Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mountain Monster

Words & Snaps by Sam

It was at the February BRC Gold Coast Meet where I first spotted Kong’s Evo 6. It perhaps wasn't the most pristine looking car at the event, nor was it the most powerful, but there was just something about it that really caught my attention. 

Maybe it was the large black XXR rims; the design giving a fat, stanced appearance, or maybe it was the uneven pulsating sound coming from under the bonnet, indicating a set of high-lift aftermarket cams. Or maybe it was that it just looked raw, mean and purposeful. Whatever it was, it grabbed my attention, it gripped me, and I just knew I had to find out more. 

A little bit of Facebook stalking and I managed to track down Kong and his Evo. After exchanging a few messages, it soon became apparent to me just how deep Kong’s passion for cars runs. It’s always a positive sign when someone refers to their car as “she”! 

Kong’s passion started at the age of 12. Family issues meant that it perhaps wasn't the easiest period of his life. He’d just moved in with his father and started a new school. And as he recalls... 

“One of my very first friends invited me over to his place after school and subsequently his older brothers were crazy about import cars. I still distinctly remember their RX7, 180SX, Soarer & Supra. Being surrounded by these amazing machines gave me peace during a time of turmoil within my family. Nowadays, there are very few things that grab my interest the way cars do.” 

Kong was originally in the market for an MR2, and it was only by chance that this Evo popped up for sale and became an option. It’s hard to find any generation of Evo in standard form, especially one as tidy as Kong’s, so it’s really not too difficult to see why he jumped at it and made it his.

It doesn't take an expert to see that even a stock Evo 6 is no ordinary 4 door family saloon. Some not so subtle styling gives clues that this beefed up Lancer has evolved a long way from its “grocery fetching” sibling, into a pure road going race car. Just check out the huge, deep front air ducts, wide arches, bonnet vents, protruding fog-lights and adjustable rear wing- everything screams performance!

The Evo 6 is referred to by many as the last real drivers Evo, this being due to the fact that it was the last generation created purely for WRC homologation purposes. Changes to the WRC rules allowed Mitsubishi to make subsequent generations a little more “modest” and therefore perhaps a little on the tame side in comparison.

It’s therefore quite fitting that Kong’s love for mountain driving has led him to build his beloved 6 around well balanced handling characteristics, rather than outright power, enabling him to tackle the mountain’s tight corners at the highest possible speeds. And in my opinion, that’s just what these beasts were designed to do.

So how do you go about making an already great handling machine even more agile in the corners? Kong elected to improve the suspension by fitting some fully adjustable BC BR-Series coilovers, and to stiffen the chassis by fitting a Cusco 3-point front strut brace and an UltraRacing 2 point rear strut brace.

The gearbox was also rebuilt with the stock 1st & 2nd gears being replaced with straight cut dog gears for added strength and durability. Kong felt there was no need to mess around with shortened gears as he feels the standard ratios are already short enough for tearing up the mountain touges.

Although agility has taken preference over outright power for this build, it doesn't mean there aren't also some tasty treats under the hood!

Kong wasn't overly keen on showcasing the engine bay, stating that “it’s probably the untidiest part of the car”. I however, am not one who believes that an engine bay has to be pretty; I personally love it to look used and in some respects, abused. After all they weren't designed to be entered into beauty contests. A bay doesn't need to look like Blackbeard’s treasure chest and if I’d wanted to do an article on some shiny, bling metal, I’d have gone to Tiffany’s to write about their latest bracelet.

So what’s under the hood then? Well the main increase in power comes from a pair of Tomei 270 poncams, complete with Tomei titanium valve springs and retainers, along with a set of aftermarket hydraulic lifters. A Meek shortened intake with HKS filter improves respiratory efficiency, while a Walbro 255 high flow in-tank fuel pump feeds more juice to the engine.

A PWR intercooler was installed to help make better use of the factory twin scroll turbocharger, and a Greddy type-s blow off valve linked with a Turbosmart 21psi actuator to add additional protection. Meanwhile in the cabin, boost pressures are monitored via a Pivot boost gauge.

