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Welcome to the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8 and 9 Car Bible. This focuses specifically on the CT9A Lancer Evo, made from 2003 to 2006. As you scroll down you’ll learn all about this vehicle’s qualities, features, finer points, and shortcomings. If you’re thinking about buying one of these, want some help maintaining or modifying one, or just want to deepen your knowledge for the next round of car trivia, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a living document that’s updated as we learn (and confirm) new valuable info. Got something to add? Drop a comment or send us an email. Don’t be shy; the more dialogue we have, the better this Car Bible will get.

–Andrew P. Collins, Car Bibles Editor-In-Chief

(Disclaimers, Disclosures: Some Car Bibles will have links to specific forums, groups, brands, shops, or vendors for parts shopping and such. We have no sponsorship deals or official affiliation with any of them unless explicitly stated. We also have to explicitly state that you should work on your own car and follow our advice at your own risk.)

Contents

There’s a lot of information packed into this Bible. If you’re looking for something specific, hit command/control-F, type one of these terms, and your browser should bring you straight in. If you’re on a phone, tap the share button near the URL of this page and you’ll find a “search on this page” option there.

  1. The Short Story
  2. Pictures
  3. Fast Facts
  4. Spotter’s Guide
  5. Rarity
  6. Check This Car Out If …
  7. Important Trim Levels and Options
  8. Year-To-Year Changes
  9. General Reliability and Ownership Costs
  10. Obscure Details
  11. Red Flags and Known Issues
  12. Recalls
  13. Where To Buy Parts
  14. Aftermarket Support
  15. Popular Modifications
  16. Key Technical Details
  17. Fluids, Filters, and Capacities
  18. Factory Service Manuals
  19. Other References and Resources
  20. Professional Reviews
  21. Owner Reviews
  22. What They’re Worth Now
  23. Where To Find One For Sale
  24. What To Ask a Seller
  25. Competitors To Consider
  26. Photo Galleries
  27. Pop Culture References
  28. Enthusiast Inquiries
  29. Downloadable Paperback Car Bible
  30. Comments Disclaimer

The Short Story

We all know about the Lancer Evolution. Shortened to Evo over time, it’s one of the absolute icons of world rally, of street tuners, and a generation of gamers who grew up idolizing cars. It is a bonafide legend alongside the R34 Nissan Skyline, the FD Mazda RX-7, the A80 Toyota Supra. Perhaps, the most famous are the Lancer Evolution VIII and IX. 

It’s a real-life car superhero, born from the demands of World Rally. True, full-time, mechanical, all-wheel drive paired with a light, rigid chassis and a high-strung (and legendary) 4G63 twin-cam turbocharged engine, the Evo was destined to be a superlative machine. Best of all is that the Evo has a purity of purpose. It’s buzzy, loud, somewhat annoying, but intensely sharp, tossable, and talented — a back-road destroying machine. Nothing else drives like an Evo, but many have tried.

The legends are true. The Evo is the true daddy of the world rally-bred twins, beating the WRX STI soundly. You could contend that it has the best dynamics and platform of any of the aforementioned Japanese legends. That is the story of the Evo, ever mystical and always a towering edifice of Japanese performance cars. 

Pictures

If you’re looking for more images, scroll on down to the Photo Galleries links toward the end of the Car Bible. But here are a few to get you excited.

Fast Facts

The U.S.-market Evo did not get active yaw control (AYC) until the 2008 Evolution X. Mitsubishi justified this as a cost-cutting measure, maintaining that skilled drivers don’t need it to go faster.

Instead, the 2005 Evo 8 in the U.S. introduced Active Center Differential (ACD) that can vary the lock rate of the center differential. 

No matter what, the stock torque split of the Evo 8 and 9 is 50:50, even with ACD. ACD only varies the lock rate of the center differential, not the torque split.

Mitsubishi sold an ultra-lightweight and stripped version of the Evo called RS, without sound deadening or a radio, no power amenities, and no ABS for a weight savings of 80 pounds. They also included some performance upgrades like a front helical limited-slip diff and aluminum roof before other trims, at least until 2005.

The first U.S.-market Evos were sold in 2003, one year after the Subaru WRX, somewhat spurred on by the success of the WRX.

The highest trim level called MR stood for Mitsubishi Racing and was comprehensively upgraded compared to lower trims, with minutiae like a reprofiled turbo inlet and larger oil cooler core being the tip of that particular iceberg.

