On paper, this is not a Lancer Evolution, nor even a Mitsubishi. The registration sheet states ‘Gassner Motor 2.0.’
There’s a good reason for this too, and it starts with German rally team Gassner Motorsport picking the car up straight from the factory in 1998. The 4WD turbo sedan was used in competition for two years, before being registered for the road in Germany – but not as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V RS it clearly is.
While ‘Gassner Motor’ sounds like the sort of name you’d expect of a late 19th century motorized carriage, I can assure you that it’s a whole lot more exciting than that. I saw the Evo at an event in Finland around this time last year, but a combination of limited time and no nearby locations meant the carpark outside the show would have to do if I wanted to shoot it. I had to shoot it.
Juha-Pekka Vainikainen bought the car in 2016. Its previous owner, Kimmo, had the car in his possession for 10 years, and it was during this time – and following a rather large crash – that its initial set of upgrades were made.
In repairing the car, Kimmo completed a full frame rebuild and strengthened the chassis in the process. A Custom Cages T45 multi-point roll cage was welded in, the entire floor and trunk was modified, and a tube framework was added behind the front and rear bumpers.
It was a lot of work, but Juha says that Kimmo did an amazing job of it. The car reemerged looking great too, so styling-wise no major changes have been made to the exterior since Juha’s owned the car. What Kimmo didn’t touch was the engine, leaving a total blank slate.
This aspect of the build was quickly taken care of too, thanks wholly to Juha’s other project – a Lancer Evolution IV. That car had a tuned Evo VII 4G63 engine under the hood, but outside was stock bodied. The answer was obvious, and at the end of summer 2016 the engines were swapped.
There are quality parts throughout the Evo V’s new heart; Supertech forged pistons, Brian Crower H-beam connecting rods and cams, a Magnus Motorsport intake manifold, AMS fuel rail, KKD exhaust manifold with TiAL external wastegate, and a sizeable Holset HX42 turbocharger among many more.
The last time the car was on the dyno it produced 550hp and 660Nm with 1.7bar (25psi) of boost pressure and E85 fuel in the tank. Plenty of performance for a street car, then.
Getting that power and torque to the ground is the factory RS-spec 5-speed close-ratio gearbox and LSD-equipped driveline, but it’s helped along by an OS Giken twin-plate clutch and chrome-moly flywheel combination.
The suspension has received a full polyurethane bushing upgrade, and BC Racing ZR Series coilovers set a purposeful stance over the classic 17-inch Enkei RPF1s fitted shod in Toyo Proxes R888R semi-slicks.
As the Evo V RS was designed with competition use in mind, from factory it was pretty limited when it came to interior creature comforts. That’s been taken to the extreme here. Apart from the aforementioned cage, the Sparco Evo seats, harnesses and steering wheel, Ralliart shift knob and Stack gauges, there’s not a lot to talk about when it comes to the cabin – not that Juha minds.
Lancer Evolutions are rally bred, and this one has actually lived a rally life, an aspect Juha is happy to retain while using his Mitsubishi on the street in Finland.