After the cool Worx Auto Chevelle Wagon I showed you back in January, you must be thinking I’m going through a wagon phase or something. I’m not. I mean, I love unique station wagons; ones that look cool or have a ton of power to go along with their understated looks, but the reason you are seeing this car right here is mostly out of coincidence. You see, after the Tokyo Auto Salon, Larry and I paid a little visit to Tazawa-san and the guys at Garage G Force in Yokohama. Back at the show I had asked if they could bring out a car that I’ve been meaning to feature since seeing it last year’s TAS, but for one reason or another I never had the chance to.
It’s a good thing that I asked though, because it totally deserved a feature and a place in our Wagon Week theme.
This is precisely the sort of machine we hunt around the world for! Mitsubishi got it so right when they came out with the CT9W Lancer Evolution IX MR wagon; a model that was destined for a very small production run and offered only in the Japanese domestic market.
It would have done well in both the US and in Europe, but we all know how Japanese manufacturers sometimes like to keep the best stuff for themselves. Then the Evo X came, but the rumoured wagon – potentially the first ever turbocharged Japanese performance wagon with a dual-clutch transmission – never materialised. Damn you Mitsubishi! And now the Evo X is officially dead as well! Seriously? But whatever, we aren’t here to talk about that…
No, we are here to showcase a superb CT9W that Garage G Force made even better. The owner of this car actually has another Evo wagon which he drives around on a daily basis, allowing him to really go full-on with this more extreme build. The fact that this guy owns two of these things is crazy in itself, as is the reason he built this particular car.
The exterior runs the complete Varis Evo IX widebody kit, which just happens to fit on the wagon too, obviously with impressive results. The front and rear arches get pumped thanks to overfenders, allowing the fitment of 19×10-inch Advan Racing RGIIIs with 255/35ZR19 Advan AD08 rubber. You have probably spotted the rather serious Endless brake upgrade too: 6-pots for the front and smaller 4-pots at the rear to ensure that the wagon stops on a dot. In fact, if you look at the discolouration of the 2-piece slotted rotors it’s obvious that the Evo has seen some pretty hard use.
The Varis kit is tied together with a menacing TFH vented front bumper, while the side skirts have been given a more fitting design to truly blend in.
Look at the car long enough and you will soon start spotting things that you normally wouldn’t find in a station wagon. Here’s a clue, look through the rear glass…Not Really A Hauler
Upon a closer look, this is what I found. Okay, now this is getting really interesting, right? This wagon has pretty much sacrificed all of its hauling capabilities with everything rearward of the front seats stripped back to bare metal so that a custom-fabricated rollcage could be bolted and gusseted in.
Open up the gate and you get a better view of what the rear of this machine is all about. Everything that wasn’t needed has been removed. The large aluminium box on the right houses the battery, which itself was relocated from the engine bay to free up space where it’s most needed.
On the opposite corner is a custom surge tank in which one of the pumps from the complex fuel system lives. Hard lines make their way under the car towards the engine bay where they plumb into the fuel delivery pipe that feeds massive 1000cc/min Sard injectors.
The Evo runs on 2-way adjustable Öhlins DFV coilovers, and there’s a Cusco carbon fiber strut brace to add a touch more torsional stiffness – something the the open structure of the wagon suffers with a lack of, in comparison to the Evo sedan.
I just love the way this car sits – it’s all dictated by function. It’s not low to the ground as you would expect, because despite being built for one purpose only, that isn’t track work. This car has only one duty to fulfil, and that is to be the most capable Wangan racer it can be.
That’s why there is so much happening under the Varis vented bonnet – the 4G63 stroked with a JUN 2.2L bottom end kit and sporting a ton of big boy upgrades. Back when I first laid eyes on the Mitsubishi at TAS, the engine bay looked even more impressive with a massive GCG/Garrett GTX4294R turbocharger proudly displayed in front of the gold-topped engine and breathing through a carbon fiber intake pipe.
In that configuration it developed 900PS at 7,400rpm and an earth-axis-shifting 726Nm of torque at 5,700rpm. That allowed the Evo to potentially reach a top speed of 200mph, or 322km/h, but the best it’s managed is 311km/h. Close enough! This setup was used for almost a year, but the power delivery was a little too peaky for the owner, despite having punch right through to the top end.
So after much debate it was decided to step down in turbo size and aim for a more useable and linear power curve, but still have enough power for late-night Wangan outings.
So onto the IR 45mm stainless steel manifold a smaller GCG GTZ4088R turbo was fitted, controlled via an HKS GTII external wastegate. With 2.0bar (29.4psi) of boost dialled up power has dropped to 715PS, but torque didn’t suffer too much, and with 703Nm of the stuff on tap it all makes for a far more easy to live with setup. If you look at the top left picture you can see that the positioning of the wastegate doesn’t leave much space for the radiator, which is why the car runs the tiny half-sized item you see in the bottom right. As long as the car is travelling at speed, the G Force mechanic assured us that there’s no need to worry about overheating. The turbo dumps gasses into a custom titanium twin-exit titanium exhaust that was fabricated at the shop.
And it now breathes in slightly cooler air thanks to the sealed-off airbox on the corner of the engine bay. Check out the quality of welding on the titanium intake pipe that connects the GCG turbo to the air filter!
The massive HKS intercooler has the job of cooling the hot compressed intake charge, but that is no real issue as the car is always travelling at some serious pace on the Wangan when it’s asked for all its might.The Last Of The Great
Despite being located in one of the busiest areas of Yokohama city, we were able to take the car out for a short drive while Larry hung out of our Lexus RC F press car to grab some rolling shots. The mechanic wasn’t too shy about stepping on the gas either, and we got to see first-hand how quickly the brick-like Evo can build boost and catapult out of sight.
Seeing this is still a ‘street’ car, some interior creature comforts have been retained, like all the stock trim and dashboard.
The factory Recaro seats are more than up to the job of holding the driver and passenger in place at speeds over 300km/h, plus let’s not forget there aren’t too many corners along the Wangan!
I found this pretty comical. This car must be so damn loud at full noise, so earplugs come in handy!
On top of the dash-mounted radar detector – a must have for any serious Wangan racer – the HKS A/F Knock sensor takes centerstage. With so much invested into the powerful engine, it’s better to keep a close eye on the most important readout of them all.
Some Defi and GReddy gauges reading boost, water and oil temperatures, and oil pressure are mounted onto the dash in a nice carbon fiber meter panel.
The A/C has been removed and the audio system – albeit still there in part – is pretty much useless as you can’t hear yourself think over the sound of the engine.
Along with the concoction of engine and exhaust sounds, the unsuspecting shifter hides the fact that this car runs a straight-cut Pfitzner Performance Gearboxes replacement dog-engagement gear set inside the stock transmission casing. We could hear the whine from the PPG gears even while following the car around Yokohama! The Nismo titanium shift knob if a pretty cool addition, and I had no idea it fit an Evo shifter!
Juggling all that power and torque is a triple-plate Exedy carbon clutch, while the front and rear diff housings are fitted with Cusco RS limited slip items.
It all makes this Evo IX the most menacing wagon I’ve ever had the pleasure of featuring, and a true testament to the awesome work that Tazawa-san and his crew at Garage G Force do.
I’d love to see what this wagon would able to do around Tsukuba circuit. It may need a few adjustments in the suspension department to get those Neovas to dig into the smooth surface, but the engine in its latest tune with the slightly smaller turbo makes it a true weapon wherever its owner cares to take it!
And on that ultimate wagon note, we wrap up our Wagon Week theme. Make sure you check out the rest of the stories.
Dino Dalle Carbonare
Additional Photos by Larry Chen