The Evo 7, 8, and 9 all share a chassis code: CT9A. The U.S. did not get the Evo 7.

You may see the similar chassis code CT9W referenced at times. This was for the Evo wagon that never came to the U.S.

All Evo 8 and 9 RS and MR models had aluminum hoods, fenders, and door beams. Aluminum roof panels came on 2005-and-later RS and MR. The GSR model had a steel roof.

Spotter’s Guide 

The Evo is iconic and pretty easily recognizable by any enthusiast. The car is still based on a generic three-box sedan shape, but with in-your-face appendages and aero for most models. This can make it difficult for people new to the car scene or non-car people at all to recognize an Evo from a distance. It can be easily mistaken for just some modified car.

All Evo 8s and 9s do have distinct sheet metal compared to the regular Lancer. Box flares, wider rectangular headlights with projectors, a hood vent, large intakes in the bumper along with two distinct mustache-like vents in the middle of the bumper where the crash bar would be. The Evo RS deleted the distinct rear wing; all other models kept it. Evo MRs got the vortex generators standard, a series of small winglets along the roof above the rear window, which were optional dealer accessories on other models.

Large four-piston Brembo front brake calipers peek out from behind a few different Enkei wheels, while the MR got BBS wheels finished in dark gunmetal.

The Evo 8 and 9 have some distinct visual differences, the easiest ones are the front bumper, wheels, and taillights. The Evo 8 RS and GSR have six-spoke flat-face Enkei wheels, while the Evo 9 RS and GSR got five-spoke split-spoke Enkei wheels. All Evo 8 and 9 MRs got the dark-gunmetal BBS wheels. On the front bumper, the Evo 8 has smaller intake openings with more gentle curves, while the Evo 9 has larger intakes with more square openings and distinct circular holes on either side of the center intake, almost like fog-light holes. Evo 8s had Altezza-style chrome clear taillights, while the Evo 9 had a black housing instead.

Inside, all Evos come with Recaro seats as standard, and all have manual transmissions. Some are five-speed, some are six-speed. The 2005-and-later Evo gauge cluster has three dots in the tach for the ACD terrain select, and all Evos have a 9,000-rpm tachometer. Beyond that, it’s a normal Lancer interior.

Rarity

Rare but very valuable. These cars haven’t lost a dime of value if kept well or even just kept clean. You’ll usually be able to find a few Evo 8s and 9s for sale but for a pretty steep price considering the contemporary Subaru WRX STI. The Evo is arguably the rarer, more desirable, and better-handling car. 

It’s an achievable dream car, but as time goes on, unmolested Evos will only become harder to find.

Check This Car Out if …

All you care about is performance and tunability, with no regard for refinement or luxury, and want the sharpest, highest-performance car you can buy.

Important Trim Levels and Options

U.S.-market Evos came in three trim levels: RS, GSR, MR. The GSR is mostly referred to as simply Evolution VIII or Evolution IX as a de-facto base model with power windows, locks, the sort of standard equipment in any car, and a five-speed manual gearbox. The RS is the stripped out, mod-ready trim, with no power equipment, unpainted door handles, mirrors, no radio, no rear wing, no ABS, and deleted intermittent wipers, but still had air conditioning for the U.S. market. The MR is the highest trim level possible, available after 2005. It came with the six-speed manual gearbox, BBS wheels, Bilstein dampers, hollow carbon-fiber spoiler, and roof vortex generators.

Evolution GSR models were available with the optional Sun Sound Leather package: leather Recaro seats, a sunroof, and an upgraded Infinity seven-speaker 315W stereo with a subwoofer in the trunk. It’s desirable or a detriment, depending on what you’re looking for.

In 2003, no Evo 8s received the helical front limited-slip differential, and the ACD system didn’t get introduced until 2005. For 2004, the RS received the helical front diff. In 2005, all models got the helical front diff as standard and received ACD.

Which gearbox is better? It’s a hot topic of debate amongst Evo owners, and the consensus seems to be the Evo 7-based five-speed gearbox, citing superior strength and good gear ratios. The six-speed is almost avoided in the community for a perceived reduction in durability. I’d wager that both gearboxes are just fine. 

