Photography by Andrew Hoffman
Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution is a platform hailed by enthusiasts worldwide as a genuine all-rounder. With stylish four-door design, a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, and an incredibly potent 4-cylinder engine capable of massive power, it really does check all of the boxes for many enthusiasts across its many generations. And while all Evolutions are special in their own right, the Evo X holds a special place in the hearts of Jason and Sean of DSG Performance, as well as their most recent customer, Devan VanBrunt, the owner of the mean machine you see here.
Before we jump into the Evo, some background on DSG Performance: Founded in 2008, DSG Performance was built from the ground up by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. The goal was to utilize their combined automotive knowledge to ensure customers not only the best products, but the best experience with their builds as well. Now immensely successful (and you’ll see why when we dig into some of their work here), the company is very selective on what they take on as full blown projects.
“Builds are not something we take on every day,” says Sean, Co-Founder of DSG, “We select a few builds per year that we want to do based on the customer, the build intent, and the expected timeline to make sure we can fit it into a schedule that will make sense.” The shop isn’t simply set up to throw a few bolt-ons on your ride and send you on your way – these guys specialize in going the distance, and that commitment seems to be infectious.
Last year, the DSG Performance team built a Varis Widebody Evoluton X for one of their long-time customers, David Boudreau. That build was launched at Importfest 2016, and it ended up dominating the Baddest Lancer award, beating out a number of other Mitsubishis. VanBrunt saw the award-winning Evo X on DSG’s social media pages, and that was the point of no return for him. Jason, DSG’s Sales Manager, let’s us in on the conversation that followed: “I believe his words when we first spoke were ‘’I want exactly that - but with 800hp+, full interior done, drag or track ready, done up engine bay, with a full drivetrain build and under-chassis.’’ the list was pretty much endless! I knew it was going to be a monumental build, but couldn’t wait to get started on it.”
A monumental build is exactly what was in store with VanBrunt’s Evo. “Devan literally sent us a stock car with less than 10,000 miles on it and a sky’s-the-limit goal,” Jason tells us. “Being given keys to a car and having your customer put their full trust in you to build them what they want, knowing you will come through - it’s really something special.” With a blank slate, a generous budget, and an aspirational goal for the platform, the masterminds at DSG Performance were free to paint a masterpiece on this blank canvas.
Using the template of their Importfest 2016 build for David Boudreau as the starting point, DSG made quick work of the initial modifications. “Through years of trial and error on our personal cars, we have gone through a gamut of brands and manufacturers and know what works and doesn’t,” says Jason. “We are huge believers in certain brands after years of working together, like AMS/Alpha Performance, Fortune Auto, Varis Japan, Radium Engineering, Rays Wheels, Autopower and GiroDisc to name a few.” As you could probably have guessed, each of those brands play an integral role in VanBrunt’s Evo build.
The striking appearance from all angles comes courtesy of a wide variety of Varis goods, but the real star among the bodywork is the Varis Type B widebody kit, complete with carbon fiber Varis accessories in the form of canards, a rear diffuser, exhaust heat shields, and Varis’ coveted Ultimate Cooling Bonnet hood. A DoLuck FRP trunk gives the back some aggressive looks, but it doesn’t stop there. Varis’ 1,600mm Euro wing is secured to the trunk on a custom pair of mounts that were redesigned specifically to fit the DoLuck trunk’s ducktail shape.
At ground level, beautiful deep red Rays Gram Lights 57DR wheels sit square at 18x10.5 +12 on all four corners, allowed to just barely tuck the treads on a set of 295mm-wide Nitto Invo tires thanks to Fortune Auto’s “DSG Edition” setup, comprised of 510 Series coilovers and a super cool air cup kit. Accuair takes care of air management, and a combination of Cusco, Whiteline, and Autopower suspension goodies keep handling rigid for sporty response. Inside the cockpit, you’ll find a pair of Sparco Evo II US racing seats and matching harnesses, carbon fiber trim from Aerolab MTL, and Tanabe Revel gauges to get data feedback from the monster beneath the hood.
Ah yes, the 4B11T. Undeniably one of the most potent 4-cylinder engines on the market during its production time, and still a fierce competitor today, the Mitsubishi compact powerhouse is really what some of you are reading this for, isn’t it? VanBrunt told DSG he wanted 800+ horsepower, and they delivered. Boosted by a modest (relatively speaking) Precision Turbo Gen II 6266 BB turbocharger designed for less lag in throttle response, the engine in this car is truly the coup de grâce in an already spectacular build.
Without going for a full stroker kit, engine assembly needed to be solid inside and out. Manley’s Extreme Duty piston set and Turbo Tuff Pro Series I-beam rod set meet up with Darton wet sleeves to make a war-ready combustion chamber out of the 4B11T’s internals. The Turcotte Racing fully match-ported head contains ARP studs, AMS Performance TMP camshafts, Ferrea Competition Plus oversize valed, dual valve springs, and titanium retainers, as well as Injector Dynamics ID2000 fuel injectors. The entire head assembly meets the block by way of a Cosworth 87mm x 1.3mm head gasket, designed to handle ungodly amounts of boost and bang.
The fuel load required to sustain maximum combustion at high RPM is handled by dual Walbro fuel pumps, and air flow is handled by AMS’ short ram MAF intake, a Blitz intake manifold, and interestingly, a Mitsubishi Eclipse V6’s 65mm throttle body. In addition to keeping airflow temperatures low with a 4-inch FMIC and piping, ETS also handles the Evo’s exhaust with a V2 Extreme exhaust system. I can assure you, it sounds as good as the name implies. All in, the system is good for approximately 800 whp, having dyno-proven 712 whp on a “heartbreaker” Mustang Dyno.
Transferring all that power efficiently and safely to the ground is the job of a specially built drivetrain, something the guys at DSG know their way around. A Sheptrans GSR built 5-speed transmission is mated to a TWM short shifter and weighted shift knob for quick gear changes, and an AMS Performance triple metallic clutch allows the power to be transferred down the line at high RPM. From there, a 2-piececarbon fiber CV driveshaft sends rotating power back to a Cusco Evo 9 1.5-way differential and finally out to the Sheptrans hybrid Evo X/9 axle setup, delivering maximum power to the wheels, which can barely keep that power from spinning all four.
“Devan’s Evo is a Final Edition - one of the last ones ever built.” Sean reminds us. “So in building it, we wanted to go above and beyond anything that had been done before in terms of overall build quality to truly build the ultimate, Final Edition Evo X.” And it would seem that the DSG Performance team pulled out all the stops, cutting no corners in creating the absolute ultimate street Evo X. As far as all-round performance builds go, this one will be hard to top for any Evo enthusiast.