16 Years, 185,000 Miles & Over 500awhp
Introduction

During every feature car owner interview I inevitably end up asking what sparked an individual’s descent into automotive madness. Some have genuine genesis moments, but most simply can’t pinpoint exactly why they ended up an enthusiast. Usually, what started as a small interest grew until the number of days spent interested in cars surpassed the days not.

Gordan Mandich falls into this latter category, where cars rapidly crept into every nook of his life the same way coffee creeps into the crevices of a keyboard when a clumsy writer knocks over his mug. Today, even though he can’t say exactly why he ended up ‘one of us’, Gordan’s day job, side hustle and adrenaline-powered escape from reality all center around cars.

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Growing up in Los Angeles, an area highly regarded as the automotive mecca, Gordan could have wound up an enthusiast of any type of car. But, his heart was pulled almost exclusively into the world of Japanese automobiles.

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More specifically, Japanese cars that took two steps closer to performance, rather than luxury or economy.

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Today, Gordan is employed as a specialist at Bonhams auction house. This means he makes a living helping others buy, sell and valuate their classic cars. As an enthusiast in such a job, he’s met countless people and made invaluable connections.

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Years of shaking the right hands put Gordan in the almost unbelievably fortunate position to buy a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR off a dealer lot for less than list price. Keep in mind that when new, these cars were doing FK8 Honda Civic Type R numbers. That is to say, several thousand over MSRP.

The Excitement Is Still There
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“The car is still as fun to drive now as it was when I first bought it,” Gordan says, abbreviating his 16-year history with the car as much as possible.

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The Evo had only a couple hundred miles on the odometer when Gordan first started making it his own. But truth be told, before the dealer had even completed the pre-delivery inspection, Gordan had already purchased some of the initial modifications.

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While voiding manufacturer’s warranty immediately might discourage some, Gordan paid them no mind. Maintenance would be performed by his own hand, or those of other trusted Evo experts.

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At this point, Gordan is acutely aware of every bolt that’s been turned on this car. The Evo is truly his and he’s made sure there’s no other quite like it.

Built To Move
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Through the years, Gordan has taken care to modify the car both tastefully and carefully. A high-mileage-yet-reliable car is the fruit of his methodical and thorough labor.

I’ve always had the utmost respect for those who have a higher mileage car capable of making jam. There is perhaps no better indication of someone’s dedication to their vehicle than an odometer that reflects frequent use.

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In Gordan’s case, the 4G63 up front makes 505awhp at 31psi on a Dyno Dynamic dyno. Those dynos are known as heartbreakers because they read notoriously low compared to others, so should the car ever be run up elsewhere, 600awhp might not be out of the question. Fuzzy math is fine with Gordan in this case, because he didn’t want an unpredictable dyno superstar anyway.

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Inside the engine, Mahle 4032 forged pistons have been installed with Manley forged connecting rods. The cylinder head, ported and polished by Portflow, features Comp Camps 280-degree camshafts, Ferrea valves, Supertech valve springs, and is secured with ARP studs.

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An ETS T4 twin-scroll exhaust manifold mounts a Precision Turbo 6262 tweaked via an OCD Works ‘T51R mod’. That upgrade gives the turbo a distinct whistle, reminiscent of HKS’s iconic T51R.

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Wisecraft provided much of the piping, from intercooler to down-pipe. Cat back, Fujitsubo takes over with the Super Ti titanium exhaust system.

The bay also features a CBRD aluminum radiator, oversized oil cooler and various dress-up caps. Of course, there’s a great deal more going on between the strut towers than what I’ve mentioned here, and an exhaustive list of the engine modifications can be found at the end of this post.

Fancy Feet
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While Gordan has tracked this car fairly regularly, he’s always wanted it to remain street plated. The various hills near his home offer up incredible driving views and opportunities, so enabling spirited runs through picturesque mountains is a robust collection of handling modifications.

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Anywhere that could benefit from additional bracing now has it; the strut bar and under-brace is from Mine’s, the rear trunk brace is from Cusco, and Grimspeed braces the brake booster. The handling is further enhanced through a Cusco front sway bar and Robispec rear, plus a Whiteline steering precision kit, anti-lift/caster correction kit and roll center adjustment package along with sway bar lateral locks.