“Spirited” mountain runs have a habit of cooking components, especially with the ambient temperatures here in Queensland. With that in mind Kong chose to fit a Koyorad full aluminium radiator to make sure any unwanted heat is kept under control.

It would all be a bit ridiculous to go this extent of modification without allowing the engine to expel those nasty exhaust gasses. So in order to help with carrying out this task, a Zage stainless steel 3" dump pipe and Meek 3" downpipe were installed, along with an MXP custom high flow manifold, Meek high flow cat, and to top it off; an aggressive looking ProRacer 3" catback exhaust & titanium muffler. The factory ECU has also be flashed with Tactrix 2.0 and tuned to run on 98 octane fuel.

So what’s the sum of all these parts and tuning? Well Kong tells me it’s running very close to 300hp at the wheels. More than enough to torture those tyres through the very twisty twists and turns!

300whp is no small figure, so of course the standard brakes have had to be replaced with some more potent equipment. The rotors are now cross-slotted DBA 4000s, with EBC Redstuff pads residing in the 4-pot factory Brembo calipers at the front and OMP pads replacing the rear OEM pads at the rear. Extra wide 18” XXR 522 wheels barely hide the uprated brakes and Achilles ATR Sport-2 tyres help put the power to the ground.

One of the beautiful things about the Evo is that it’s still a practical car. It’s a car which you could comfortably commute to work in Monday to Friday, and then tear around a track in on the Sunday if you so wished. Which is a very good thing considering Kong’s 6 is also his daily ride! This of course meant that it was just as important to be able to ride around town or cruise the motorway in relative comfort, as it was to be faster than most up and down the mountain touges.

The interior remains very much unchanged from factory form, but why change what’s already been designed for both comfort and performance? The stock Recaros are very comfortable and very supportive, important if you don’t wish to be crushed against the door at every left hand corner!

When the car was initially tuned, the power band was shifted much higher up the revs than was practical on the street. This, of course, would have been great for track driving, but since Kong’s playground isn't the track, it was no good for him and subsequently he had it re-tuned for a much more usable mid-range power band.

One of the things I find particularly impressive about this car is that despite having owned her for almost 4 years now, it was still completely standard (bar the cat-back exhaust system) up until just a year ago. After a relationship break-up, Kong suddenly found himself with a few dollars to spend, and so the build began.

And just listening to how Kong talks about the car, how much he loves driving her and how much time he’s put into her in the last year alone, really makes me believe that the build is far from complete.

“There are definitely plans to put a little bit more power into her. But once again the focus is response & handling. I have been looking into every support/handling brace available for her and also widebody options to accommodate even wider wheels.” We'll keep you posted!


Lancer Evolution VI
4G63T 2.0L Turbo
Drive Layout
Max Output
296awhp@6600rpm / 480Nm@3800rpm / Max boost 22psi@3600rpm

Power Mods
Tomei 270 Poncams
Tomei titanium valve springs & retainers
Aftermarket hydraulic lifters
Meek shortened intake kit
HKS air filter
Koyorad full aluminium radiator
Samco radiator hoses
MXP custom high flow ceramic coated steampipe exhaust manifold
Zage stainless steel 3" dump pipe
Meek 3" mild steel downpipe
Meek high flow metal cat
Jap ProRacer 3" catback exhaust & titanium muffler
Walbro 255 high flow in-tank fuel pump
PWR intercooler & piping
Greddy type-S bov
Turbosmart 21psi actuator
Factory turbo
Exedy HD single plate clutch
1st & 2nd straight cut dog gears
Oem ecu flashed on Tactrix 2.0 tuned to 98 octane fuel

XXR 522 18x9.5 +25 offset
Achilles ATR Sport-2
DBA 4000 cross-slotted brake rotors
 Pro-RS braided brake lines
 OMP rear brake pads
EBC Redstuff front brake pads
BC full adjustable coilovers (BR series)
Cusco 3-pt front strut brace
UltraRacing 2-pt rear strut brace

Front bumper lower-lip splitters

Pivot boost gauge
HKS turbo timer


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