When enthusiasts buy performance cars, they often end up modifying them far further than initially planned. This is especially true when it comes to cars with tons of available upgrade parts, like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
Oliver Bate, the owner of this 2001 Evo VII, used to be one of those guys. He’d buy a car, spend way too much money on it, and then regret doing so afterwards. His automotive drug of choice was the Subaru Impreza WRX STI, of which he owned few different models that were all modded to make big power.
With this big power came lots of breakdowns and bank transfers – and a few crashes also, Oliver admits. He eventually got gatvol of the continual headaches, and sold his last Impreza. Your South African word of the day here, gatvol, is the best local description of when you’re completely fed up with something.
After parting ways with the Subaru, Oliver felt like something different. Coincidentally, at the same time a friend was selling his Mitsubishi. Oliver went for a test drive and immediately fell in love.
The Evolution VII drove so nicely in factory form that Oliver knew he didn’t want to mess with it too much; just a few tweaks to suit his style better. Visual changes have mostly revolved around selectively adding his favourite colour: teal.
Oliver’s Mitsubishi is his daily driver, but he still wanted it to sit properly. Enter FS Projects, who pieced together the perfect day-to-day air suspension setup for the car.
The air ride package consists of BC Racing BR Series coilovers with BAGS By OCD air springs, while management is handled by Air Lift Performance‘s venerable AutoPilot V2 system. FS Projects also completed the hardline install in the boot with a Viair compressor and 5-gallon tank.
YT Revision joined in, hiding a Lightning Audio 2000W monoblock amplifier and Infinity Kappa 12-inch subwoofer in a custom enclosure.
You’ll notice the cherry blossom design, all of which is hand-painted. This motif continues through to the cabin, with the dash trim, center console, and even the fire extinguisher going under the brush.
The factory Recaros, door cards, and gear boot were all re-trimmed in leather with teal stitching.
Performance-wise, the VII’s 4G63 2.0-liter engine remains largely stock, save for a Blitz SUS Power air filter, Turbosmart blow-off valve and an ECU remap.
Fifteen52’s rally-inspired Turbomac wheels are a good choice for the Lancer in an 18×8.5-inch fitment, but Oliver has applied his own touch to these too by having them refinished in teal, a detail that carries over to the factory Brembo brake calipers.
Oliver’s Mitsubishi is a great example of building a car for your own enjoyment, and at the same time keeping it simple. The Evo VII is already a great base machine and doesn’t need much in terms of modification, but Oliver’s done enough so that his character and personality shines through.
Let’s also face the truth: an Evo is always going to be better than any Subaru. Well, that’s my opinion anyway.