Builds>>ams Unlimited Class Time Attack Evo X

It's natural that when it comes to Japanese car tuning, people will tend to look towards Japan for the latest and greatest in car builds. This doesn't mean that there aren't incredible Japanese car builds coming from places of other than Japan. For example, the Roger Clark GC8 Impreza or Martin French's Altezzas that have been featured here on Speedhunters recently. When it comes to American-tuned Japanese cars and Lancer Evolutions in particular, West Chicago's AMS Performance is the top player in the game.

Whether it's their eight-second Evo 8 drag car or their time attack cars, the Evos that AMS builds are some of the fastest you'll find on the planet. The latest project in the AMS garage is this Evo X, which debuted at last year's Super Lap Battle finale at Buttonwillow. The guys at AMS have been documenting the entire build on various forums, and the car is shaping up to be one of fastest Evo X's in the country, if not the world.

This is what the car looked like last year when it appeared at the Buttonwillow Super Lap in the Street Class. With this setup ,the car was good enough for a 1:57.06 lap time – third fastest in the Street Class. The car wouldn't stay "Street Class" for long though…

Right after the '08 season was finished, the Evo X returned the AMS shop for a complete tear-down as it began its transformation from a street car into a complete track monster. This is what the car looked liked just two weeks after the Buttonwillow event as it was prepared for acid dipping.

Anyone who is familiar with the work of AMS knows that they are not the kind of tuning shop that just throws a bunch of bolt-on parts on their cars and calls it a day. During the chassis prep, all of the Evo's unnecessary parts were removed while plenty of reinforcement was added. According to AMS, a total of 153 lbs were dropped during this process.

A custom fabricated cage is part of the heavy interior reworking that AMS is doing to the car. Like most proper roll cages, it not only protects the driver but adds even more bracing to the Evo X's already stiff chassis.

The one-off dashboard and steering column setup hints at just how wild the finished product is going to be. As you can see in the picture, the driver's seat has been relocated far back into the cockpit compared to the stock position.

A view of the fuel cell in the rear, along with more of the chassis fabrication and cage.

The custom fabrication goes beyond just the chassis and interior. AMS is also outfitting the car with a custom set of wide fenders. These will obviously be home to an extremely beefy set of wheels and tires. 

This is more or less what the outside of the car looks like as of now. Besides the wide fenders in the front, there are a lot of other body modifications including pinned rear door skins and lexan rear windows.

As an American, I just can't help but feel good when I see high quality builds like this coming from USA-based shops. It's going to be fun to see how the rest of this build develops, and even more fun to watch this car when it hits the track later this season.

More photos and info on the Time Attack Forums.

-Mike Garrett



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And the most interesting point in this article is that AMS is a Polish company ^^


Awesome car, love reading about the amount of work that goes into these cars.


Sweet mother of God!

I own a regular Lancer so it's nice to see how much work was done in chassis fab. I knew AMS did nice work but it wasn't really blatantly visible to me up until now.


Man, this is going to be absolutely CRAZY.


I don't know why AMS keeps building cages with the main loop sitting so far back? I understand the weight distribution issue, but that mail loop is WAY too far back; like their blue EVO IX they build a while back. (

On this EVO X the rear section of the cage should be welded onto the shock tower, not on the floor.

@ Mike:

This steering column is not one off. Sweet industries makes them, very clean.



Re: Alex

That is a Woodward column apparently.

It looks like they are moving the main hoop back to support rearward placement of the driver's seat.


What happened to Cobb's carbon fibered crazy wrx that they were building a couple of years ago to take on the record at tsukuba?


the old NOS livery reminds me of Andrew Comrie-Picard's Evo X rallye car from last season


The rear shock towers have very little strength and will bend and deform massively in a large collision. That's not where I want to put the rear stays for my main hoop without considerably re-enforcing the shock towers. Welding the rear stays to the unibody framerail is a much solider place to terminate the rear stays and is always the better option.

Also note that AMS is going bare minimum on the cage to save every ounce possible.


Do they have two of these cars or something cause I saw this car at the Toronto auto show about a month ago. It was in the same state as the first two pictures.


Its nice to have a couple serious shops close to home like AMS. Too bad I don't have serious money


Neil you might have seen the car i mentioned, ACP's new car. he won the Targa Newfoundland Modern class in it last year and ran it at the Tall Pines in november (didn't finish though ;))


@ "Umai" Kakudo:

The shock tower IS the place where you want to connect the cage. That is where the shocks from the road ARE transmitted to the chassis.

If the rear shock towers are weak (something I highly doubt it considering the EVO X gained some 300 lbs in extra weight in the chassis respect the previous EVO IX, making the EVO X a lot stiffer), all you have to do is fab up some steel plates to weld on top/ around the shock tower to reinforce the area.

Here is an example:

Going "bare minimum" on the cage is not the answer to go fast. The chassis needs to be stiff in order to properly dial in the suspensions.


Bluewindu, how is the fact that the owners are Polish have to do anything with this article? Gary Castillo of Design Craft is Filipino. So what? Both are Americans building high quality race cars, thats what matters.


@ blue slug, Thats right it was the Targa car, I didnt know it also ran the tall pines, I missed that this year. Its only a few hours from me. My motorsports club organizes and runs that event, many of our members marshal it. Its great being able to stand infront of everyone and watch the action, lol :P


that "on-off" steering colum is straight out of a stockcarproducts catalog, I have the same one in my VSE kit car.


If you look closely the cage is welded to the side of the rear shock tower. It also looks like the rear subframe is bolted to the cage, which is in turn strengthened by the frame rails, and bracing for the fuel cell. It appears that they might of started to terminate the cage at the shock towers but went with this alternate design. I would assume they did their homework for this build, gotta love the in car air jacks. I also think this is amazing how open AMS is to sharing the progression of their build up. Not many people / shops are keen on showing off their developments to the public for fear of scrutiny and or intellectual piracy. I congratulate AMS for their decisions to buck the trend and provide a transparent, stand-up shop that generally seems like they want to build honest-to-goodness blisteringly fast cars more than they want to take your money.


@ Brandon Porambo:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, insights,and pics. Yeah I saw the rear part of the cage IS indeed welded to the shock towers, and has the eyelets bolted to the rear subframe. Hopefully they will provide enough stiffness to the whole chassis (afterall that's what is for).

The EVO X though is an heavy pig, it's gonna be difficult to compete with cars like the RX-7, or S2K's (the C-West comes to mind). The GST Subaru and the like.


Last weekend, the Redline Time Attack series headed out to the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois for their third event of 2009. A country club with a race track? If only we had something like that here on the west coast... Thanks to Rich over