Big-Boost Chevy V8 Meets Mitsubishi Evo
Mysterious Ways

Coming from New Zealand, the sight of an early Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution isn’t all that uncommon for me; we have always had a love for the rally-bred, all-wheel drive 2.0-litre turbo machine, and a good proportion of the world’s early Evo supply can be found in our little part of the world.

I was part of the Speedhunters team that hit Gatebil Rudskogen recently – it was my first time there and it’s fair to say that the entire tuning landscape was a complete change for me as most of the Japanese machinery I’m more accustomed to was replaced by amazing Euro builds. BMWs, Mercs, Audis and of course, plenty of Volvos.

V8 Evo 23

There were, of course, a good handful of nicely built Japanese cars at Rudskogen too, and even a smattering of the Mitsubishi Evolutions that I’d become so accustomed to growing up in New Zealand, though only a single early Evo – a simple white example I had spotted sitting amongst the swirling dust in the paddock on Thursday night.

V8 Evo 20

To be honest, I didn’t take much notice at the time above a cursory, ‘Oh look, a CD9A, that’s weird,’ thought to myself before moving on. Things were different come Friday morning, though. Excited to shoot the Gatebil madness I had seen and heard so much about, I was straight out onto the pit wall first thing and sure enough, it was amazing.

V8 Evo 34

I found the perfect spot midway down the front straight and began shooting all types of interesting cars as they screamed past. Swinging my lens back towards the start of the front straight after reeling off some shots of a tightly packed group of Audis and Volvos as they thundered past, all I could see was a fluffy white cloud blanketing the final corner, with a lonely sedan swinging wildly from one side of the bitumen to the other before straightening up and ripping down the track towards me, followed by a wispy trail of white smoke like a gypsy on her wedding day. Surely not…

V8 Evo 40

After grabbing a few more shots as the Evo came past, a quick jam on the zoom button and a look at the expression plastered across the passenger’s face, which I can only assume is similar to what I looked like the first time I discovered all the wonderful things a toilet in Japan can do (don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about…), told me pretty much everything I needed to know.

V8 Evo 41

As soon as this session was over, I headed back to the pits to go find this mysterious machine.

V8 Evo 29

Back amongst the sea of people in the paddock, I was happy to spot an open bonnet with its signature pair of Evo vents in the distance. Approaching the pit bay, things suddenly became a lot clearer as a tell-tale Chevrolet LS intake manifold came into view, set far back into the firewall of the Evo. Already things were looking pretty damn interesting, but wait a minute, where’s that polished intake pipe going?

V8 Evo 13

My day just got better and better with every step taken towards the Mitsubishi. Slowly, the gunmetal radiator support receded to reveal compressor and exhaust housings that looked like they were originally designed to blow boost through a cruise liner engine. This settled it, there was no way we were leaving Rudskogen without getting this car out on track for a photoshoot.

Making It Fit
V8 Evo 17

The 1993 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s owner, Joakim Sturve, soon introduced himself and we quickly got talking about the build. Joakim had already been creating cool and interesting cars for while when he decided it was time to build something Chevy LS V8-powered. After first looking at using a BMW E28 base, he instead happened upon the early Evo completely by chance during a ‘for sale’ browsing session at the hospital while waiting for his first child to be born.

V8 Evo 3

Joakim politely waited a couple of days after returning from the hospital before the excitement got too much for him and a trailer was hitched for the 800-kilometre journey to go pick up the rolling shell. As these things tend to go, Joakim at first thought it would be fairly simple conversion, and a 6.0-litre LS2/six-speed Tremec T56 gearbox package out of a Cadillac CTS-V was sourced from the States.

V8 Evo 15

Replacing an east-west mounted inline four with a north-south V8 was never going to be easy, but Joakim, who does nearly all the work on the car himself, persevered, fabricating a new cross member to support the motor and sit it nice and far back into the car for the ideal weight balance.

V8 Evo 21

Suspension pick up points were also revised to allow the 18×9-inch BMW M3 front wheels to sit back in the centre of the arch, which solves a lot of potential problems with all the extra steering lock provided by the custom CNC’d hubs.

V8 Evo 35

With the engine sitting so far back, the stock firewall had to go, so it was removed entirely and replaced, along with the transmission tunnel, which needed to be vastly bigger to accommodate the Tremec gearbox. The in-cabin allowances Joakim had to make for the rear of the engine give you an idea as to just how far back the Chev motor needs to sit.

V8 Evo 1

A custom driveshaft runs out a Ford 8.8-inch diff housing a Ford Motorsport LSD and high-strength Factory Five axles. Though the rear subframe and suspension pick up points are factory Evo, everything else has been custom-made, including all the arms and hubs, which, like the front, run a 5×120 BMW stud pattern.