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Bringing everything together are custom-valved KW V3 coilovers. KW Suspensions has been very supportive of this project from its inception, and Gordan tips his hat toward their team via a windshield banner.

Looks That Kill
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Gordan has continued to lean on reputable manufacturers in the vehicle’s aesthetic department. RAYS Volk Racing CE28N wheels in an 18×9.5-inch fitment feature currently, winning out the battle over the eight different sets that proceeded them. And yes, the right side of the car does wears silver CEs and the left side bronze. After a dirt drop claimed one silver wheel, Gordan bought an additional pair in Volk Racing’s most iconic hue.

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There’s two different looks depending on which way you view the car. For me, the bronze side looks rather menacing, where as the silver side looks slightly more refined.

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Varis GT fenders ensure there’s no rubbing up front, even with 265-section Achilles ATR-K Sport rubber fitted.

The balance of the exterior is the result of Gordan looking far and wide for unique parts that would work together. There are Ganador mirrors, Rexspeed carbon fiber J Panels, OEM Lancer Evo VIII MR headlights and an extremely hard to procure Mine’s carbon fiber rear deck lid spoiler currently on the car.

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The rear wing above the deck lid spoiler is also an extremely rare item, one of less than a single handful in North America.

“I didn’t want to build something that was easily copied, so I sought out very hard to find visual modifications,” Gordan explained. As he descried the ‘hunt’ the excitement in his voice grew. I’d wager finding the part is equally as rewarding as installing it.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that the roll cage – made by Kansai Service – is the only left-hand drive example to ever exist. After helping a client import a car from Japan fitted with it, Gordan worked out a deal to put it into his car. That client has baby seats in the back of their car where Gordan has no seats at all.

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The driver’s seat has been replaced with a Recaro Pole Position mounted to a Buddy Club low-mount rail. Rexspeed Evolution, AEM, and HKS offer up various gauges, and a Personal Kingston steering wheel shares the wear of Gordan’s spirited hours of driving with an HKS shift knob.

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener
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Keeping this car legal on the streets of California hasn’t been easy for Gordan. So far it’s been ‘ref’d’ three times, which means that it’s had to go through an extensive smog test, where the emissions system is stringently checked against original factory specifications. Passing this essentially requires reverting said systems back to stock. With storage units full of his original parts, Gordan can switch the Evo to factory spec when required, but it’s not his preferred way of spending a weekend with the car.

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At this point it’s become a weekend cruiser, simply to reduce the chances of getting ref’d again. Despite having to strategically take the car out, Gordan takes pride in the fact the Evo is still a “race car with a plate… it’s driven to and from every track day and I don’t plan to ever own a trailer.”

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Though he’s owned it for 16 years and driven it extensively, I get the feeling that Gordan’s journey with this very well sorted Lancer Evolution is very far from over.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom

Photos by Keiron Berndt
Instagram: keiron_berndt

2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII MR

Engine: Mitsubishi 4G63, 2.1-liter, Mahle 4032 forged pistons (OEM compression), Manley connecting rods, Cosworth crankshaft oil scraper, ARP 625+ head studs, ARP main studs, ARP crank bolt, ARP 625+ rod bolts, ARP flywheel bolts, Portflow cylinder head with pocket port & polish, Ferrea valves, Supertech valve springs, Comp Cams 280-degree camshafts, ETS T4 twin-scroll exhaust manifold, twin TiAL MVS wastegates, Precision 6262 turbocharger with OCD Works T51R Mod, Wisecraft down pipe, Wisecraft lower intercooler pipe, Wisecraft 4-inch intake, Nisei 4-inch core race intercooler, Nisei upper intercooler piping, Tomei blow-off valve, 3-port boost solenoid, Fujitsubo Super Ti titanium cat-back exhaust, Kiggly HLA, Mil.Spec ported throttle body, MAP Rev 2 intake manifold, FIC 1,650cc injectors, Walbro 450lph fuel pump, AMS stainless fuel delivery hose, Auto Produce Boss fuel wire harness, IDS coil-on-plug ignition, OEM ECU with dual map tune by KT Motoring, Setrab oversized oil cooler, XRP oil lines, STM oil catch can, JUN oil cap, Ralliart thermostat, CBRD aluminum radiator, Sard radiator cap, Garage HRS carbon fiber radiator shroud

