An Evo With Goals
It Just Had To Be Done

This is strange. I’m sitting on the cold ground along a backstreet in Akihabara pointing my camera at a car that shouldn’t really be here, yet it is.

We first saw this Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Final Edition at the SEMA Show last year, then at the Tokyo Auto Salon, then at the HKS Premium Day, and again the other weekend at Tsukuba for the Hyper Meeting. It’s as if the US-market Evo had been trying to get my attention, perhaps hinting that I should feature it. And really, how could I not? This is a car that’s been built with a level of substance and attention to detail that gets me all giddy.


During its holiday on this side of the Pacific the Bulletproof Automotive Evo X is being looked after by Matsui-san of Power House Amuse, and it was he who drove the car over the Aqua Line from his shop in Kisarazu to the otaku center of Japan’s capital for this shoot. I’d usually associate itasha cars with Akihabara, but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture this US-built and tuned Evo in one of the most Japanese locations possible.


So what is this build all about? Well, a few things really. Built for a Bulletproof customer, this is the car that was used to unveil the third iteration of the Varis wide-body conversion for the CZ4A.


That and a new wheel brand called Hyperlock. These wheels are quite interesting as they are not only offered with center-locks but are also extremely customizable. The forged faces are mated to heat-treated barrels and on the Evo measure 19×11-inch.


The idea behind the center lug nut is to offer simplicity and streamline the design for additional lightness. Vehicle-specific hub conversions are included as well as a the tool set required for torquing them up.

The jaw-dropping setup doesn’t end there as this is the only Evo X in the world to run a R35 GT-R Brembo front and rear caliper swap, not to mention Overtake carbon ceramic discs with matching pads.


Lifting up the Varis vented carbon hood it quickly becomes obvious that the exotic race-grade brakes were added for a reason: This built 4B11 pushes out 800hp. That number comes courtesy of a balanced and blueprinted 2.2L AMS crate motor featuring a ported and polished head, oversized valves, 9:1 compression ratio, and a 9,000rpm redline.


Then there’s the turbo, an ETS Precision 67mm unit which is hard to miss sitting between the engine and firewall. Due to its position heat management was paramount, so there’s a shielding plate, ceramic coating on the exhaust manifold, and the dump pipe is sleeved in exhaust wrap.


With most of the piping and metal surfaces powder-coated in black and all the silicon hoses selected in the same color, the whole setup can almost be described as ‘stealthy’. But there are some cool upgrades hiding in the blacked-out bay, including Injector Dynamics 1,700cc squirters and the supporting fuel system to go along with them.

As I was chatting with Matsui-san about how it’s all managed with a Cobb Accessport ECU module, the manager of the Pachinko parlor we were parked up in front of came out and apologized sincerely for having to ask us to move as we weren’t supposed to be there.


After bowing and apologising back in at least seven different ways we went on our way, hunting around Akiba for a second shooting location.

Standing Out

We ended up on Chuo Dori, the main street that crosses ‘Electric Town’, and positioned the car by the side of some well known shops.


The bright neon lights turned out to be just what we needed to examine the bright red exterior and new Varis aesthetic conversion for this final generation of the Evo, which even includes front and rear lights.


The kit is comprehensive with only the doors and roof really remaining untouched. Every other panel is other swapped out for an original Varis design or mated to additional pieces as part of the transformation. And no, your eyes are not deceiving you either; the Hyperlock wheels on the driver’s side are black with red center centers as opposed to silver with black centers on the passenger side.

When Varis began in business vented carbon hoods quickly became their top-selling parts, so it makes sense that we look at this item first. While all of their carbon may not be of the pre-preg, autoclave baked ‘dry’ variety, it still helps to shed a decent amount of weight and in the process introduce functional design cues that in this case help expel engine bay heat. If you are interested to see how these guys make their parts, I visited their factory back in 2014, so take a look.

Then we get to the first step of the widening conversion, which begins up front with the bumper and the way it flows into the wider fenders. It gives a noticeably stouter presence, while easily containing the 11-inch wide wheels and 295-section tires.


There is ample carbon detailing here too, from the extended splitter and pair of canards that help push the front end onto the ground, to the fender finishers where the arches meets with the skirt lines.


The only non-Varis bit to adorn the body is a pair of JUN mirrors, but with the same glossy exposed carbon fiber finish they’re a perfect fit.

