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A Look At Mitsubishi Rally Car History with the Lancer Evolution

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was a rally car by the Japanese automaker that really changed the way consumers looked at the brand. Starting in 1992 and spanning over ten generations, the days of Mitsubishi sports cars have long since passed. With so much history and a legend in the world of rally cars, Mitsubishi has multiple well-known vehicles that have won titles and many races. Last week, we talked about the Mitsubishi Galant AMG, based off of the Galant VR4 (sixth generation). Only a true fan would know another vehicle was based off of the Galant VR4 when it first launched – none other than the Lancer Evolution.

It’s true. The first generation of the Lancer Evolution was built using the 2.0 L turbocharged DOHC engine and AWD drivetrain from the original Galant VR4. Using a different chassis, the vehicle was sold as a “Gran Sport Racing” (GRS) model and a “Rally Sport” (RS) model. The one and only Ralliart was responsible for the Lancer Evolution, the name behind some of Mitsubishi Motors most well-known racing vehicles. They made the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI that won the World Rally Championship (WRC) for four years in a row from 1996 – 1999, driven by rally driver Tommi Maikinen. The Galant VR4 also won a championship title from the WRC, but the four year winning of the Lancer EVO earned it a special Tommi Makinen Edition that was auctioned off in 2021 in Europe for £100,100. Back in 2016, another treasure, the Lancer EVO X was sold on eBay in 2016 for $76,400.

Lasting for ten generations, from 1992 to 2016, the Lancer Evolution went through many changes, but the most notable were the EVO VIII and EVO X. Everyone has their favorite model. Some would say the EVO X was the best of the lineup, and underrated legend that could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, able to finish a quarter-mile in 14.7 seconds at a top speed of 109 mph, able to reach a top speed of almost 160 mph. A lot of this can be attested to the 303 horsepower engine and Mitsubishi Motor’s advanced all-wheel drive (AWD) technology, but the Lancer EVO eighth-generation made it to BBC’s TopGear when it came to showing off rally cars. Able to crank out 400 horsepower, the Lancer EVO-8 was a four-wheel drive rally car that could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and had a top speed of 175 mph, thanks to a small, turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.

The record smashing Lancer EVO is still talked about and raced today, with many fans still holding cut hope for the return of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. In 2021, the concept art for a once canceled Mitsubishi Starion 4WD was revealed, also designed by Ralliart, and at one point, a return of the Evolution nameplate on an all-electric crossover was the game plan for Mitsubishi Motors. With the automaker focused on going all-electric following the release of its next-generation model lineup, if the Lancer Evolution were to return, it may be an electric vehicle (EV). It would make for some great competition, especially in the upcoming EV market where a certain muscle car automaker claims it can go electric and still produce high-performance vehicles.

If still looking to capture the original Lancer Evolution, an EVO VIII can range between $30k – $60k depending on condition and where the model is being sold. This model really shook things up for the Lancer Evolution model, pushing the boundaries that eventually led to the EVO X. Most Lancer EVO X models in decent condition go for $30k – $40k. Said to be one of the best in the world in terms of acceleration and control, the Lancer Evolution is definitely one of the cars that speak volumes about Mitsubishi Motors early racing days. Looking forward to what EV is coming from Mitsubishi Motors? Could it be the return of the automaker’s rally car models? Stay up to date on what’s new with Mitsubishi when you follow us on Miami Lakes Mitsubishi social media.

Photo Source/Copyright: Mitsubishi Motors