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Injection Mold Breaker: Chad Shirtliff's 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution
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17 PASMAG Chad Shirtliff 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution

Photography by Ken Au

Achieving Massive Power Without A Cookie-Cutter Recipe.

Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution has been a cult hit since it arrived on the scene in 1992. After some success with the Group A Galant VR-4, Mitsubishi essentially shoe-horned their proven 4G63T engine and drivetrain into their lighter, more compact model, the Mirage-based Lancer. Thus, the first Lancer Evo was born. All models of the first iteration of the Evolution were sold out in just three days

The Evolution continued its evolution [ha!] over the next few generations, and things started to get advanced in 1996 when the Evo IV debuted with a bigger turbo, active yaw control, and tell-tale fog lights up front to let you know it was indeed a rally car. By the time the Evolution hit its seventh generation, several years and multiple engineering tweaks later, the platform was a potent sport compact desired by just about anyone who knew what it was.

In 2003, North America finally got its share. The Evolution VIII made its debut as an even-further lightened platform, and it was an immediate hit among enthusiasts across the world, particularly among those to the North who wanted that sweet, rally-proven, hard-launching AWD system in a sporty compact platform. Chad Shirtliff was one of those enthusiasts, and after some experience with Celicas and a 1995 Eclipse, he picked up the 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution you see here.

11 PASMAG Chad Shirtliff 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution

Shirtliff and his brother cut their teeth on mechanics with dirt bikes in their younger years, and eventually graduated to cars as they got older. As their passion moved from the dirt to the road, they found themselves tinkering with whatever they could get their hands on. “We would always try different things to our cars to see if we could make more power on a budget, until we would either lose power or break something,” he laughs. As he matured, so did his taste in modifications.

When he finally sat down to plan out how this car would be transformed, he knew he wanted something that could hold its own at car shows, but still be track-ready and act as the perfect street car. He also knew he wanted the Evo’s power to sit well above the 500 whp mark. With so many recipes and cookie-cutter formulas for building the 4G63T to absurd levels of power, Shirtliff also wanted to build his engine in a different way than most Evo owners would take.

18 PASMAG Chad Shirtliff 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution

To get a solid foundation for the powerplant, the 4G63T’s head was ported, polished, and mated to a 4G64 block, which was built and bored out to a 2.4-liter high-compression version with Manley rods, pistons, and crankshaft. This 4G-Frankenstein formula keeps throttle response peppy, even off boost, and a Precision Turbo 6466 T4 1.15AR turbocharger, visible through the front grille, ensures that boost is even more potent. The MPS dry nitrous kit is just the icing on the cake.

16 PASMAG Chad Shirtliff 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution

Perhaps the coolest feature of the mutant 4G isn’t found in a monstrous turbo, or your typical power-adders, but rather, in the intake manifold. Impressed with the work and products offered by Magnus Motorsports, Shirtliff noticed that one of their Evolution intake manifolds was configurable for eight injectors, and a wild idea was born. With its current setup, the primary four injectors run standard pump gas, but as boost begins to build, it switches to the alternate four injectors, which feed E98 directly into the churning engine. Shirtliff says this setup allows him to maintain some sense of conservative and reliable driving on the street, with the ability to unleash a monster at the drop of a hat.

The unique recipe for the 4G64 equates to an overall power output of 806 whp and 692 lb-ft of torque at 40 psi, a significant amount above his goal of “500 hp to the wheels.” With so much power coming out of a compact package, many fail-safe components need to withstand the thrashing it provides. An AEM Performance Electronics Infinity 8H ECU manages all of the engine’s electronics, which include three fuel pumps, one Walbro, and two Bosch units. Moving that power through the drivetrain is an Exedy triple-plate clutch and flywheel, Perfect Performance carbon fiber synchros in the gearbox, and a Quaife differential.

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Keeping the Evo planted in the corners is a set of Cusco coilovers and braces, as well as Whiteline sway bars and strut bars in both the front and the rear. On the ground, a set of 18x10-inch +15 CCW wheels are wrapped in BFGoodrich KDW2 tires, measuring 255/35 R18, in order to maintain grip under the power on tap. Inside those CCW wheels sits a Brembo brake kit from an Evo X with Hawk HPS pads. All in, the entire setup makes for a potent track weapon which is still comfortable enough to drive on the street.

