This red car may look like just another old Japanese with big wheels to the uninitiated. But it’s actually a real Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX wagon, of which only 2,500 units were built.
Here at CarVibz, we love to point out that Japan was a big player in the wagon segment. Thus, we showed you how you can make an R35 Nissan GT-R family hauler and pointed out that the Toyota Camry did have an AWD wagon version in the past.
Of course, Americans can’t buy any of that, but the JDM import community does have access to the Subaru WRX wagon and limited entry in the Lexus IS wagon. But this Evo IX is something special, something most people don’t even know existed.
Right now, performance wagons are almost exclusively offered by the Germans. If you want a 2.0-liter turbo inside a sports “estate/tourer” Volkswagen will soon sell you the Golf 8 R, which has equivalents in the Arteon R Shooting Brake and Cupra Leon ST lineups.
Japan-only, a super-rare wagon
There were three trim levels on these Evo Wagon models in Japan. The GT and MR had the same spec as the Evo IX sedan, meaning the 2.0-liter turbo sent about 290 hp to all wheels via a manual. But there was also a GT-A version with 20 less horsepower which came with an automatic. VIN checks have shown that about 50% of the cars were automated.
Mitsubishi already had the Lancer as a Wagon and decided to make a special edition that would send off the Evo with a bang. It thus installed the legendary 4G63 engine which had served them so well. The wagons also needed a new transmission tunnel which together with the folding rear seats and larger trunk did increase the weight.
However, the Evo Wagon was still able to hit 62 mph in 4.8 seconds. Today, that’s impressive, but in 2006, this was basically a supercar on a budget. From what we understand, this model lacked the famous AYC electronically controlled locking rear diff, but did have the helical front LSD, active center diff and Brembo brakes, just like the sedan.
Evos used to be some of the most popular street racing cars in America. They received lots of body kits and 500 hp engine rebuilds were common. It’s amazing to see that same design on a wagon, especially with the flared fenders of this factory widebody kit. But the owner of this example, @shibababa_n, is just after the style points.
And that’s a natural thing, considering the red paint is the rarest. There could only be a few hundred of these things. It’s been paired up with lowering suspension and some deep-dish alloy wheels. Magic!