Though the last Lancer Evolution came out about six years ago, the Mitsubishi AWD rally icon built up a massive fanbase over the years. That’s especially impressive considering the first few models weren’t even sold in the US. As a result, these cars tend to hold their value fairly well. But, as the 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII currently listed on Bring a Trailer shows, bargains do occasionally pop up.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII finally brought the rally nameplate to the US
Back in the late ‘80s, Mitsubishi needed to find a smaller replacement for its Galant VR-4 rally car. The solution was to take its hardware, tweak it somewhat, and install it in the body of a Lancer, Car and Driver explains. The result was the 1992 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution I.
Over the years, the Japanese automaker increased the car’s power, added electronics to the AWD system, and sharpened the handling, Road & Track reports. As a result, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution won the WRC title back-to-back in the 1996-1999 period, Hagerty reports. However, it wasn’t until the 2003 Lancer Evolution VIII arrived that US fans finally got to get their hands on it. But the wait was worth it.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 271 hp and 273 lb-ft, Automobile reports. And it’s linked to a 5-speed manual and a standard AWD system with a limited-slip rear differential. Although the output doesn’t seem high today, the Lancer Evolution VIII goes 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, R&T reports.
By 2005, Mitsubishi boosted the Lancer Evolution VIII’s engine to 276 hp and 286 lb-ft, Car and Driver reports. It also offered the car in three different trims: base, stripped-down RS, and range-topping MR, MotorTrend reports. The MR has BBS wheels, an aluminum roof, a 6-speed manual, functional vortex generators, Bilstein shocks, and a front limited-slip differential, R&T reports. It also has an active center differential with multiple drive settings.
However, the base model still came standard with Brembo brakes and Recaro seats, MT reports. And even without the trick center differential, the Evo VIII is “’ [a] boatload of fun,’” MT reports. True, there’s turbo lag, and the interior is rather cheap. But once you get moving, it sounds and handles “like a rally car,” Jalopnik reports. The grip is immense, the steering and handling are sharp, and the shifter’s throws are short, Automobile reports.
The 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII on Bring a Trailer
Currently listed on Bring a Trailer is a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII. It’s not an MR model, but it does have the active center differential and the optional carbon-fiber rear wing. This car also has a Momo steering wheel and keyless entry.
Admittedly, this 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII isn’t perfect. The exterior has some dings and scratches, the hood has been repaired and repainted, and the passenger side was refinished in 2018. Plus, Bring a Trailer notes that the radio antenna needs to be replaced, as do the Brembo brake pads and rotors. The seller also notes that the timing belt, a key maintenance item, needs replacement as well. And the interior has a few scrapes, too.
However, this Lancer Evo VIII only has about 116,000 miles on the clock. And the current owner—or rather, the only owner—recently replaced the headlights, the radiator, and the flywheel. Also, apart from an EXEDY clutch, it’s basically stock. Plus, it has no accidents in its history. And it comes with a spare set of factory wheels and extensive service records.
What makes this car a bargain?
As of this writing, this 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII is listed on Bring a Trailer at $19,000 with three days left in the auction. True, it’s not a pristine example. However, the average price for a Lancer Evo on Bring a Trailer is closer to $25,000.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIIIs are getting harder to find in stock condition. And while there are a few maintenance items, these cars are more reliable than you may think. You just need to change the timing belt, oil, and various powertrain fluids regularly, EnginesWork reports. And as long as the owner followed the break-in schedule—which appears to be the case—oil consumption isn’t an issue, Car and Driver reports.
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