Mitsubishi Evo Making Its Final Lap

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR TouringIt is with a heavy heart that I must report that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X’s production run is about to come to an end, with planned replacement. Our friends at Autoblog reported today that while no official end date has been named, Mitsubishi said the end is coming. This news is bittersweet for us North Americans, who for years jealously watched the Evo, well, evolve as a technological tour de force on the international rally circuit-especially those of us in Canada and New England where rallying actually has an audience. We begged for this car, and enthusiasts rejoiced when Mitsubishi finally green-lighted the car for these shores.

And what we got was an awesome, but also flawed car. Performance was, simply put, exceptional. The handling was unbelievable. By that, I mean one of the best handling cars I have ever driven. The steering? Kinetic. Instant. Brake feel also ranks as one of the best out there. Needless to say, acceleration and the sound from the engine room all conspired for what amounted to a tremendous amount of fun. The perfectly sized steering wheel, aluminum pedals and super supportive Recaro seats were a delight to sit on, see and touch, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the Evo’s metal shift paddles were the best I have seen in a production car. Even if I wasn’t in manual mode, I’d find myself touching them. Ok, I admit, that makes me sound a little weird, but sit in an Evo and you will understand.

Yes, the car came from econobox beginnings, and looking around the interior, the hard plastics and bland design served as constant reminders. Trunk space was pathetic, and positively inexcusable for a modern compact car. Terrible fuel economy and a tiny fuel tank make for frequent trips to the pump. Have you seen the TV commercial of the guy who walks into a gas station/convenience store to the song ‘Where Everybody Knows Your Name’ from ‘Cheers’? The ad is for a Chevy Cruze diesel, but I am guessing the song is for the local Evo owner.

But once you slip into that Recaro seat, you forgive the Evo of all its sins, because driving it is just that good. I drive a new car every week, but still, my one drive in an Evo on Connecticut’s Route 66 stands out as one of my favorite drives in years. Sure, my wife and son enjoyed the gorgeous scenery of rural Connecticut and the tunes from XMSirius satellite radio, but the fun I was having behind the wheel is immeasurable. The Evo is one of those rare cars that just begs to be driven. A car where you look for an excuse to leave the house, and always wanting to take the long way home.

With the loss of the Evo, our automotive world will be a little less fun. But, the car business is cut throat, and Mitsubishi is a minnow here in a shark tank. Yes, the Evo was an enthusiast favorite and served as the brand’s halo car, but the reality is Mitsubishi is making more money selling crossovers, and wants to allocate more of their resources to EV’s. The bottom line was, as harsh as it may sound, the Evo stopped making sense for Mitsubishi. The company pulled out of the World Rally Championship years ago. Subaru is introducing an all new WRX, and Mitsubishi simply has no answer. When the last generation WRX went on sale as a softer version of itself, and in hatchback form only, I found a college friend of mine traded his old WRX in for an EVO. When I asked him why, he said he was disappointed Subaru no longer offered the WRX as a four door sedan. So he just bought an Evo instead. And before you give me the ‘Oh, Americans always prefer sedans’ stereotype, I’ll have you know he’s British. When he told me of this, and knowing the WRX had sort of gone soft, I wondered if Mitsubishi would capitalize on this. Then I recalled that I once sat in his dorm room while he chomped on dried seaweed, so my friend may fit in a peculiar demographic. Subaru heard the outcries from their fans, and quickly addressed them. They made the WRX more intense, and finally delivered a four door version. And for us, the new WRX is our our own rally monster car available to us once the Evo vanishes from dealer lots. It was a hell of a ride, but I swear I will never forget my Evo trip on Route 66. And that is what makes a car great. Thank you, Mitsubishi, for giving us a taste.

2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR Touring

 

Watch Don Garlits cackle a Hemi inside the shop

bigdaddy

As a young kid, life in my house revolved around sports car racing, which sort of explains my passion for racing, but it also kept me away from the Hot Rod scene. Of course I loved the cars, any cars, so I was glued to the TV for any sort of racing that might be on. There was lots of drag racing on the tube in the Seventies, so I came to know and love names like Garlits, Prudhomme and Muldowney. I came, like many other fans, to regard Big Daddy as the most important figure in drag racing. A living legend.

Last Summer, I had the chance to speak with Garlits by email leading up to a visit to his shop and museum in Ocala, Florida. Don wasn’t going to be there, but he hooked me up with his assistant, Chris Bumpus, who was going to give me a tour of the corner of the museum that most visitors don’t get to see: Garlits’ race shop.
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Watch a runaway dump truck flatten one Corolla and bury another

Crash0-1

The Winter Olympics may have wrapped up weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean that the Russian city of Sochi can’t keep supplying us with entertainment.

A security camera in Sochi caught this runaway dump truck full of gravel as it hurtled down a steep hill and swerving to its right before tipping over on its side. On top of an older model Corolla. As the truck flips, it spills its load onto another, newer ‘Rolla. The first car is flattened like a pancake, while the second is buried.

It is absolutely amazing that nobody was hurt in this.

Source: YouTube via Carscoops

Race cars, Le Mans and Captain Picard = A Winner!

journey

I’m not sure exactly how I missed this video when it was released a couple of months ago, but it has all the makings of a winner.

