Where Evos Go To Die
Necessity

“How many have I broke over the years? Around 100 I think, if not more.”

I expected the number to be high, but not over double of what was in my head. Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution is undoubtedly an icon of Japanese performance cars, so it’s strange being here, where so many have met their ultimate demise. Contrary to what you might think, this isn’t an act of sadism, nor is the owner an Impreza lover. In fact, I would think that Rob Dunphy is one of the biggest Evo fans I’ve ever met.

Behind the closed doors of his workshop in a quiet industrial area, somewhere in Ireland, is a contrasting cavern of chaos and organisation. It’ll either bring a smile to your face or a tear to your eye. I don’t think that there’s any room in here for indifference.

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It’s a space that’s occupied by an eclectic mix of cars, along with enough spare parts to construct maybe 10 or so almost whole Lancer Evolutions. For all the love that the Evo rightly receives, any owner will likely concede that they have one major short coming: their vulnerability to rust.

In fact, of the 100 or so examples that have been broken in this building (and Rob’s previous location), he thinks that only five or six were crash damaged cars. The rest had all fell foul of the climate in western Europe and were beyond saving.

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When a car came through the door, it would be stripped of anything of value before the shell was sent to be recycled. The remaining parts leave behind a fascinating collection of both factory and rare aftermarkets items.

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The body panels are maybe the strongest visual component of the parts collection, and give an idea of the scale of the operation/destruction, depending on how you view things.

From turbochargers and manifolds, to still painted fenders and clutches, flywheels and all sorts, you could easily lose hours browsing through everything.

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It quickly becomes apparent that there’s a method to the madness. Rob reckons he can recover most specific items in less than an hour, and that includes things that might be buried or at the top of the racking.

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Amongst everything, there are projects that are both nearly finished or just about to begin. The silver shell here is a rare good one, which will be kept on hand or sold at some point in the future.

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The yellow Evolution V GSR shell beside it will ultimately become a Varis wide-arched car. The rare Monster Sport parts are an added bonus.

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The pair of Vs at the back are being kept in storage for friends, so they are safe for now. The same can be said of the DC5 Integra Type R and Focus ST170 track car, that occupy one corner.

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There’s also a couple of unusual cars here that are a rare sight on Irish shores. The Mitsubishi Colt Z30 was never a great performer in Europe, but this fresh Japanese import (there’s no 25-year rule in Ireland) offers something a little bit different to the norm.

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Its 1.5-litre turbocharged unit is good for 160hp in standard trim, but 220hp is not unheard of with some simple modifications and tuning.

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A car which will likely stump a lot of you – I know I had no clue what it was when Rob first brought it in – is another from the Mitsubishi family.

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What looks like some sort of Lexus GS, Subaru/Toyota hybrid is a Mitsubishi Airtrek Turbo-R. Sold in limited markets, the Airtrek (also known as the Outlander) was essentially Mitsubishi’s Subaru Forester fighter; in this turbocharged specification it’s an Evo SUV, of sorts.

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The 4WD car is powered by a mix-and-match of parts from various Lancer Evolution generations. The block is from an VIII, the internals from a V and the gearbox is an automatic from a VII GT-A. It can be converted to a manual, something Rob has been considering.

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The yellow V RS is a bit of a special one. Its 380hp engine was recently transplanted into a black IV, but the ex-HKS customer car will be restored back to factory specification. Not to mention the 17×9.5-inch Enkei Competition SS wheels.

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The aforementioned black IV, which was just about ready to head back onto the roads when we photographed it.

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One of the more out of place cars – and maybe the most underpowered – was a sort of impulse buy. The 140hp Toyota MR-S was purchased as a cheap track car. Once an automatic, it was converted to 5-speed manual and still features some nice TRD options, including the kit and suspension.

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The more I looked around, the more I appreciated that this wasn’t a place of doom. It’s an operation born out of necessity, one which in some roundabout way is preserving and saving cars.

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It played no role in the demise of the cars that came through its door; they were already beyond saving. Instead, the bits that could be salvaged were saved and live on for another day.

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From this very operation have come several notable cars including a remarkable lightweight Evo V RS with a fascinating history in Japan, and a powerhouse Evo V street car. That’s not the last of them either, as the real reason I was shooting this day was for something a little bit more practical.

I am curious as to how people view this kind of setup, whether they abhor the idea of so many examples of an iconic examples being broken down and stripped or do they see it as a necessary evil so that the better examples can survive? At least those cars that have died, can live on in some ways, rather than rotting away in the darkness somewhere. Of course, a situation where the cars were resilient to rust would have been the perfect option, but this isn’t a perfect world.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos
paddy@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
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47 comments

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1

Im in love with the yellow evo

Author2

A factory V RS in that colour is so bloody rare too.

3
Basith Penna-Hakkim

So sad to see some of those greats cars having to go. This is like a sanctuary for cars that don't deserve to rot in the darkness. Now Mitsubishi is going to die after all these years and after the deaths of the Eclipse, 3000GT VR-4, Galant VR-4, and Lancer Evolution. Rest in peace and we will remember you for the goodness you have done for us.

