Half way between my house and my mum's is an odd collection of businesses comprising minicab office, hipster barbers (haircuts, beer and banter available according to the sign), a builders' tool hire establishment and a dealer specialising in slightly tired luxury SUVs and camper vans. And in the latter the other day something rather stood out.
NOV 01st 2016
Dan Trent: Looking at Mitsubishi Evos with intent
As, indeed, a homologation special with big wings and bonnet vents would among some second rate motor homes. Surely worth a 30-second diversion from my route to kick the tyres… Now, as I've mentioned before, I'm very much of the Gran Turismo generation with car buying tastes very much informed by formative years playing on my PlayStation. As such my whiskers twitch at the sight of Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) rarities, explaining why I've ended up with two such cars on my driveway. I've mentioned Mitsubishi Evos before too. This one was a IV from 1996, the first with the electronically controlled Active Yaw Control rear differential that became an Evo trademark.
Now in this world you're either a Subaru man or an Evo fanatic. It's the City/United of ’90s performance cars. Even as the former I have to admit Evos have a strong pull, the mad looks and famously adjustable handling strong points in its favour over the steadier but more charismatic Impreza. Evos weren't officially imported until the VI in 1999 and even then in small numbers. Hence they've always been more exotic. This IV looked good. Hardly pretty. But just so purposeful. And small. A reminder of how bloated modern performance cars have become, I'd wager it'd be dwarfed by a Fiesta ST. An offer to discuss the £4,995 asking price was forthcoming before I'd even opened my mouth, the chap admitting he'd been stuck with it for months and wanted rid. Dangerous…
I poked about. I put pictures on Twitter. Various encouragements to buy it were proffered. So I went back, had a closer look, found no rust but a slight degree of tattiness. Would I like a test drive? Rude not to… Immediately the aftermarket dump valve made its presence felt. Hmm. It went well though, lacking rattles or squeaks and feeling just as tiny and agile as I'd hoped. My brother had seen the Tweets. He wanted to know more. Next day we got it on the ramps. Wasn't too pretty underneath. Doubts were setting in. A fresh import was found for £6,495. Even with a couple of grand put into it this wasn't going to come close. Excuses were made. Last I saw the car's still there.
Something has been ignited in my brother though. And, frankly, I'm fanning the flames. The newly imported one sold before we could inspect it but the vendor sniffed a sale and has his men in Japan primed to inspect a couple of equivalent ones on our behalf. Meanwhile another fresh import has surfaced in Manchester. I may just have popped across to have a look at that one too. Night and day different to the old nail I first saw too, the underside as immaculate as the bodywork and signs of ragging and abuse conspicuously absent.
Bloody computer games have a lot to answer for. Because if my brother doesn't go ahead and buy one I might well have to now.
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