Remember the good times; instead of wish we could times.
WHY is everyone so up in arms about the death of the Evo? Truly, the Evo died six years ago, when the last 4G63-powered Evo IX rolled off the assembly line at Mizushima. The Evo X, for all its rally-inspired finery, has more in common with a Galant VR4 (to the extent it’s been built on the Galant platform since 2005), and many of us only got those for a few years before they were deemed too fat/heavy to be competitive.
IS IT BECAUSE we’ve lost confidence in our ability to turn our own wrenches, keeping our cars on the road in the absence of a factory warranty (which, generally speaking, we voided as a matter of principle)? This author’s two GVR4s are 19 and 20 years old, respectively, and he’s not afraid. How many more Evo-inspired Mitsubishis are still up to their usual shenanigans, making owners of vehicles costing two and three times the price second guess their their decisions?
IS IT BECAUSE we identify with and believe in Mitsubishi, thinking they’re doomed (and we, in turn)? Maybe other manufacturers buy and sell subsidiaries left and right, but Mitsubishi plays their cards close. They still build cars, trucks (some of the best), trains, airplanes, air conditioners, televisions, lasers, and nuclear power plants. They have their own bank (which didn’t get bailed out, and actually contributed $9B toward the bailout of Morgan Stanley, by the way), as well as mining operations which support the automotive industry as a whole.
IS IT BECAUSE we don’t want to admit we’re all going to be driving hybrids/EVs or taking the bus in the not too distant future, turning a blind eye to the ridiculously-escalating price of gas? “Oh,” you say, “Another Toyota, Honda, or Nissan.” Aside from the Nissan Z, what sporty cars have any of them made recently? The R35 Skyline (MSRP $80K+)? The Lexus LFA (MSRP $375K+)?
Gone are the Type R, DC5, NSX, Silvia, and Supra. And how long since the Civic Si, Celica, or even RX-8 have been truly relevant? Seriously. Let’s rub a little salt in our wounds for a moment and consider the MX-5 Miata is probably the last uncompromising sports car within reach of those without trust funds. Oh sure, the Corvette, Camaro, and Mustang solider on, but at what cost? And how many badge-engineered fleet turds subsidize their very existence?
MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE we’re gearheads, and we’re sad to learn of yet another fun-to-drive model being relegated to the history books. In truth, the death of the Evo hurts because it reminds us we exist on the fringes of automotive irrelevance ourselves; it stands as the last bastion of unbridled performance available to the everyman.
We are the scrappy underdogs for whom the potential to build a world class giant killer with our own two hands has just been diminished. If we could spend upwards of $50K on a sport sedan, we’d all be driving M3s and S4s (and we know it). With the passing of the Evo, our options will be further limited.
THIS IS NOT a day to resign ourselves to cookie-cutter, hybrid-driving mediocrity, or to farty-sounding Subarus (just kidding, you know we love you guys), but to remember, fondly, the Evolution which symbolizes who we are and that for which we stand. We are gearheads. Form follows function; luxury and refinement should take a backseat to acceleration and lateral grip. Cars should be designed for drivers, mindless consumer cattle operators and their coddling, ancillary convenience features be damned.
THE EVO played a significant role in making many us who we are today, but we will not fade away with this model. We will not go quietly into that good night. We will continue to see the value in continuous incremental improvement over the status quo – to evolve – as Mitusbishi did – and will continue to do – no matter the platforms in our future. We are gearheads.
Go fast with class.