Author4

Such a shame how far they have fallen, given their dominance of the World Rally Championship for so long.

5

definitely a necessary evil. i enjoyed this article - thanks.

6

The best way it can be put I think. Hopefully helping cars in better condition live on!

Author7

Thanks for reading.

8
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Operations like this are very much God-sent. Like you said Paddy, at least those dying cars can do some good by donating their still functional parts to those that are in need. Plus, with Mitsubishi in dire states now, people like Rob are exactly what Evo owners need right now to keep their rally homologation machines running for a long time.

9

website for this man's collection of old jdm evo parts for sale?

Author10

He's a bit old school, so he doesn't have one. Kept busy enough by word of mouth and DMs.

11

Gone but not forgotten...This just motivated me to keep mine until I'm too old to drive.

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12

What exhaust is that?! Looks great!

13

It's a Fujitsubo exhaust.

14

Thanks brotha

Author15

Always liked the X, definitely a future classic.

16
Graeme DAILYDOSE Carstens

Paddy i love the evo's but good lord i love that mr-s....so good so good...

17

The MR2 is what caught my eye. It's the colour and kit that I quite fancy having myself.

Author18

It's so simple, must try and 'acquire' it for a track day.

19

Paddy, could you please do a Car Spotlight on Kerney's Viper. My ultimate dream car would be a mix between the Viper 2017 and the F22 M2 HGK and I want to know how that car was build

Author20

I'm waiting for him to finish 002, his next Viper, for a full feature.

21

Dayum...v2 Viper? Is it a newer gen? Well...anyways, looks like the next FD season will have quite a lineup.

22

tq Paddy for the coverage

Author23

Thanks for reading, mate.

24

I just love your writing paddy, every word feels like I am in the workplace in the story it self. Plus i really like that yellow evo.

Author25

Thanks, Allan. I always feel like I'm just rambling!

26

well your rambling is the best.

27

Its good to see makes me smile for the guy who owns all this. I have broke alot of cars in the past too including around 50 renault 5 gt turbos , i used to see it as i was doing everyone who owned them a big favour by making their cars rarer and worth more money for them .

Author28

That's one way of looking at it!

29

Great read Paddy, love the paradoxical tone of it. I tend to believe that outfits like these operate more in the interest of preservation than anything else, which is always a good thing.

Another added bonus is the sheer knowledge one gains from 'breaking' cars; an intimate understanding of all mechanical systems and intricacies down to the last detail.

Author30

Rob is basically the only person I direct Evo questions at now.

31

Necessary Evil if the cars that end up there are beyond economic repair. At least the remaining cars can carry on, helped by places like this. I had to take my Evo to Ireland last year as my van broke down and it was the only other vehicle I have. Couldn't even find super-unleaded to run it on over there. At least I know I could find parts for it though??!! :D

Author32

Ah, so you're familiar with our top of the line 95RON?

33

I prefer to call it where evos go die, re-live and becoming stronger than ever before.

34

Have been missing my airtrek turbo since 2013.

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35

I would love to get info on this guy cause I have collection of mirage frames that I can convert to true evo rally cars

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36

update on my car

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37

As an R&I specialist in the auto body industry, I can appreciate this sort of organization and preservation of usable parts. Too often are things just junked. It would be great to specialize in a specific chassis and do his sort of thing.

38

It's more like a heaven to me when i saw those Evo spare part. It is not an evil thing for doing this, but i think it is another way to preserve the Lancer Evolution Generation that already discontinued. I love reading your article by the way thank you so much Paddy

39

How many can he build with all the parts he has? That's Diogenes syndrome but with Evos!

40

I've got a 06 cs5 ralliart , sent it to the body shop yesterday to have some work done , i want it to live on as long as possible .. Hats off to the gentleman for keeping the legends alive .. Thank you for bringing this to light Mr McGrath.. Trinidad and Tobago says hello everyone .. :)

41

i can appreciate this because my house looks identical. i too have evo 4-6 parts for days, i too have an mr2 spyder, i too have an evo thing going on, but add in more sti, GTR, and RWB parts and you have n idea of my house. Soo cool to see im not the only one. #respect.

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43

I think it is a real shame when people strip perfectly decent cars. I know its all market driven, but there is something really sad about seeing perfectly usable cars getting taken apart. :(

44

When the cars are declared beyond saving, it most definitely is a financial decision; they are worth more as parts than to save the shell, but actually it is often possible to save if you want to. You see if it with older cars like mk1/2 escorts etc that people put the effort in to keep them running when they are worth a chunk more. I'm sure the same will happen with Evos given time, and people will view breaking them like this as sacrilegious, but it's just the normal life cycle of a car in my view.

45

I thought this was a fantastic article. Definitely out of the norm for what we see on Speedhunters. As far as the shop goes, I think it's awesome. Why let good parts go to waste when they can be reused and the spirit of the car can live on? With the EVO no longer in production, enthusiasts will be turning to places like this in the future to get their hands on quality parts to keep their EVO's in use. Great read Paddy!

46

i love evos, its my dream car <3 but i dont have one :(

47

love my evo v

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