V8 Evo 11

After respraying the car in a simple Mercedes-Benz white, a full rollcage was fitted. Joakim was able to buy all the pre-shaped tubing from Swedish company Finess and then do all the welding himself. You’ll also notice that the car is left-hand drive, which these production Evolutions never were – early into the project, Joakim picked up a base model Lancer donor car and swapped everything over to suit.

V8 Evo 6

Sparco seats were also fitted, though a full 40cm further back from the original mounting points.

V8 Evo 9

The factory Evo brake booster and pedalbox arrangement was never going to work, so it was replaced with Wilwood gear.

V8 Evo 19

The pedal box and booster actuates Dynalite calipers clamping on to BMW E36 discs in the rear and Superlite calipers with Corvette C5 discs up front.

V8 Evo 7

Kept company by a Wilwood hydraulic handbrake.

V8 Evo 36

After plenty of perseverance, Joakim finally got the car running early last year with the LS2 howling in naturally aspirated form. Pushing 405hp at the wheels, the V8 provided plenty of power for the 1300kg car, but, keeping in line with what seems to be the Scandinavian way, it just wasn’t enough. Joakim needed more. Much more…

We Need More Power, Captain!
V8 Evo 38

A summer was spent hammering the car on track, after which Joakim headed back to his garage as the days quickly grew shorter and the temperatures plummeted to levels most of us would struggle to comprehend, let alone endure. He was now on the hunt for a couple of hundred extra horsepower and once he figured out just how hard and expensive it would be to squeeze that kind of grunt out of a naturally aspirated engine, Joakim instead looked at adding boost.

V8 Evo 14

After doing his research, which most importantly included a few long conversations with John Bewley at Lil Jon’s Motorsport Solutions in Kentucky, Joakim figured out the perfect set up based around a huge single BorgWarner S471 turbo sitting in front of the motor. John has had years of experience with these motors knew exactly what was needed to create a torquey, responsive power delivery that would be good for over 600hp at the wheels.

V8 Evo 27

John not only supplied the turbo, but also a pair of wastegates, a blow-off valve and a custom camshaft of his own design, specifically created for turbo applications.

V8 Evo 24

As most will know, the LS motors are all-alloy in their construction, and while lightweight and relatively strong for NA applications, they don’t hold up so well when boost starts getting crammed down their throat. The GM LQ series of motors however, are very similar to the LS, but run a much stronger iron block and although the 35kg weight difference is significant, it’s more than worth it for the extra piece of mind.

V8 Evo 39

Joakim decided he liked the idea of not having to worry about his rods staying inside his engine, and went about sourcing a 6.0-litre LQ, which he eventually found locally in Sweden after coming across a wrecked H2 Hummer that was essentially brand-new, with only 100km on the clock. Luckily, the Hummer came with the LQ4, which is one of two LQ variants. The other engine, the LQ9, while generally considered more desirable, runs flat-top pistons for a higher compression ratio of 10.4:1, whereas the LQ4’s dished pistons lower the ratio to 9.5:1 – far better for turbo applications.

V8 Evo 33

Once the LS was pulled and replaced with the LQ, Joakim got started on getting the motor turbocharged. He designed and fabricated a set of twin-entry exhaust manifolds, which, according to John Bewley, allows the turbo to reach full boost about 800rpm earlier than a single-entry design.

V8 Evo 28

Joakim backs that up, too. After fitting a bigger fuel system, which now drinks E85 from a custom 70-litre baffled alloy tank…

Evo V8

Plus a large front mounted intercooler and all the necessary supporting modifications, the Hungarian-sourced VEMS computer was re-tuned to the sound of 642 horsepower at the wheels, which it achieves at only 2,800rpm. The numbers are nice, of course, but what does that all really mean?

V8 Evo 30

Pure, unadulterated aggression. Seeing this car rip past you on full lock with smoke billowing from the rear is an experience in itself, but hearing it is a whole different game. The big V8 howls as you would expect, and when you combine that with the joyous soundtrack of the huge BorgWarner spooling up and the two 40mm external wastegates dumping white-hot exhaust gas, you have pure automotive bliss.

V8 Evo 37

But again, all you really need to know about how this car drives can be found back at the start of this story and the look on Joakim’s passenger’s face. Any car that can make a grown man seemingly giggle like a school girl gets an instant stamp of approval from us, but when that ability is combined with  high quality workmanship and outside-the-box thinking, you’ve got one of our favourite builds to come out of Gatebil Rudskogen for 2014.

Peter Kelly
Instagram: Instagram: pedey_kenmeri_creative

Additional images:

Alok Paleri
Instagram: rennworksmedia

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



Comments are closed.


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Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Whats next? Turbo 20b in a MX5? oh wait a minute............


Ohh cool... Another ls swap. That's never been done before. Wow. -_-
There are better v8's out and engine choices than a torque-less Chevy.