For me, however, the most visual aspect of this newest Varis kit is the rear fender treatment, a wider and more extreme variant of what’s been done before. The way it merges into the rear bumper reminds me of Super GT cars.


But wait, we aren’t quite finished with the carbon yet. The high rising wing and the trunk lid it’s mounted on are also both made from carbon.


Take a few steps back and the complexity of the exterior really makes sense as a whole, and you can’t help but nod in approval knowing that there’s ample performance to go along with the time attack look.


And don’t for one second assume that the same attention to detail wasn’t given to the handing.


Squaring off the geometry was an important goal, which is why on top of beefier sway bars at both ends, Whiteline roll center adjusters were added to counteract the effects of the lower ride height. Aragosta adjustable coilovers take care of the rest while a front lift kit will no doubt extend the life of the carbon lip.

It’s All In The Details

This being the second Bulletproof Automotive build I’ve shot in Japan (do you remember the FR-S?) I wasn’t surprised when I saw that the entire interior had been covered in Alcantara. In fact, I sort of expected it as I know these guys like to do things properly and hate skipping details. It’s a massive contrast to the usual Evo interiors we see, but then again, shooting for supercar-like levels of finish in a more affordable Japanese sports car requires a big investment.

When I say everything I really do mean it; the velvety gray and red Alcantara was even used to reupholster the Recaro seats to ensure that everything matched and just felt right.


The high level of finish extends to the Overtake steering wheel which is made out of dry carbon. Carbon on a steering wheel!


As the plaque on the transmission tunnel hints, this car is one of the last of a very special breed. It was a bit strange seeing the MPH speedometer and the temperature reading in Fahrenheit, but being left-hand drive is what caught the attention of many passers by in Akihabara who stopped to ask some questions.


With Bulletproof being official distributors for Power House Amuse in the US, it was nice to see one of their most recognizable products – the R1 Titan shift knob – fitted in the Evo.


I could have stayed all night chatting about the car and tuning in general with Matsui-san, but the time eventually came to part ways.


He jumped in the Evo, cranked the 800hp engine to life and roared down Chuo Dori towards the Shutoko entrance. I was left thinking that it’s indeed possible to have the best of both worlds, or at least close to it. Brutal power coupled with a sense of luxury and exclusivity, the epitome of the custom car.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Wasn't until my 2nd look through to notice different coloured wheels on each side of the car.

Such a beautifully done car. The panel lines, interior. I do wonder how it would look without all the vinyl though haha.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I was thinking that too. Badass no doubt


I think the paint and vinyls accentuate the body kit a plain color could "hide" some lines.
Even the headlights are completing the looks, the images with lights on got my attention more than the others with lights off.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Wheels with different colours left and right really challenges my OCD. LOL! I know that this car was debuted at SEMA, but actually never noticed the wheels were centre-locks until now, because the Varis bodykit catches my attention more.




I would consider this build about as close to perfect as it gets. At that level I'd personally go for a completely stripped interior with a sequential transmission, but that's splitting hairs.

Dino do you ever photograph the underbody's of these cars? I'm curious to know if any guys go for flat bottoms or if they leave them stock for the most part.


Daryl Hernandez

Hey John, i’m the owner of the Evo. We’re actually changing to a sequential, which wasn’t able to be completed in time before being sent off!


Daryl Hernandez, do you have IG?

Daryl Hernandez

My IG is @daryl.spear.


No shit? Dude that's awesome!

As much as I love to shift gears thats a lot of power and you need to free up the driver to concentrate on braking zones and managing body weight. Do you have any webpages dedicated to the car or forum posts about the build?


You're a dipshit.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Whenever the chance is there and the car is technical enough lifting a car up and shooting under it is always cool. Haven't done it in a while and no the Varis kit has no underbody aero


Thanks for the info. Some of the locations & cars featured lately have reminded me of Tokyo Extreme Racer series and some of the bosses from that game. Good stuff.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Tokyo is a goldmine for cool locations. The problem is it's all very tight and busy and you usually get kicked out of the cooler places. It's an exercise in guerrilla tactics haha


Do you ever remember that Japanese photographer with the site called Night Windows?

He travelled all over Japan shooting at night from street stuff to cats in the harbors. That guys pictures and articles about the tuning scene there pretty much made me want to study Japanese when I was younger. Must be fun to shoot and have to be discrete...


Good one. Can u help me get a rally car of 1000hp Subaru or Evolution

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Help how?


