Do the Evolution: 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII

  • December 02, 2020
Why We Like It

With automotive heritage dating to 1917, Mitsubishi as we know it today began in 1934 when the company’s shipbuilding and aircraft divisions were merged to create Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. The Lancer nameplate was first applied in 1973 to a line of aerodynamic (for the era) coupes powered by engines using Mitsubishi’s advanced Clean Air technology, making the Lancer the first car to earn EPA certification with low-pollution engines. Three decades of steady development and success in Mitsubishi’s Asian and European markets included the origins of the company’s world rallying legacy, based around the 1.8L EX Turbo, soon updated to the Lancer 2000 Turbo from 1982-1988. The choice of the Lancer name was momentous, with the cars bearing this heroic moniker leading the Mitsubishi charge throughout the world’s rally stages. It earned the company a seemingly endless victory tally and a fearsome reputation for its potent road models, eventually including Ralliart models and the Lancer Evolution (“Evo”) I-VIII. Modern Lancer sales in North America began in 2001 and these amazing all-around performers are coveted by both tuners and smart collectors of true rally-inspired legends. The ultimate Evo VIII came to North America beginning in 2003 and its amazing technical specs would continue through restyling in 2015, while the basic Lancer range would be available through 2017.

do-the-evolution-2005-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-viii00j0j gyMcZFfxbfp 0CI0pO 1200x900Equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission and Mitsubishi’s proven all-wheel drive system, this rare 2005 Mitsubishi Evolution VIII comes to market from only its second owner with just 25,600 seller-stated original miles. Described as super clean inside and out and never modified, and the selection of photos confirm the point nicely. It looks like a prime example and thankfully, it has apparently not endured the endless modifications and abuse these fine cars are usually subjected to. While details are few in the listing, we think you get the point about this extremely pure and well-preserved Evo VIII.

The Evo VIII marks the pinnacle of Mitsubishi’s hard-core rally developments of the already excellent basic Lancer design. According to period road tests, the first North American Evo VIII pounded out 271hp and with its relatively light weight and all-wheel drivetrain, performance was phenomenal. Continuous – more correctly obsessive – development and perfection raised output, performance, and styling even further through the model’s long run. Speaking of phenomena, the Lancer Evo was one of the prominent automotive stars of the wildly successful “Fast and Furious” movie franchise, which truly introduced these cars to a worldwide audience. Featuring Mitsubishi’s uncanny quality construction at their core, Lancers were also endowed with industry-beating warranty coverage, providing additional peace of mind for road-model buyers across the board. On rally stages and the showroom floor, the Lancer Evo VIII competed head-to-head with the equally brilliant (but less reliable) Impreza-based Subaru WRX and STi in yet another case of racing-homologation models purpose-built to “win on Sunday and sell on Monday.”do-the-evolution-2005-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-viii00g0g lIq7flNSQUW 0CI0t2 1200x900

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While the Lancer Evolution has yet to make it into collector-car price guides, these cars have inspired generations of enthusiasts now armed with the cash to buy and own a dream-worthy example. While not produced in large numbers, around 40 Lancer Evo’s have been offered by Bring a Trailer since 2016, with most offerings resulting in completed sales – a likely product of scarcity and desirability. While a couple have sold around the $12k mark, lower-mileage examples in great condition and pure factory specs reside within a wide range of $15k-$30k, with a growing pattern around the $40k mark. The seller’s asking price is at the higher end of the trend line, but where else will you find such a clean and unadulterated example? As offered, it looks fair market to us and while it’s a gnarly rally homologation special, it will certainly provide a great alternative to more common and older European sports cars, many of which often carry comparable price tags. Regardless, whoever snags this Evo VIII is going to have a blast in it and find themselves torn between driving it constantly and preservation. Were it ours’, we’d assuredly opt for the prior.

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