I’ve been sitting on this piece of news for a couple weeks, figuring that when my parents found out they will surely disapprove. But in the absence of anything else more exciting to talk about here it is: last Tuesday (i.e. the day before California’s car registration rate tripled) I traded in my Eclipse for my dream car, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII.
Reaching 60 mph in around 4.8 seconds and handling like almost no other car—certainly none in its price class—I’ve been eyeing this car for almost a year now, since initial rumours of its coming to North America. Though priced about the same as my 2001 Eclipse GT, it’s a huge performance upgrade over the latter. Whereas the Eclipse was (in my view) a decidedly “prettier” car, it was mostly beauty with little mustle to back it up. The Evo is somewhat opposite, looking like a modified economy car with only the vent in the hood, huge carbon fiber wing, and (to closer observers) large front intercooler to hint at the 271 turbocharged horses it packs under the hood.
From a practical standpoint it’s also a much better car, with four doors and real-sized rear seats for passengers, a bigger trunk, and much better visibility for parking and maneuvering in traffic. (Backing up in my Eclipse was always something of an adventure, as the low seating, high tail, spoiler and two wide rear columns made rear visibility less than ideal.) One amusing fact is that my insurance actually went down by a dollar… and more after I had the LoJack installed.
For the past couple weeks I’ve been driving the “Evo” (as it’s called by car enthusiasts) extra to run up miles and finish the break-in period (a thousand miles), so that I could race it at autocross this weekend. For example, I took a scenic drive down Highway 1 and snapped a few photos while I was there:
By driving to and from the dealer (in Hayward, about 30 miles north) a few times, over the San Francisco Bay Bridge and back, and taking the “extra long” way to and from work every day (eleven miles over two freeways, instead of the usual two) I managed to accomplish my goal, putting it over a thousand miles yesterday morning, whereupon I changed the oil (a rather messy affair that required a half-roll of paper towels to clean up) and adjusted the tire pressure.
The first few days driving the car were something of an adventure, as I was still learning how to drive a manual transmission and stalled and bucked the car numerous times. In fact, in attempting to roll the car out of the dealership I stalled it three times. My friend and “backup driver” Jason finally noticed that this was because I was in third gear; after switching to first things went much better.
I took the car to autocross for the first time today and though my results were less than spectacular, it was a lot of fun to really push the Evo to its limits. (Clearly the results indicated that I was far from “car-limited”.) Here’s a photo of me posing with my car and my masking-tape lettering; “ASN” stands for “A-Stock, Novice” though one of my friends quipped that it stood for “asian”.
Once again the Evo demonstrated its practical aspect, as we were able to use the spoiler as an improvised picnic table:
Obviously buying a new car every couple years is a rather expensive habit so it may come as a relief (to my parents, and myself as well) that I’ll likely be sticking with the Evo for quite a while longer… The reason being that a car that can significantly outperform it would have a pricetag likely running into six digits (say, a high-end Porsche or Ferrarri) and therefore wouldn’t be something I would consider unless my stock options suddenly took off vertically. Well, one can dream but at least with my Evo, I can live a bit of that dream.