The upcoming movie Journey to Le Mans follows British privateer team Jota Sport as they prepare for the ultimate challenge in auto racing: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Narrated by non-other than Sir Patrick Stewart, himself a racing enthusiast, the dramatic trailer does its best to excite the viewer about the team’s efforts to conquer the legendary race.

As slick as it is, personally I would love to see some behind the scenes action and interviews but I would expect we’ll see that stuff in the movie.

Source: YouTube

How do I steer this thing?

wheel off

I’m sure karma is going to bite me in the ass one day for this, but I can never get enough of videos of a driver with a steering wheel in his hands, rather than attached to the steering column as was intended.

This time, the video comes from Brian Ghidinelli in his Spec Miata racer at Road Atlanta. It was Brian’s first time visiting the track, and his first practice session for the 2014 SCCA Majors race. Fortunately, the driver was able to snap the quick release back in place before he had to repair anything other than his soiled drawers.

Source: Youtube via GRM on Facebook

Watch a 61 car pile-up unfold in real time

crash

Thanks to Hollywood, most people think a car crash creates a glorious, explosive noise coupled with fireballs and flying objects. In reality, it is typically more of a dull thwack, as metal and plastic crumple sections do their job. It is actually a rather sickening sound once you have heard it a few times in real life. You are about to hear it a bunch of times.

Yesterday afternoon an icy Hwy. 55 in Minnesota, became the scene of a 61 car pile-up, as car after car slammed into the stopped vehicles in their path. The incident began when a tractor trailer jack-knifed and blocked the road. One of the early “arrivals” got out of his car and started shooting video with his phone before trying to help out fellow motorists. Typically it is safer to remain in your car, but in this case there was a wide sidewalk behind a barrier and our camera guy helps people over the barrier before running up the road to attempt to slow traffic down.
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/MOMO SlowMo from Sebring

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Just because race organizers didn’t have their crap together at Sebring doesn’t mean that the event was devoid of great content. Quite the opposite, as my buddies at /DRIVE were on hand shooting their unique style of awesomeness for those of us who weren’t able to attend.

There are fewer things cooler than super high frame rate video of racing cars at full chat, showed right down so the viewer can see the the tires and suspension moving and body panels flexing. This is the second installment of /DRIVE’s newest feature: MOMO SlowMo.

CRUSH

CRUSH

I might be able to press the shutter release and string together a few sentences, but I can’t create any sort of graphic content to save my life. Even an attempt at drawing a VW Beetle ends up looking more like a deformed turtle, so you might say that I am somewhat in awe of people who can draw. Even more so who can bring their images to life.

For his final project of the 3D Animation and Visual Effects program in Vancouver Film School, Malek Rizkallah turned to the crash test dummy to showcase his creativity. When an unexpected spark between two dummies occurs, Rizkallah brings life to the inanimate beings who then play out a short love affair that is fitting for a crash test.

It’s a shame they weren’t wearing seatbelts, or the VW Scirocco might have saved them.

Ice Racing in Ontario

ice

I know that all of us are waiting for Winter to finally go away, but the folks at Mobil 1 have just released this short that is a bit of a primer on ice racing. The sport is good fun, even if it is crazy cold in Ontario cottage country. Now that the season is over, it might be a good time to pick up a slightly used ice racer for a couple of hundred bucks and start beating panels ahead of next Winter.

Impatient Camaro driver clips oncoming Volvo

camaro

A number of years ago, I remember reading a Q & A with then Sgt. Cam Woolley, when someone asked when it was ok to pass on a rural road. The not so obvious answer was that on a single yellow line, one can pass provided it is safe to do so. Then there were the obvious dotted line discussions and the fact that you may never, ever pass on a double yellow line. Common sense that one.

When that double yellow is on a twisty canyon road, it shouldn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that you should stay in your own lane, even if there is a local turtle ahead of you. Last weekend in California, a current generation Chevy Camaro driver felt that the law and common sense didn’t apply to him. #becausecamara ya know.

Reddit user humanwire was out for a drive and had a couple of cameras on board.

Went out this Saturday to hit up my favorite canyon road with some friends, but it ended up being closed once we got there. Hesitantly, we decided to give a Malibu canyon road (Decker Canyon, aka Route 23) a try on the way back, so the whole day wasn’t a complete waste.
I was quickly reminded why I don’t like driving on Malibu canyon roads, and why I head out much further away from Los Angeles for some frisky driving.
A group of three cars came barreling up behind us; a black Comaro, a red Mazdaspeed 3, and a black M3, unable to wait a second for a turnout.

Completely ruined the fun mood of the trip, and my friends and I turned around almost immediately so we wouldn’t be associated with that group. Wouldn’t want a CHP call to go out including us with that group.
Too many dickhead drivers. Too much traffic. Too many police patrols. Less than stellar roads (not all of them).

Pony car boy gets fed up with idling along behind a slowpoke in a Ford Explorer, and decides to pull out and pass, on a blind corner. He actually clips a Volvo that was headed in the opposite direction. Things could have very easily been a deadly incident, so everyone involved were very lucky.

Here’s to hoping that the local police get hold of this and track the moron down.

Source: YouTube via Reddit