob pedalling this weapon at a local event or simply cruising down to the shops for an ice cream on a sunny day, don’t make the mistake of writing his Evo off as bog standard — this is the culmination of a 10-year plan and it’s just waiting to eat you alive, ice cream in hand and all.
OCCUPATION: IT business owner
BUILD TIME: On going
LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: 10 years
THANKS: My very understanding wife, Carla, and my two boys, Liam and Logan, for putting up with my car obsession; Chris Hasnip from Performance Fuel Injection; Dick at Hytech Engines; Brent at Dynopower; Jason Faulkner; and everyone else who has helped outHeart
1999 Mitsubishi Evolution VI
ENGINE: Mitsubishi 4G63T, 2300cc, four-cylinder
BLOCK: Manley 100mm forged 2.3-litre stroker crankshaft, Manley Turbo Tuff I-beam connecting rods, CP pistons, ACL race bearings, Honeywell oil-pressure sensor, AEM oil-temp sensor, ported head, custom sump baffling
HEAD: Ferrea 1.0mm oversize valves, Ferrea bronze valve guides, Beehive heavy-duty valve springs, Kelford TX280 camshafts, Tomei adjustable cam gears, HKS head gasket
INTAKE: Plazmaman Race Series intercooler, Plazmaman Pro Series intake manifold, Plazmaman 66mm billet throttle body, K&N air filter
EXHAUST: 3.5-inch downpipe, 3.5-inch exhaust system
TURBO: Garrett GTX3582R turbo, thermal-coated twin-scroll exhaust housing, Sinco twin-scroll manifold
WASTEGATE: Twin TiAL 44mm MVR V-band
BOV: GReddy Type R
FUEL: Walbro 250-litre-per-hour in-tank lift pump, Bosch 044 external fuel pump, custom surge tank, Sard fuel rail, Bosch 1650cc injectors, Sard fuel-pressure regulator, Honeywell fuel-pressure sensor
IGNITION: NZEFI high energy coils
ECU: Link G4+ Xtreme ECU
COOLING: Aluminium radiator, twin 12-inch electric fans, Setrab 25-row oil cooler, custom coolant overflow
EXTRA: Custom oil catch-can, Cusco engine mounts, 7bar manifold absolute pressure sensor (MAP) sensor, custom wiring loom
GEARBOX: Evo VI five-speed
CLUTCH: Tilton 7.25-inch twin-plate, Quarter Master hydraulic release bearing
FLYWHEEL: Custom billet
DIFF: RS rear-end conversion
STRUTS: Tein Mono Flex Sport Spec Winding Master coilovers
BRAKES: Rebuilt OEM Evo VI Brembo calipers, DBA 4000 Series slotted rotors, Mintex M1166 brake pads, Goodridge braided steel lines
EXTRA: Cusco camber plates, Whiteline 24mm adjustable sway bars, Cusco strut braces front and rear, Cusco five-point lower front strut brace
WHEELS: 17×9-inch Advan Racing RS
TYRES: 245/40R17 Advan Neova AD08R
PAINT: Resprayed in Mitsubishi Scotia White
ENHANCEMENTS: Black one-piece headlights and side repeaters, custom cold-air ducting in spotlight recesses
SEATS: OEM Evo VI Recaro seats, HKS Kansai Service low seat rails
STEERING WHEEL: Evo IX
INSTRUMENTATION: AiM MXS Strada digital dash display
EXTRA: GReddy gear knob, HKS turbo timer
FUEL TYPE: BP98
TUNER: Brent at Dyno Power
QUARTER- MILE: 11.1 seconds at 122mph (196kph) (old set-up)