06 PASMAG Chad Shirtliff 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution

Some readers may be looking at Shirtliff’s Evo VIII thinking it looks like an Evo IX, and you wouldn’t be far off. Both the front and rear bumper are from a USDM Evo IX and a JDM Evo IX respectively, with a set of JDM Evo VII taillights mated to the rear, and 2015 Acura TLX retrofitted headlights up front. With exposed carbon fiber present in the Victory Function fenders, as well as the Voltex 5V spoiler and Rexspeed add-ons, the Lamborghini blue paint shines with brilliant contrast.

15 PASMAG Chad Shirtliff 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution

Shirtliff knew when he started this project that one day he might have a family, and therefore the interior of the car remains fully functional, with all four doors opening to a seat, as opposed to a rear seat delete plate. The front seats come courtesy of the same JDM Evo IX as the rear bumper, and apart from some neat bits, like a custom Kevlar gauge pod housing, AEM gauges, and a suede shift boot beneath the Forged Performance shift knob, the interior remains simple and civil.

04 PASMAG Chad Shirtliff 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution

Ultimately, Shirtliff’s original goal wasn’t to have the world’s fastest, or the most powerful Evo VIII, but rather something he could drive to and from shows, the track, and wherever life takes him with a little extra power on tap. To his pleasant surprise, his original power goal was far surpassed as modifications snowballed into something truly remarkable. Today, his car is the only Evo VIII in North America running his unique injection setup. It’s amazing what a childhood of tinkering with dirt bikes can lead you to.

20.08 PAS 2018 TE Perf6

Chad Shirtliff's 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution is featured in PASMAG Tuning Essentials: Ultimate Performance Guide, Volume 6. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.


VEHICLE › 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution
OWNER › Chad Shirtliff
LOCATION › Winnipeg, MB
BUILT BY › Perfect Performance, DB Performance, Excell Autobody
ENGINE › Mitsubishi 4G64 2.4L turbocharged I4
HORSEPOWER › 806 hp @ 40 psi
TORQUE › 692 lb-ft

Social Media: @perfectperformancecanada

14 PASMAG Chad Shirtliff 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution

Mitsubishi Evo VIII 4G63 head + Full Race port & polished head + Supertech (oversized valves, dual valve springs) + Precision Turbo 6466 T4 1.15AR turbocharger + Garrett 4-inch Race intercooler + Shop 6 custom hoses + Tial (50-mm blow-off valve, 38-mm wastegates [2]) + MPS dry nitrous system + K&N air filter + Boomba throttle body + Magnus Motorsports intake manifold + Perrin Performance fuel rails + Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator + Walbro 225-lph fuel pump + Bosch 44-lph fuel pumps (2) + Kelford 272 camshaft + HKS cam gears + FIC fuel injectors (1,100-cc set, 2,150-cc set) + NGK spark plugs + Spark Tech ignition coils + Custom grounds + Manley (billet 100-mm crankshaft, 156-mm I-beam rods, 86.5-mm 10:5:1 pistons) + Total Seal piston rings + Cometic head gasket + ARP 625 head studs + AEM Infinity 8H ECU

AMS Race exhaust system + Sheepey Built Race (header, up-pipe, down-pipe)

Exedy (triple-plate clutch, flywheel) + Perfect Performance spec carbon fiber synchros + Quaife differential

CCW wheels - 18x10 +15 (f&r) + BFGoodrich KDW2 tires - 255 35 R18 (f&r) + Brembo Evo X brake kit - 4-piston, slotted rotors (f), 2-piston, slotted rotors (r) + Braided brake lines + Hawk HPS brake pads + Amsoil brake fluid

Cusco (coilovers, under bracing) + Whiteline (sway bars, strut bars [f&r]) + Energy Suspension bushings + BWR adjustable LCAs (r)

Lamborghini blue custom paint + Mitsubishi (Evo IX front bumper, JDM Evo IX rear bumper, JDM Evo VII taillights) + Victory Function carbon fiber fenders + Voltex 5V wing + Rexpeed (side skirt extensions, ducts) + Acura 2015 TLX headlight “jewel” retrofit

Forged Performance shift knob + Suede shift boot + AEM gauges + Kevlar custom gauge pods (2) + Mitsubishi JDM Evo IX SE seats

Alpine head unit + XS Power battery

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