Driveline: Factory Evo VIII MR 6-speed gearbox, ACT clutch, RRE flywheel Spoon front & rear subframe collar kits, Beatrush propellor shaft bushings, Beatrush shifter base bushings, Beatrush rear differential carrier bushings, Beatrush front roll stopper, AMS underhood shifter bushings

Suspension/Brakes: KW V3 coilovers with custom valving & spring rates, Robispec rear sway bar with custom adjustable end links, Robispec rear control arm bushings, Cusco front sway bar, Whiteline sway bar lateral locks, Whiteline roll center control adjustment, Whiteline anti-lift/caster correction kit, Whiteline steering precision kit, Mine’s front strut bar, Mine’s 7-point front under-brace, Tanabe rear lower tie bars, YR Advance strut plates, Cusco rear trunk brace, Grimspeed brake booster brace, Project Mu front brake pads, Endless rear brake pads, Stoptech stainless brake lines, Stoptech rotors

Exterior: Varis carbon fiber bumper ducts, Seibon polyurethane lip, Monster Sport carbon fiber canards, Datum One tow hook, Varis GT wide front fenders, Varis GT side skirts, Ganador mirrors, Mine’s carbon fiber rear deck lid spoiler, Cusco 3D carbon rear spoiler, JDM rear bumper with carbon insert, Varis Version 2 carbon fiber rear diffuser, Rexpeed carbon fiber J-Panels, Varis door pillar garnishes, OEM window visors, JDM OEM VIII MR headlights, EDM OEM VIII RS taillights with OEM foglight, JDM GTO side marker lights, Coltspeed antenna

Wheels/Tires: RAYS Volk Racing CE28N 18×9.5-inch +28 wheels front/rear, Achilles ATR-K Sport 265/35R18 tires front/rear, Kics bolt-on spacers with studs, Kics lug nuts

Interior: Kansai Service LHD 6-point chromoly roll cage, Kansai Service floor mats, Recaro Pole Position driver’s seat, Buddy Club low mount seat rail, carbon fiber center console lid, YR Advance rear division panel, HKS D1 shift knob, Circuit Hero shift extension, Rexpeed carbon fiber gauge cluster surround, Rexpeed Evolution gauge, AEM wideband 02 gauge, HKS boost gauge, Personal Kingston steering wheel, Works Bell steering hub, Works Bell detachable steering unit, Works Bell locking hub, custom piano black dash inserts

Thanks: Gordan would like to thank everyone the car has brought into his life thus far for their help along the way, including KW Suspensions, Dean at All Auto Care In Santa Clarita, Wisecraft Fabrication, and KT Motoring in Chatsworth, California who tuned the car into the reliable street/track vehicle that it is.

Cutting Room Floor
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31 comments

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1
Eric arredondo

VERY NICE CLEAN CAR, TASTEFULLY DONE...ONCE I START MAKING MY "OLD MAN" CAR MY OWN,I HOPE IT MEETS THE STANDARD THAT THIS EVO HAS SET
I HAVE THE FOLLOWING CAR
1990 MITSUBISHI SIGMA
3.0L V6 AUTO - 45K ORIGINAL MILES
COMPLETELY UNTOUCHED,100% STOCK
BLANK CANVAS LOL...CHECK HER OIT

decom_7372dbe0e5060b701c73471ece786f85_609a1afe61560.jpgdecom_7372dbe0e5060b701c73471ece786f85_609a1afe61560.jpg
Author2

I've actually never seen one of these before. Wow.

3

This is much better than "The 9", daily driven and right to the point!

4

Great article, I love stories with long term owners who drive and develop their cars for actual use rather than build . Sell. Build sell . To each their own but in my eyes it’s pointless unless it’s about the driving and continual improvement. bravo

5

Hi i do have car which is made out 2003
Moths Lancer GLX CS-1
Were i can do the preventive maintenance
In Sri Lanka.
Kindly let me know.
Thank you in advance.

6
Frank Soriano

And now for the million dollar question...

How many times has been the engine rebuilt?

Author7

My understanding is it was just pulled apart the one time.

8
Frank Soriano

I don't believe it

9

Warning: divisive opinion follows.

Can we stop with calling cars like this legal? Whether we agree with it or not, this car is 100% illegal in this form in CA as a road registered car. The form it passes the ref in is the legal configuration.

