With all-wheel-drive from the factory and an available 405 horsepower, 2.0L turbocharged engine, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII was by no means a slouch in a straight line. In fact, the cars would go 0-60 in 3.8-seconds and had a top speed of 155 mph. But the Lancer Evo is known more as a road course and rally car than one designed for acceleration contests.
But European gearhead and racer Przemysław Komar made certain he established the Evo VIII as a viable drag-car, by transforming the Mitsubishi sedan into a red-white-and-blue General Motors-powered behemoth.
Komar’s Evo now sports power from a twin-turbocharged, 427 cubic-inch LSX bullet that produces upwards of 2,000 horsepower — enough to push it close the 7-second zone on some less-than-adequate racing surfaces.
This was a low 9-second car with original 4g63 engine but the drivetrain and engine were unreliable. The idea behind installing the American V8 and drivetrain was to create something unique but also to have something more reliable. We also kept it all-wheel-drive because in this part of Europe there are no dragstrips, only un-prepped asphalt runways, so 4×4 always was the preferred direction.”
The 427 is based upon a Dart LS next block fitted with a Callies crankshaft, Oliver racing rods, Diamond pistons, and a BTR camshaft, and sports Mast cylinder heads, a Holley Hi-ram intake, and twin BorgWarner S400SX-E turbos with an air-water intercooler.
A Rossler Turbo 400 is mated to a Neal Chance converter to transfer the power; a Syclone transfer case converts all that rotational force to the front axles. Out back is a GM 12-bolt rearend with Moser Engineering axles and spool.
“Mating a Syclone transfer case to TH400 required some custom made CNC parts,” said team member Jan Niemcewicz. “The last two years car went through a complete rebuild…it lost some weight, the engine is completely new and it went from single to twin-turbos, the cooling system was moved to the back, some things in the drivetrain changed and all the electronics were redone.
The car has been 8.047-seconds at 174.03 with the previous smaller engine in the 2,866-pound car — the all-new 427 setup, estimated to produce 1,800-2,000 horsepower, will hit the dyno in the coming weeks and then will debut on the racetrack.
“There were no unexpected challenges — the car was originally built by VTG (where I worked as an engineer) and we already had a 4×4 7-second C3 Corvette and a 4×4 low 8-second Camaro, so we took the same approach but this time we used more modern LSX platform instead of SBC,” Niemcewicz explains. “The car was back-halved — the rear part of the floor was cut out and a complete 4-link system with a frame from Competition Engineering was welded in. The floor was modified to accommodate a big transmission. To our surprise the engine fit quite well in the engine bay.”
“The two weakest parts in the drivetrain are the front output shaft in the transfer case and front differential — we managed to explode both things but they are stock parts,” Niemcewicz says. “They can handle a lot of abuse but 1.5 bar at 7,000 RPM launch was not a good idea. The stock front CV’s from a truck and outer from an Evo were never replaced and they have no problem with 4×4 burnouts. So the drivetrain is plenty strong, but you have to remember not to make mistakes that put all the power to it (like wet rear tires).”
The transfer case has a welded center differential but Niemcewicz says the original viscous coupling worked fine. The rearend has a spool, and the front differential is a stock open-style with an axle disconnect which allows Komar to do RWD burnouts.