Bulletproof always knocks it out of the parts with their attention to detail on their builds.. Having debuted an EvoX myself at SEMA, I really appreciated their vision and execution on their build when i got to see it in person. I had a good time chatting with Ben (owner of BP) about both of our builds at the show.. Kudos to these guys getting the car out to Japan + racing it _ I'm still trying to get mine to the track! hopefully end of this month (fingers crossed!)

Way to go BulletProof - A truly great EvoX build!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Hey Ravi, loved the execution on your car!


This photoset and this car are so damn good. Makes me angry!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks but I hope you aren't angry at me lol


Beautiful machine ... I don´t like those stickers though ... but, different people ... different tastes. I guess. Plus ... it´s Japan, right?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Well at the end of the day they were promoting brands at 2 big international shows. Look what I did with the GTR to make it stand out at TAS lol Good thing about vinyl is, it can always be removed


Amazing shots! I designed the graphics for this car. Honored to see my livery design work on Speedhunters, shot by Dino no less! I love Akihabara, so this is a perfect setting. The car just fits so well in this environment. That panning shot is fantastic.

PS: Dino, we met at TAS set up day with Ben and Avi. It was a pleasure!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Oh hey Edwin, I remember! Good work on the car!


Thank you!

Cohen Baggerly

I love how mean this car looks! Super rad build man, keep it up!


Your photography is top notch, Dino. You picked the perfect backdrop to complement the car too.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Akiba always works well, it's the place everyone wants to shoot at now, either there or Kabukicho. Must hunt out other locations lol Thanks for the kind words man, appreciate :)


Best X I've seen to date. Its hard to top this

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Defines what a complete car should be


There's gotta be a way to make a transverse turbo four look sexy, instead of just hoses and wiring running wherever they'll fit.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I actually really liked the blacked out look on this car. On a dedicated show car you can take time and put money into making an engine bay look clean and uncluttered but the majority of new engine bays resemble the back of an industrial washing machine so going for the "black hole" approach makes sense.


No, that's not what I mean.

The owner's efforts aren't in question here - I'm talking about the OEMs.

I've never seen an engine bay in a modern car, especially an FWD turbo car, that wasn't an Eh-Fuck-It exercise in splattering piping, wiring and fluid lines wherever they'll fit, with absolutely zero thought given to making it look neat and organized.

The worst offenders - in my opinion - would be Toyota's JZ-GEs or Nissan's non-turbo RBs.

The intake ducting draped over top of the engine ruins the elegance, the simplicity, the "straight-sixness" of the engine's appearance.


Oh look, RPF1 replicas


Derive that back into it's original form and any 6 spoke wheel is a knock off of the 1st 6 spoke wheel. I did not think about RPF1s at all and the design doesnt make me think of them in the slightest.

The spindles bow in and get farther apart which gives a pretty different look than the Enkeis.


Oh look, RPF1 replicas


Will you stop that.....

Matthew Everingham

One of the best X's I've seen.
Does it mean I've spent too much time in Japan when I know exactly where the car is in pretty much all of these shots?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes. Now it's your turn with your evo. 2.2L bottom end, big borg warner and a sequential. Chop chop


The photos in here are beautiful. I hope Varis replaces the images they have on their brochure with these

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks. I'll be happy to supply these for commercial use for their catalogue :)


Dino, the pictures are masterpieces. You always bring the heat and this is one of my all time favorite shoots of yours. I sure hope Varis does contact you to use them. I'll encourage them to do so.


Dino could you please upload these photos with a bit more quality? I downloaded a few to use them as wallpaper but the images look way too compressed compared to the usual quality of SH photos.


Never thought that an EVO X can look so incredible, very nice work. It´s like an other car for me. Don´t know who wrapped this car, but he put out every single beauty line of this car !


Thanks! Glad you like it. Grateful for all of the other awesome comments as well! This has been a fun project for a great guy (Daryl H.). The car was full built and wrapped in house. Build at Bulletproof @bulletproofautomotive and wrap by Bulletproof Auto Spa (IG @bulletproofautospa). The design was a collaboration with Edwin Reyes, a long time friend and collaborator.


Nice, thats really creepy, all nice builds came from Tokyo or California XD all of you create a Masterpiece. Now i´ve lost myself at thanks for your attention and i wish you and your Team all of the best for the future Ben^^


Great photos. This Evo nasty!