This isn’t healthy for the community. CA already wants to legislate our cars out of existence; showing them that this is how we respect the law of the land isn’t helping.

I get that it’s literally impossible to run a legal Evo at the level you want in CA while it’s street plated. I’d love to push my DB8 into another level, but it’s completely legal instead. It takes an immense amount more work to tune up cars legally in this state, and it sucks. But this shouldn’t be a “Good for you bro” type of thing. As a community we should be pushing back against illegal builds, not celebrating them.

I don’t think it’ll happen though.

10

I'm in the "Good for you, bro" camp. Anytime someone finds a way around BS laws, I applaud them.

>shrug<

11

Can you articulate what is BS about emissions regulations? I actually tend to favor them, having grown up with smog and seeing what the regulations did to help the situation.

I personally think the end goal is fine, but that we should be allowing specific registrations for cars people want to tune up, with higher fees and more in depth testing, but allowing open modification. If you really can tune your car for equal or better emissions and make more power, go for it!

12

My issues with a lot of this stuff would take a lot of typing and I'm not really motivated to debate over it. No one changes their minds.
I just threw out my opinion in a general way. I don't expect anyone to agree or disagree with it and it wouldn't matter either way.

Author13

Hot take for sure, and there is distinct validity to it.

I suppose, keeping this car street 'plated' would have been a bit more of an accurate wording in that sentence. As I writer I'm so used to this sort of legal dance (see slash plates in Japan or dealer plates in various states, countries, and provinces) that I guess I've forgotten the true implications to some degree.

However If we only wrote about street legal cars people would be quick to claim 'boring', the same way as they would if we only featured all out track cars.

As a community we should probably push back at the powers that be a little bit, but not sure there's any quick win to be had there.

14

I really like this car, the mere fact that he's held onto it for this long is truly amazing. I understand what Cobalt is saying, but I don't have an issues with legalality of what Gordon's done to this Evo. I say this because I've had to listen and see people driving cars, a very loose definition of car too, up and down the streets. Where I live, there is no smog requirement here. These idiots drive around their junk without most of the
exhaust system on, smoke billowing out the back waking everyone up at night.

15

I absolutely agree with all of your points here. I've been in the culture in CA, HI, and Japan for the past 25 years so I'm very aware of what's legal and not and the different flavors (legal in one place is definitely not in another, etc.). These legal differences are one of the factors that drive the diversity of culture, as they pressure trends in certain directions.

I also agree that CA street legal cars only would be absolutely boring, as would track only cars. A diversity of cultural exploration is what makes SpeedHunters what it is (see the lowriders, kyusha, time attack, daily drivers, etc.).

I guess my point is that we SHOULD be celebrating what can be done within the legal bounds wherever we are, and acknowledging those who do put in that extra effort. We should also be pushing back on the regulations in intelligent ways, and showing that we can follow through on those pushes.

I'm being selfish when I push for things like this, because I'm up against a wall in trying to keep my car legal. It's frankly ridiculous that I (almost) cannot legally keep an Integra GS-R on the road any longer. The Honda FPR's are the only legal ones, and the models for GS-R's and ITR's are NLA. Right now the community has realized that there are a couple of motorcycle regulators that look identical and have the same pressure, so that's what they are buying up. After that? Who knows. Without more support from the community I don't see these cars actually being able to be driven for much longer in a legal fashion. Once the powers that be know that none of these cars can possibly be legal, they'll start throwing them all into a ref to get them off the road.

This is one example from one model of car, but this is an iconic car that will soon be impossible to legally drive in any state that follows CA's SMOG laws if we don't find a solution. Words have power, and I'm hoping that some of the members of our community with a reach will start to talk about these issues again instead of just shrugging and pushing the paradigm of swapping it to be legal when caught.

Author16

What is it that makes a GSR illegal in cali? Is it illegal in stock form?

While I've advocatred locally (inspectors like to sit outside tracks here, on organized track days) I have not done so on a larger scale (I'm Canadian). But again, you do raise valid points.

IIRC correctly motorswapping a car in California, legally, is also a fairly large hassle is it not? I've always found that interesting from my days reading about the Honda scene via The Chronicles

17

They aren't illegal yet; they are in danger of it. The Fuel Pressure Regulator is one of the CARB controlled devices; it MUST be a factory part or certified to match (CARB EO Number) or it is 100% illegal to run. Honda stopped producing the appropriate parts for the B18C engines years ago and they are no longer available; only eBay knockoffs (which aren't legal but look close enough) or used items are out there anymore.

