There’s nothing tense here, just glittery purple and good times. Lawrence Connor’s modified Mitsubishi Evo 8 is packing some highly entertaining horsepower figures, and this thing’s been built to last…
Remember the Millennium Bug? In the run up to the date when the clocks would tick over to the year 2000, the excitement of all the years of our lives soon beginning with a 2 instead of a 1 (which can be filed in the same part of the brain that gets adrenalised when your car’s odometer clicks over to a number with a string of zeros) was somewhat dampened by a tinge of panic. How many computer systems had actually been futureproofed to cope with the new dates system? Would life support machines switch themselves off, would planes drop out of the sky?
It was all fine of course, nobody was so much as grazed by an exploding wristwatch… and yet we now have a new thing to worry about: the Year 2038 Problem. As of January this year, we’re now officially closer to Y3k than Y2K, and this is a worry – a lot of digital systems work their internal clocks by recording time as a 32-bit binary integer counting all the seconds that have passed since January 1st 1970. (That’s why your iPhone weirdly defaults to a 1970 date if you drop it in a pint of beer.) Problem is, on 19th January 2038 we’re going to run out of numbers, and due to a complex situation involving negative integers, computers will start to think it’s December 1901. Still, we’ll probably all have been wiped out by Trump’s nuclear arsenal at that point anyway, although it does highlight the importance of future proofing – something Lawrence Connor will be happy to chat to you about. He’s the fella aggressively hooning this modified Mitsubishi Evo 8 all over the British Isles, and he’s got a keen sense of how to embrace horsepower while also sidestepping doom. There’s a lot of Evos out there, and a fair few which boast some massive power figures but can’t really deploy the grunt without getting a bit explodey. Lawrence, however, has approached this with a clear head; he’s done it properly. His engine boasts a meaty 505bhp at the fly (434bhp at the wheels), which is more than enough to plaster a huge grin over his face as he tears for the horizon, but the key thing is that he’s built the thing well. Forged internals, carefully considered fueling, quality management and mapping, it’s made for longevity as well as ballistics; a track and drag monster that’s happy to trundle to the shops. This is no willy-waving contest, these numbers are built properly, and built to last.
All of this represents a marked shift from his former automotive endeavours. “Before the Evo 8, my main modified car was my first Volkswagen Golf TDI,” Lawrence explains. “It had everything possible done to it to turn it into a show car. Ever since that I’ve had an addiction to modifying, to make cars unique and my own; having done the slow show car thing, I fell in love with Evos and subsequently this happened – which could be seen as both, I guess.”
The enthusiasm for the Evo stretches back a long way into the past too: “Ever since I was a young boy I was car daft with Evos and Imprezas,” he continues. “And when I saw this one I knew I just had to have it! I’ve driven both and must say the Evo is a far superior car to drive, and in my experience a lot more reliable too. I just love the fact that they are a four-door family saloon car that happens to pack a mega punch – enough to shock much more expensive cars and bikes.” The Mitsubishi was purchased from a good friend, and it was already sporting a handful of interesting modifications. This fella had bought the car in Ireland and, having got it home, hadn’t really used it that much – it had largely just sat in his garage, so after a lot of persuasion Lawrence was eventually able to convince him to let it go. At this time, the engine was sporting forged internals and running an Autronic ECU, and the colour change to that creamy-smooth and mile-deep House of Kolor Purple Kandy paint had been carried out, but aside from that it was all as it left the factory back in 2004 – including the stock turbo. Plenty of potential then, and given that the first steps into a monster build had already been made, Lawrence was eager to take the concept to the next level.
