Mitsubishi restored the Lancer Evolution III that won the 1000 Lakes Rally in 1996

If you were to ask which Japanese carmaker was least likely to drop some coin on their heritage collection, we doubt Mitsubishi would be at the top of anyone’s list. It hasn’t been a good couple of decades for them, what with scandals, getting bought out, and the slow atrophy of their lineup. And yet, Mitsubishi recently restored a prized WRC Lancer Evolution from their collection, then promptly hooned it.

The Lancer Evolution III marked the point when Mitsubishi became a force to be reckoned with in WRC. The 1996 season, the first in which Mitsubishi fielded the Evo III throughout, saw a fierce battle between the Lancer and the Subaru Impreza. Ultimately the trophies would be split, with Subaru taking the Manufacturers’ Championship and Mitsubishi’s star driver Tommi Mäkinen taking the Drivers’ Championship. The restored car won the 1000 Lakes Rally, held on Mäkinen’s home turf, where he notched the fourth of his five first place finishes that year.

Sadly, the car then sat dormant for many years and had deteriorated to the point of inoperability. With Mitsubishi getting back into rallying, the company decided two years ago to quietly begin the restoration. The car underwent a training program where senior engineers mentor younger ones to pass down their knowledge and skill, a common practice among Japanese carmakers.

Unfortunately, unlike other such projects Mitsubishi did not publish the various stages of the restoration. We’ll just take Mitsubishi’s word that the engine, transmission, AWD system, and suspension were all disassembled and restored. The body’s dents and battle scars, however, were left intact to honor the Lancer’s hard-fought victory and show its provenance.

Mitsubishi has taken the finished car to a few events, and even executed a few sick drifts with the freshly restored works car. The performance thrilled fans but, more importantly, it shows that Mitsubishi is still serious about its rallying history and that there are still signs of life beneath the Triple Diamond banner.

Images courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors.

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1 Response to Mitsubishi restored the Lancer Evolution III that won the 1000 Lakes Rally in 1996

  1. Fashion Victim says:

    Malaysians Love the Evolution 3 because its closely related to the proton Wira.

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