So we can probably keep slipping under the radar for now, especially since a couple of Honda motorcycles ran the exact same FPR with the same pressure ratios (different vacuum nipple orientation). Those technically aren't legal but them catching that is extremely unlikely. Those are also out of production and in stock depletion phase at the dealers though. The simple fact that if we actually wanted to comply with the law we are almost out of the ability to do so in a 100% legal manner.

This is the ridiculous part. Even if I want to run a CARB legal Integra GS-R or Type-R in CA we are being pushed over the edge one piece at a time. I'm extremely tempted to run an Aeromotive FPR set to stock pressure and take a ref visit as necessary just because I want to keep my stock parts available for SMOG.

As for engine swapping a car in CA it's actually fairly logical: The engine must be from the same emissions year or newer, from the same class of car or a lower emitting class (no light truck engines in a car, but a car engine in a light truck; this is why CRV B20 swaps are illegal: it was classed as a light truck). It must be in the original factory configuration and have all the donor vehicle emissions equipment present. The only weird part for swapping a newer engine to an older car is the fuel lines; the old return style and the newer returnless are different from an emissions perspective, so that's touch and go.

Author18

That's interesting regarding the swaps. It's interesting for how rich the California car culture is you guys have a lot of hoops to navigate.

Trade off for the better weather perhaps...

19
FrigginguyAGAIN

Imagine if California cared about it's homeless population as much as it cared about a fuel pressure regulator on a 1998 Integra being the correct one.

20

Now this is what a car that's been well used
Something that collectors don't understand and will never understand

21

We have strict laws here in California and in some areas there is no requirement to have your car smogged. Ever been behind some smelly smoking diesel pickup truck? Now those should be scrapped. I've also heard and seen cars running around smoking, missing most of the exhaust system. This kind of car should be taken and used for parts for people who actually take care of their cars. It's definitely an unbalanced and unfair law here. I look at this evo and with how well it's taken care of I could care less about what's legal. The whole point is to clean up the air here, be more conscientious, not make only certain people have to smog their cars. Really like your car Gordon.

22

Very clean California car! Was there a reason why you didn’t add reflective tape on the intake elbow as well, wouldn’t that be important considering it’s location right next to the manifold? XRP makes many types of hoses, which ones were fitted to this car, didn’t see any resemblance of XRP hoses/ fittings in the engine bay pics. Setrab makes many oil coolers, to say oversized is very vague, which model do you have? Any shots of the recaro seat? Volk CE28s actually are an easily copied visual modification. Any plans for a proper rear seat delete in carbon or aluminum?

23

The Oil Catch can has XRP Nickle lines to and from it. I just did a bunch of XRP on my car during vacuum overhaul and looked at those; I ended up going blacked out instead.

I can't speak to the rest.

24

Yes I noticed that single fitting but what about the hose? The catch can hoses doesn’t look like something XRP produces..

25
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

... a Personal Kingston steering wheel shares the wear of Gordan’s spirited hours of driving...


Umm... isn't that the stock Momo steering wheel?

Author26

Sorry, sometimes I get mods lists that have updated since the photos were taken, which can lead to errors like this.

27
XB owners united

16-year-old car with 185K miles that has been completely rebuilt and repainted. Not really the same as one with all the original parts running around.

28

It's sad the comment section of this article turned into everyone bitching about Cali. I feel like this is the dream most average car guys set out for but never achieve. One car, no regard for mileage, or preservation, or resale value. Just enjoying the dream car. Never caving to the thoughts of selling or moving on to the next thing. Great car, great story. More content like this.

29

Really enjoyed this write up. Great images too. This gives me hope for my Evo 8 that’s slowly creeping up the mileage numbers. I’ve a lot planned for it.

30

Love this write up! And the images are amazing. Great car. Seeing this gives me hope for my project Evo 8 as it slowly climbs the numbers on the odometer! Lots planned for mine. @andys_evo8 on the Gram if we're allowed to shamelessly plug?

31

i also agree that we should just call a spade a spade - this car gets through smog, but it's not legal. probably smarter to just not address it, especially if you're gonna show the plates in the pictures.

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