It was always going to happen. The rally icons tearing up gravel roads across the world while the PlayStation generation were racing those very same cars in the digital world are now selling for enormous sums. That tangible homologation link between successful rally cars and brilliant road cars almost guaranteed it.
It's those Japanese cars that seem to have built up the cult-like following among millennial enthusiasts. That’s probably because Japanese carmakers actually put a fair bit of effort into transferring rally know-how into road cars, giving rise to the all-weather performance car in the late 1990s. Throw in scarcity and newfound disposable income for Generation Y – though a cost of living crisis will likely see to that – and it’s no wonder why values for these rally machines have skyrocketed. Just look at the Impreza 22B, a car of relatively humble origins that’ll now commanding six-figure sums – and then some.
Strange, then, that the Mitsubishi Tommi Makinen Edition cars haven’t quite reached those lofty heights. Not yet, anyway. Sure, the 22B came with a bespoke engine and rally looks, but the TME was comfortably the fastest Mitsubishi Evo on the planet when it launched back in 2000, the same of which can’t be said for the 22B and the Impreza WRX line-up. Of course, it helped that Mitsubishi’s rally cars weren’t all that different to its road cars, given that it competed under the production-based Group A regulations long after its competitors had moved over to the newer WR ruleset, which gave manufacturers a lot more freedom over chassis and engines. Just goes to show how impressive Makinen’s run of form was.
When the TME came along, it was about as close as you could get to Makinen’s championship winning car from the 1999 season. While power was unchanged over the regular Evo VI at 280hp, a titanium turbine helped spool the turbocharger up much more quickly. It also gained a front struct brace and a drop in right height by 10mm, all helping turn the already rapid Evo VI into a more focused machine. But we though it still felt like a rally car at heart when we drove one back in 2020. The suspension isn’t nearly as stiff as you’d expect from a thoroughbred performance car, with the TME instead following the flow of the road while keep the body under control in the twisty stuff.
And just look at it. The VI was arguably Mitsubishi’s wildest looking Evo, with the TME refining the formula by ditching the blob-like fog lights for a meaner, more angular front bumper and 17-inch Enkei wheels finished in white. Red was offered exclusively on the TME, with a black and silver side stripe to mimic the rally cars, though you could choose one of the standard colours – like the car we have here - if you wanted to tone the mad styling down a touch. Besides, you still get red-on-black Recaro seats with the Tommi Makinen Edition name embroidered below the headrest, Ralliart-branded instruments and a built number above the base of the gear lever.
A hardcore RS version was also sold with full rally-spec suspension, an LSD rather than Active Yaw Control, a very basic interior and steel wheels over the Enkei rims. But this GSR is the one to go for, creature comforts and all, as the RS models were essentially built for motorsport outfits that could easily convert them to rally spec on the cheap. And while 22Bs have been changing hands for nearly £200,000 of late, this 64,000-mile TME can be yours for just £79,500. Granted, a regular Evo VI can be had at a third of that, but it’ll be a price worth paying for what many consider to be the ultimate Lancer Evo. Who knows how long it'll be before the TME goes the way of the 22B, anyway?
SPECIFICATION | MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO VI TOMMI MAKINEN EDITION
Engine: 1,997cc four-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 280@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 275@2,750rpm
Year registered: 2000
Recorded mileage: 64,000
Price new: £32,995
Yours for: £79,500
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