The addition of some boxy flanks, a weapons-grade running gear and that military colour scheme have left Bradley Rees with jet fighter- levels of menace on his battle-ready tuned Evo IX…
The Mitsubishi A6M ‘Zero’ fighter plane was undoubtedly one of the technological marvels of the Second World War. Launched in 1940 and quickly racking up a 12-to-1 kill rate for the Japanese navy, thanks to its unbeatable manoeuvrability and reliability (along with an awe-inspiring soundtrack produced from that throbbing 14-cylinder Sakae motor), it’s no wonder it’s gone down in the history books.
Since then, Mitsubishi’s aviation antics might not have been quite as dramatic, but that’s not to say it’s impossible to find a more recent military monster from the firm. In fact, if Bradley’s Evo IX GT is anything to go by, there’s one much closer to home than you might’ve first thought…
Before we get onto how his newly finished precision tool came about, though, we feel a little back-story of this Evo-obsessed builder’s car life is in order. “My first car was an Astra GTE, which really gave me the taste for performance cars,” Bradley recalls. “That’s when I bought the Evo V, and then eventually this IX.”
While the fairly standard V filled in the gaps for a couple of years, it was always the IX that was on Bradley’s radar, ever since an ex-boss had snapped one up from new over a decade ago. “I was looking for one for ages when this one popped up on the Mitsubishi Lancer Register forum,” he continues. “It was one of the only known yellow GT-spec cars in the country at the time, which made me want it even more!”
The GT moniker on the IX represented a very desirable spec for the car: combining the creature comforts of the GSR with the mechanical might of the rally-bred RS; a killer B-road blasting formula from the box which meant very few modifications had to be performed for a lot of fun to be had. “I tried to keep it standard for a while before the subtle mods like alloys and mud flaps creeped in,” Bradley states the inevitable. “Then after a scary trip to the ‘Ring, things were stepped up a notch!”
Left wanting more in the suspension and tyre department when the car was put around German’s most demanding race track, a set of premium KW coilovers, stickier tyres and some hugging Sparco wrap-around race seats were promptly ordered. Which Bradley says were worth their weight in gold in improving the car’s performance on the circuit.
This was topped off with perhaps the car’s second most memorable modification: a military-inspired wrap in the hue of Midnight Sand Matte Metallic by the guys at pro wrapping firm Monsterwraps. Delighted with the results, Bradley was keen to keep the momentum going. “After having the car for four years, though, I wanted to do something even more different,” he pinpoints the time when things started to escalate in the car’s transformation.
Interested in going down the bang-on-trend wide-arch route, but uninspired by the usual suspects’ offerings, a chance encounter with Moscow-based Clinched Flares on Instagram sparked the start of something mega. “I got talking to them and they just so happened to be developing a kit for the Evo IX at that very time!” he smiles. “They were keen for me to be one of the fi rst to give it a go.” The aggressive curves offered up with this particular kit come in the form of a six-piece ABS package (front and rear wings, along with side skirts), adding a hefty four inches of width to the rear and almost three up-front.
“I had it in my head that I could get it ready for the upcoming Japfest show which was just three weeks away,” Bradley tells us how with the help of handy friends Russ and Duncan, they began cutting away at the car to accommodate the new arches. “It soon became apparent it was too much work, and I wanted to spend some time choosing the right wheels.” With the pressure off, the kit was eventually riveted on to perfection, with a couple of trips to Monsterwraps during the transformation, to keep the colour scheme going through the new rippling dimensions.
Taking pride of place under the arches are a set of two-piece Meister M1R WORK Wheels that are finished in bronze and boast 10.5-inches of girth all-round. With the tyre paint on the sticky rubber wrapped around them, it’s fairly easy to work out why Bradley chose these super-rims to complement the rest of the ride – they just work!
Under the bonnet, things are fairly restrained, with a re-map, a heftier front-mount intercooler and a boost controller allowing Bradley’s 4G63 motor to purr with 400bhp of fun. This acts as a solid base and complements the mechanical diffs and stronger five-speed ’box found in the GT models. But Bradley has bigger plans afoot. “I want it to be a track weapon, so it’ll be getting the likes of a forged engine and a roll cage soon.”
It looks as though the interior is one part of the build that’s been designed with this upcoming power in mind: those aforementioned race seats backed-up with Sabelt harnesses and a stripped-out rear end reminding us this is one show car that isn’t shy of getting driven hard. “Because I run my own business it’s just time that’s getting in the way of taking it out on track more, but I am loving the attention it’s been getting at shows!” our proud owner grins.
Far from being just another wide-arched show car, every touch on Bradley’s Evo has been cleverly thought out to ensure that his car remains fully capable as the ground assault vehicle it’s evolved into, while looking a million dollars in the process, of course. Just like its distant relative, the Zero fighter plane, this is sure to be one Mitsubishi that remains in people’s heads for many more years to come…