For almost as long as we've had Japanese cars in the UK, so the really exciting ones have stayed for their domestic market. Think two-door Imprezas, certain Type R Hondas, the best Mazda RX-7s and so on. Mitsubishi was a particularly notable culprit, only introducing the Lancer Evo over here officially in its sixth generation - with the Impreza Turbo having already been on sale for several years. And we all know what happened when Evos did go sale - everybody wanted one.
Barely a month went by without another power increase or evolution of the Evolution, each more thrilling than the last for a few wonderful years. But even then, Mitsubishi was keeping something back. The RS Evos were kept out of the official imports, the logic being that they existed mostly as the base for motorsport builds (hence Rally Sport) - although it's easy to imagine demand existing for a stripped-out Evo in the UK. Look how popular Atoms, Caterhams and Lotuses without windscreens are; we're hardy enough for an Evo without air-con.
It turns out however that there was an RS Evo supplied through official UK channels, and this is one of them. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X RS JRM 360 is extremely rare even by the standards of limited run Evos, with just 11 believed to have been made, and promises a memorable driving experience that never quite materialised in the regular versions of the final Evo. Information is hard to come by, but it seems JRM - a name you might remember from the BP23 GT-R - obtained official UK allocated RSes for road car builds. JRM had plenty of Evo experience, including building rally cars from RS imports, and therefore were perfectly placed for this project.
In RS spec, the Evo X was extreme, with pretty much every bit of interior equipment binned; JRM's work included the FQ-360 ECU upgrade, bucket seats, harnesses and an optional half cage. It's rather easy to imagine the result being wild - the selling dealer believes it'll hit 60mph in less than four seconds. And given the nature of both the RS and JRM's work, you'd think most Evo drivers would be satisfied. But this one has been modified further over the past decade, including more JRM bits, with in the region of 400hp, Ohlins dampers, some carbon bits and even a bit of soundproofing - so you know it must've been extreme!
Now it presents as an intriguing bit of Evo history, with just 14,000 miles under its wheels and one of the strangest interiors you've ever seen, with two buckets, harnesses, a half cage and then a rear bench from a minicab. Note how basic it is up front, too; just seeing a manual gearbox in an Evo X is rare enough given the SST's popularity, leave alone an interior quite so rudimentary. It's old school Lancer rawness in the newer Evo body, which makes it more interesting than most.
This Mitsubishi has previously been owned by the sales director of the selling dealership, which is always a good sign; an Evo enthusiast who had been through VI-IX and wanted the best X, the RS was the car for him. Now it's on offer to another die-hard Evo fan - because an RS is really only for the most committed - at £35,995. This one is hard one to value given the rarity and low mileage; there are regular Evo Xs around for little more than £20k, although they won't thrill like this one. Similarly, an older Evo RS could cost £10k more - and will they be £10k better? Whoever's courageous enough looks to be in for an epic Evo experience, with some cool history as well. Just good luck trying to explain what it actually is...
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