1996 Lancer EVO IV
Mitsubishi’s fourth iteration of the legendary Lancer Evolution was a highly successful rally weapon that laid the groundwork for some of the brand’s most legendary vehicles on and off the tarmac. While the US market received the Mitsubishi Mirage, an oft-forgotten compact FWD sedan, domestic buyers never got to enjoy a “true” Lancer Evolution equipped with a hard hitting 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engine and close ratio 5-speed manual until the introduction of the Evolution VIII in 2003. Examples like our 1996 Lancer Evolution IV GSR are great little performance sedans, and with only 51k verified and documented miles on the clock, this classic is barely broken in! The exterior is finished in Scotia White and is accented by some choice OEM touches, like a factory high-rise wing, massive fog lights, OEM front lip, and prominent front mount intercooler. Save for some expected dings and other imperfections throughout, there's not much to scoff at with the outside. The 17" OZ Chrono alloys are a perfect complement to the timeless exterior, and HKS coilovers do a good job at cleaning up any wheel gap left from the factory rally-spec'd struts and springs. For a rally champion that's easily streetable, the lovable Evolution IV is a Japanese Classic that shines no matter how you use it and is turn-key ready to roll!
Like other Lancer Evolutions, Recaro was in charge of appointing the cabin with comfortable yet well-bolstered seating. Accented by a wild red patterned cloth, the interior on this one is certainly just as interesting as the outside, and plenty of power amenities are at the ready to make this one a fine candidate for daily driving. The dash is in good nick, and free of any pesky age-related cracks although there do appear to be a few blemishes present from the removal of some accessories up top. The center stack fortunately appears to have withstood any major abuse and houses a fully functional digital automatic climate control unit. For those in warmer climates, Cold A/C is easily accessible as is hot heat. While the driver's wheel has been swapped for a sleek MOMO unit, the passenger still benefits from an SRS airbag to add some additional peace of mind on the road. All four power windows rapidly unfurl to allow some extra ventilation to flow throughout the cabin, and power locks and mirrors work as they should to make the drive more accessible for all. The rear bench offers plenty of additional space for extra passengers, and despite this sedan's compact footprint, it doesn't feel cramped inside at all! No 25-year-old interior is perfect, and we did want to note some expected peeling on the door cards and bolster wear on the seats, as well as an inoperable headunit and fuel gauge that works intermittently. Aside from those minuscule complaints, this one seemed to have been cared for in a prior life.
Compared to even its fiercest competition on the rally circuits, Mitsubishi's 4G63 engine always managed to excel in power, drivability, and sheer fun factor. Sharing plenty of parts with the Evolutions offered here stateside, this is an easy-to-service mill that always seems to provide a rewarding ownership experience. Ours has been extensively serviced by our trained technicians and is primed to deliver miles of worry-free performance driving! Starting with a new 12v battery, this one cranks over swiftly and is kept in good operating order thanks to a fresh timing belt, water pump, and thermostat. A fresh oil and filter service keeps this one topped up on lubricant, and we've resealed the oil pan gasket to ensure she doesn't sweat a drop! Fueling is fully handled thanks to a new fuel pump and filter, and fresh spark plugs across the board keep this one running butter smooth. Under throttle, this 4G is an absolute rocket in its current form. A twin plate clutch engages aggressively but contributes to the racecar-like feel, and a Blitz blow-off valve emits a playful chirp when off throttle. The symphony of sound is capped off by a 5Zigen catback exhaust, sure to deliver plenty of smiles as you pilot this street-worthy rally car. Shifts through the 5 speed AWD transmission are smooth and precise, although we did want to note that the five to four shift has some issues and must be done slowly as its tricky. Power is hammered down to all four tires without issue, thanks in part to new differential bushings in the rear. The HKS coilovers deliver a ride that's firm yet compliant in the twisties, and we've additionally shored up the drivetrain with a new left front inner axle boot and fluid change of the rear differential. The brakes bite hard when needed, and new Falken rubber on all four corners delivers plenty of grip on tarmac, snow, dirt, or wherever you may pilot this darling Evo!