Yeah I don't like LS conversions. Everyones done it and it was uninteresting to begin with. I would have been more interested in any other import engine swap.


Love it! 
He really Frankensteined that car!


This V8 craze is going strong around the world lol... You got to love fads.


Nico Leone Damn those hipsters for wanting easy, cheap and reliable power!


@SorryLSconversionboring my thoughts!

Gianluca FairladyZ

If i look at that evo only one things comes to my mind. Jackie Chan - Thunderbolt :D hahahaha....


Gianluca FairladyZ Yes!


Any videos of this beast in action??


Any videos of this beast in action?


@Jamo I just spoke to Joakim, the owner, and he just got hold of the footage from the Go Pro cameras you can see in some of the action shots, so expect to see something on YouTube in the next day or two. I'll reply again to let you know when it's up!


pedey Gianluca FairladyZ one of the best scenes in thunderbolt heheh


86foxmann Torqueless??  Really??  dyno says different...


pedey..  Thanks for a Great article.


GEEZ the whole point of the import movement was to have a smug sense of satisfaction over higher displacement engines  with weight disadvantages DON'T YOU AUTHORS GET IT?!?
This is a very well built car and the way in which the author put down the details were excellent. Read through instead of just scrolling through people, you might learn something. I'm an evo lover, obvi, and I love this car. Lord knows the evo rear ends can take a pounding. Wish there was a pun in there.

I'm guessing the whole SH staff has seen plenty of raspy SR20's & JZ's screaming their validity to anyone within earshot of some tarmac over the last fifteen years...that is at least my past without trying too hard, even as an American on the east coast. 
Their job is to bring us fresh, often crazy sh*t and they do it well.  Shooting an
ooold Evo gripping around some corners, or an old S13 sliding around
them with their stock motors isn't always fresh. 


Ok guys we know you hate LS's but just think...what better thing to do with one other than take it out of what ever american boat it came in and give it a new home in a sexy sweet handling new chassis...? These guys are like the good foster parents of engine them a good home and letting them be what ever they wanna. but in the end haters gonna hate. Smh.


I think people here are forgetting, and may have not read closely, that this car was a rolling shell, not a complete evo at first (I Assume).


86foxmann So you couldn't be bothered to read the article or the specs? It's an LQ, not an LS, so lets hear it, what would you suggest instead of a torque-less 800Nm @ 3500RPM engine?

pedey The article is superb and I love the photos, especially all the detail shots you include, keep it up!


Maybe its silly, but i dont like cars without their original dashboard..
Also, american v8 in an Evo chassis, running on BMW wheels? It couldnt get any weirder.


you can't just talk about the glorious sound and not provide a video of some kind! that;s just cruel


Even though im only a humble 15 year old, my dreams are big and an evo is present int them


Thank you for compression info and weight info :)


shiftyXTI A LQ is the same as a LS except the LQ has an iron block vs a aluminum one. A roughly 600 ft lb tq is pretty laughable. Especially in being a turboed car. If you wanted 600 numbers you would be better off with a 4 cylinder. It is lighter and it will rev quicker. Any other engine would have been better than another Chevy swap. 1jz, 2jz, SR18DET, 20b rotary, FA20, 2.4 ford; any of these would have been more interesting.


why didn't he use the LS heads. LS heads on Vortecs are the staple


86foxmann are you familiar with the concept of reliability?


86foxmann shiftyXTI Conveniently ignoring the fact that an LSX motor weighs about the same as an SR20DET with all its turbo gear...


balston Joakim is working on it as I write this, stay tuned!


AdamBezzegh Are you using 'weird' in a positive or negative way? Haha. That's what drew me to the car in the first place


Paizuri_4g63 Thank you for the feedback on the story, you absolutely hit the nail on the head with this one!


JohnBewley pedey Thanks John, appreciate it.


steelyknives It seems to be a point of debate lately, but Joakim feels that the 317 heads he has on his motor are the best stock heads to use for his application. Some interesting discussion here if you've got a spare moment:


pedey AdamBezzegh not sure! for me the Evo is a 4wd rallycar so considering that side, its more on the negative side. however, the build quality is more on the positive side :)


Thanks for an exciting reading. 

Here's a preview, the movie clip is not finished yet.

And here is some more information about the car, it is in Swedish ;) but I think the pictures tells alot!


I'm normally indifferent towards Chevy V8 swaps, but this is an incredible build! I'm glad this was featured.


This is certainly not how I picture my dream Evo... but there is no denying this is a fantastic build and certainly very different from the vast majority of Evo projects I've read to date.
Look forward to seeing/hearing the full video!

JMax Paint Garage LLC

Why, oh why would they do this to a japanese icon car such as an Evo????

This article made my Friday, thats for sure :)


returnity 86foxmann shiftyXTI Except this is an iron block LQ with all its turbo gear.