“Having bought the car late on in the year, it was tucked away at first to keep away from the winter roads,” he recalls. “I planned on doing some work to it, but never realised the extent I would go to until I did it – and truth be told, it’s still not finished. I originally set out to upgrade the brakes and suspension without increasing the power, until a friend was selling the turbo and screamer pipe and it was too good an opportunity to miss out on!” The turbocharger in question is a Turbo Technics S205B billet item, which hides beneath the malevolent jumble of snaking pipes of the Race-Tech manifold, the screamer pipe cheekily poking upwards like some manner of demented periscope. “Once all the parts had arrived, me and my friend Scott set out to fit it all, and when everything was bolted up we sent it off to the dyno to be mapped. However, a faulty air temp sensor on the Autronic ECU provided a bit of a setback, and with us being unable to find a replacement the decision of going with a Link G4 ECU – supplied by Andy Napier – was the thing that got the car finished with being properly mapped.” The results are startling in their aggression, and that stock chassis and transmission (which are already formidable straight out of the box) have been augmented to suit the new stresses: a conversion to an RS rear diff joins the stock 6-speed ’box, which Lawrence admits isn’t the strongest but he’s keen to see how far he can push it before upgrading to the beefier 5-speed. Suspension wise, he’s taken the no-expense-spared route with the relatively obscure and revered Öhlins Road and Track coilover option, joined by Momentum Chamber adjustable rear control arms, an Ultra Racing 22mm rear anti-roll bar with Powerflex polybushes, Ultra Racing rear top brace, and Ultra Racing bottom brace. The brakes, which were always high up the upgrade list, are pretty incredible now – a full race setup from Alcon, with 6-pot fronts and 4-pot rears, clamping 365mm and 343mm discs respectively. A thoroughly respectable basis upon which to paint all of those colourful horses in broad and eager strokes.
It cuts quite a dash too, doesn’t it? The Evo VIII design is so imposing that it could never be called subtle, although even in this outré shade of purple it looks almost restrained compared to a lot of modded Mitsubishis you find on the scene. The classic choice of Rota Grid Drifts, wrapped in sticky R888Rs for maximum-attack menace, is complemented by a subtle and unexpectedly all-pervading enthusiasm for carbon fibre. The spoiler, splitter, vortex generators, FQ400 mirrors, rear spats, sideskirt extensions, and even the front badge are all crafted from carbon, imbuing it with an inherent sense of class and allowing the aesthetic to speak relatively softly while it wields its massive stick.
“In all honesty, the car was built for anything,” Lawrence assures us. “I’ve always loved the idea of owning a car that’s built well enough that it can be used for any purpose. It originally had its full interior up until 2018, when I stripped it and fitted the rollcage and wraparound bucket seats. Even with it being ’caged and stripped I used it daily for several months, including shopping trips and everything, without a single issue. Being used on the road it gets a lot of attention – mainly from using the anti-lag! – and it was built to be driven, not to sit in a garage. Seeing it put smiles on people’s faces really makes the build worthwhile.” And thankfully, given his fastidiousness in ensuring every detail is correct and carried out properly, with no half-measures and not a single corner cut, Lawrence can be assured of many years of high-octane thrills in this savage and yet ultimately refined machine. No danger of time-borne meltdown or binary death – this purple monster is fully future proofed.
Tech Spec: Modified Mitsubishi Evo 8
4G63 2.0-litre, Turbo Technics S205B billet turbo, JMF screamer elbow, Race-Tech tubular manifold, Blitz Nür exhaust system, Manley I-beam conrods, Wiseco 1400HD pistons, ARP bolts, HKS cam pulleys, Piper race head, HKS Kevlar balance belt and timing belt in purple, Walbro 440lph fuel pump, ID1000 injectors, Sytec FPR, Zaklee cam cover, Ross Sport 4-inch intake with massive K&N filter, standard throttle body and inlet, GReddy intercooler with full 2.5-inch boost piping – all fully wrapped in gold heat tape, Mishimoto radiator with Mishimoto slimline fan, Forge coolant tank and power steering reservoir, Link G4+ ECU, Exedy HD twin-plate clutch, RS rear diff conversion with SuperPro polybushes
9.5×18-inch Rota Grid Drift wheels, 245/40 Toyo R888R tyres, Öhlins Road and Track coilovers, Momentum Chamber adjustable rear control arms, Ultra Racing 22mm rear anti-roll bar with Powerflex polybushes, Ultra Racing rear top brace, Ultra Racing bottom brace, Alcon race brakes – 6-pot 365mm front, 4-pot 343mm rear, Ferodo DS2500 pads, braided brake lines
Safety Devices bolt-in rollcage, Corbeau Revolution 5 carbon fibre seats, OMP 3-inch harnesses, Pro Sport boost and oil pressure/temperature gauges, Blitz boost controller, Blitz turbo timer, carbon fibre mount for all gauges, OMP WRC steering wheel with Sparco quick release and boss kit, fire extinguisher
House of Kolor S2-KBC10 Purple Kandy paint, carbon fibre spoiler, carbon vortex generators, carbon splitter, carbon FQ400 mirrors, carbon rear spats, carbon sideskirt extensions, carbon front badge, anodised purple bonnet raisers, modified bonnet grille for screamer pipe.
Feature taken from Banzai magazine. Words: Dan Bevis. Photos: Ade Brannan.