Over the weekend Mitsubishi Motors has unveiled the very, very last of the Lancer Evolution line. Fans of the Flanked by other great sports cars from the company’s past, the Final Edition Evo made its debut at the Mitsubishi Owners’ Day event at the firm’s US headquarters in Cypress, California amidst thousands of dedicated Mitsubishi fans that had arrived from all over the west coast in Starions, 3000GTs, and even Delicas.
To send its storied performance icon off with a bang, a Mitsubishi representative told us that the Final Edition Evos will receive a “slight bump” in horsepower, although the actual number was not actually disclosed. In Japan, the Final Edition is based off of the Evo X GSR, which features a 5-speed manual transmission. That version — and we have no reason to believe the US-market counterpart will be any different — had sodium-filled exhaust valves, which could account for the aforementioned bump.
Other performance goodies include a suspension upgraded with Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs, Brembo brakes and high performance Yokohama Advan tires.
Visually, the Final Edition wears a gloss black bumper bar and hood vent surrounds, with black-finished BBS wheels. The grille surround is a darker chrome than standard, and there will be “Final Edition” emblems on the decklids.
The cabin features a serial-numbered plaque and red stitching on the steering wheel, shift knob and e-brake.
Back in April, Mitsubishi Motors began taking orders in Japan for the Final Edition Evo. Only 1,000 will be sold there, but North America will receive 1,600. The car shown here is number “0000,” a very-close-to-production prototype that was so new the Final Edition badge hadn’t arrived in time to be affixed to the trunk.
With the discontinuation of the Evo line, Mitsubishi effectively kills off the last of its performance DNA. Reminding us of that fact were to other greats from the company’s past, arranged in a triple diamond-shaped display.
To the starboard side was Mitsubishi’s ultimate 90s showcase, the 3000GT VR-4 Spyder, a 320hp, all-wheel-drive, 6-speed convertible. When it debuted, it cost $65,000, or just over $100 grand in 2015 dollars, and part of that cost was due to the first production folding metal top. With just over 600 built, it’s a rare beast.
On the opposite side was the face that launched a thousand import tuners. We speak of the 90s as the era of sport compact Hondas, but the Eclipse was just as popular a platform. With AWD and a 210hp turbo four, the sport coupe was an even more beloved choice for modifiers in many parts of the US. As a result, stock versions are ultra rare now. These display cars are not part of the official Mitsubishi collection, so there’s still a chance that the number of well-preserved examples may someday reach zero.
Nearby, the current new car lineup of Mitsubishi Motors was both on display and rubbing salt in the wounds of the legions of Evo fans that had come to the event.
We arrived as the show was winding down, so the oldest cars we spotted were a trio of Starquests. If any Colts were present, we probably missed them and barely managed to snap a few photos before the Starions too took off.
Over 90 percent of the cars in attendance were Evos, with this group taking their name from the bad guys in Initial D.
Meanwhile, a short-wheelbase first-gen Montero and a mud-covered second-gen came to represent Mitsubishi’s other side, that of apocalypse-ready off-roaders. The Montero/Pajero faithful will swear that their rigs can outlast and out-trek even the mighty Land Cruiser. If the Dakar Rally is any indication, that could very well be true.
Over in the corner a pair of owners actually brought a Mitsubishi one-box and an imported 4WD Delica. Mitsubishi has brought us many iconic cars over its long history; it’s sad that the lineup has been reduced to a couple of crossovers and a three-cylinder compact.
Before we left, a couple of Galant VR-4s reminded us of the origins of the Lancer Evo —and of the days when Mitsubishi was turbocharging their run-of-the-mill family sedans. While the end of the Evo marks the close of an era, we hope Mitsubishi continues to hold Owners’ Day events. Still no other Japanese automaker invites thousands of fans to their headquarters (and factory) for a homecoming.