Maybe you’ve heard people refer to the 6th generation (1987-1993) Galant VR4 as the “Evo 0” and thought it was just wishful thinking. Well, Phil Weston would disagree with you on that. You see, Phil has a legitimate 1991 Galant VR4 Evolution, and he’s got the homologation papers to prove it.
What’s your real name? Where do you live?
My name is Phillip Weston and I live in Hamilton, New Zealand.
What do you do for a living?
I am a vehicle broker for NZ New Cars.
What Mitsubishi(s) do you drive? How long have you had it/them?
I currently own a 1991 Galant VR-4 Evolution along with two 4th generation RWD Galant Turbo coupes – one’s badged as a 1980 Eterna GSR while the other is a 1982 Galant GT. These are commonly known as the Plymouth Sapporo or the Dodge Challenger II in the States.
How does the GVR4 Evo compare to, say, the RS, or other GVR4 trims?
The Evolution VR-4 is the 2nd facelift/revision for the 5-Speed manual E38A and E39A JDM Galant VR-4s, produced from October 1990 through to May 1992 – the RS existed from 1988 and was upgraded to ‘Evolution’ spec following the 2nd facelift. There are other JDM variants available such as the Monte Carlo and the Super VR-4, both of which had black leather interior, which the other variants had lacked. The Evolution models sported hood vents and extra front bumper grilles, 510cc injectors, Big 16G Turbo, 4 bolt rear end with LSD, and larger intercooler and piping, amongst other smaller changes.
Do you know how many GVR4 Evos were built?
According to the Japanese Automotive Federation homologation papers a total of 5057 ‘Evolution’ examples had been produced, spread out over the standard VR-4, RS VR-4, Super VR-4 and Monte Carlo VR-4 models. This may seem like a large number compared to the total VR-4s imported into America, however there would perhaps be a small percentage of that 5057 still around today due to the amount destroyed in rallying or taken off the roads permanently.
What originally attracted you to Mitsubishi?
I would have to credit my love of Mitsubishis to my father, who managed our local Mitsubishi Motors dealership when I was growing up. I vividly recall him bringing home brand spanking new ‘demonstrator’ models throughout the 80s and early 90s, which sparked my interest in models such as the Tredia, Cordia, Sigma and of course, the Galant. Sadly Dad passed away October 12th 2010.
How do you use use your Mitsubishi?
Very carefully! It is more or less in factory standard condition and traveled approximately 2000 miles a year, so basically sits in the garage unused other than on sunny days.
What are your goals for your Mitsubishi?
My goal is to basically have one of the most cleanest and original E39A Galant VR-4s around, I feel they are a dying breed and will be worth something in years to come. That’s not to say I will not be modifying it, however any mods done will be subtle, tasteful and most importantly reversible!
Considering your goals, can you tell us about a couple of your favorite mods and how they help you towards realizing the goals you’ve set for the vehicle?
Just the simple modifications – a K&N replacement filter has been fitted, the cat converter has been removed, the boost raised to about 15psi and Ferodo DS2500 brake pads fitted. These mods turned the car from a slouch into… well… something slightly faster than a slouch, haha!
How often do you get together with other Mitsubishi owners in person? What do you do?
I would say perhaps every few months with various local clubs where we primarily do track-days, though there have been various social events plus car show events I have been involved with.
Tell us about something really exciting you’ve done with other Mitsubishi owners.
To be honest I haven’t really done a lot with other Mitsubishi owners in my VR-4 other than turn up to a few meets, however beginning of 2011 the VR-4 will be on display with the MMC club of NZ at the ‘4 & Rotary Nationals’ where we will be demonstrating the whole Evolution range from 0 to X.
Tell us about a time something broke and what it took to fix it.
I haven’t really broken anything on the VR-4, just had a few little niggly maintenance issues like sticking calipers, worn bushes, leaking clutch fluid hose etc.
What is your embarrassment moment – that time you made a stupid mistake?
Pass. I make lots of stupid mistakes, it’s hard to keep track and remember the most stupidest one!
What is your finest hour – that time you saw it all come together perfectly?
It wasn’t with the VR-4, but with one of the coupes I spent the last three days leading up to a track day fabricating custom coil-over suspension, fitting a front mount intercooler, getting a larger exhaust made up, fitting race tyres and basically applying the finishing touches on the morning of the day – the car went better than expected without any trouble and I truly think those days of hard work really paid off.
What’s the best part about being a Mitsubishi owner? The most challenging?
I guess being the best part is like being the underdog – no one really assumes that a four door family sedan is going to wipe the smile off a V8 owners face at the lights. The most challenging would be the constant upkeep and maintenance required!
How have you benefited from your involvement in these communities?
I have gained a wealth of information from these clubs, especially Galant VR4.org as between the lot of us we would have experienced just about any and every problem that could go wrong with the VR-4 and someone is bound to know the solution.
How do you try to give back to these communities?
I feel I have a lot of back ground knowledge of Mitsubishi and all the model and variants available so when I can I am more than happy to share any information that I may know.
What keeps you going; keeps you motivated to pick up your wrenches?
I guess picturing the goal that would be achieved at the end, but I enjoy the art of pulling things apart and subsequently putting it back together again.
What’s next for your Mitsubishi?
Essentially some more maintenance to tidy up a few areas (ie the hood has stone chips across it and interior carpet and mats could do with being replaced) and address the remainder of the small mechanical faults like a noisy rear diff and sloppy gear shifter.
Who has helped you the most along the way with the car? Any mentors?
Definitely my father, who initially got me into cars and Mitsubishis, although he wasn’t very mechanically minded, he still shared a great passion of car ownership and all the Mitsubishi models which has rubbed off onto me. A few other guys have helped me out along the way, would like to shout out to Bart of mivec.co.nz who happily helped me out when I first moved to town, and my local mechanics Shaun of Elders Garage and Brett at Don Campbell Motors who have helped me out when I couldn’t quite tackle the work myself.
What areas of vehicle ownership are most interesting to you?
Being able to show off a vehicle which generally represents you and your personality, and being proud to own such an example.
Is there a particular shop you’d like to recommend?
Garfield Wright from tunersnation.com, he’s been supporting Galant VR4.org and deserves a free plug!
So there you have it. For 2010, all the Mitsubishi Evolutions I to X plus 1, the “Zero.” Big thanks to Phil for sharing such a clean ride with us all.
What about you?
- How do you like the way our Evolutions series turned out?
- Which Evos did we miss this year?