The best Evos are post-2005 models with the helical diff and ACD, and the coolest ones are Evo 9 RS models. Evo 9s got a larger turbo hot side and MIVEC variable valve timing for some extra power and tunability. You’ll be paying a lot more for one, though. Generally speaking, the differences across the trims are minute. This car is a model/year game, and you modify your way up from there.

Year-to-Year Changes

These changes reflect the U.S. market.

2003 model year:

  • Car debuts sans helical limited-slip differential
  • Launch trim: GSR (sometimes called Evolution VIII)
  • Sunroof- and wing-delete optional

The launch colors need their own little section, here:

  • Exterior colors: Weightless White, Apex Silver, Lightning Yellow, Rally Red, Blue By You, Tarmac Black
  • Interior colors: Recaro Sport Fabric

2004 model year:

  • RS trim added with front helical limited slip, rear aluminum cross bar, aluminum roof
  • Wing made standard for GSR
  • Cabin air filter added
  • Intercooler spray deleted
  • SSL package added, includes Infinity seven-speaker 315W stereo, sunroof, and leather seats
  • Diamond White and Thunder Grey added
  • Recaro black leather interior added as part of SSL package

2005 model year:

  • MR trim added with BBS wheels, six-speed manual gearbox, aluminum roof, Bilstein shocks
  • Active center differential made standard across Evo range
  • 5,500-rpm stationary rev limiter added
  • Turbocharger hot side revised to 10.5T 
  • Aluminum roof added to RS
  • Weightless White dropped for Wicked White
  • Blue By You dropped for Electric Blue Metallic
  • Thunder Grey dropped for Graphite Grey Pearl
  • Phoenix Red and Cool Silver Metallic added

2006 model year:

  • Major update: Evolution IX introduced, new front bumper, rear bumper, and taillights
  • 4G63 engine updated with MIVEC intake variable valve timing and turbo cold-side revisions
  • Turbocharger compressor revised
  • Revised five-speed gear ratios
  • GSR model now just called Evolution IX
  • Evolution SE trim added, mixture of MR and RS features with five-speed manual gearbox

2007 model year:

  • End of production

General Reliability and Ownership Cost

The Evo 8 and 9 are fairly complex machines packed with huge innovations for its time. Most of what you’ll hear about Evo ownership will be erring on the side of negative, which is disappointing if taken at face value. The way I see it, nearly every Evo has been modified, tuned, or just generally disturbed from their intended factory functions, causing unreliability and strange issues. Also, owners drive the everlasting life out of their Evos. That will take a toll on a car long-term.

Most of the Evos issues stock or modified center around the state-of-the-art all-wheel-drive system, even for today. It’s a full-time transverse-engined system, requiring a complicated gear train to run it. The FWD-based gearbox outputs into a transfer case with a center differential, out to the rear wheels, while the normal gearbox handles power to the front. I see much talk about transfer-case failures and sometimes front-differential failures. Whether it’s an inherent weakness in the drivetrain, a driving-style issue, or a modification issue depends from car to car. 

I can liken the Evo’s reliability to the reliability of the newest AWD Ford Focus RS. The RS and the Evo were designed to the absolute limit of their potential, and pushing them beyond that will result in strange failures. Not to mention, the compactness and packaging of the Evo’s S-AWC all-wheel drive doesn’t lend it much extra strength and resistance to extreme power or drivetrain shock from aggressive driving. The six-speed gearbox takes more of that packaging space for the extra gear and makes for a weaker drivetrain overall.

I’m willing to bet that a mostly stock Evo is a pretty reliable car that only takes a little extra maintenance compared to a normal Japanese car. The 4G63 with or without MIVEC is stout, reliable, and strong in factory tune or even with a factory frame turbo and a good tune. Your main problems will arise from abusive ownership or heavy modifications. I’d estimate ownership costs to be similar to a more reliable European car, if a little lower, though parts may be hard to come by and take a long time to get.

Obscure Details

The Evo 8 and 9 use flange-and-washer lug nuts to locate the wheel on the hub instead of a hub-centric wheel center bore. It shares this with the Toyota Prius. In all fairness, it shares this with a lot of Toyotas.

The Evo starts as a normal Lancer body shell until workers at the Mizushima factory weld in a V-brace behind the rear seat, gussets at the base of the windshield, trunk, and door pillars, a front strut tower brace, and extra spot welds at the rear subframe and strut towers, making the Evo 65 percent stiffer than a regular Lancer.

U.S.-bound Evos had their rear differential clutch packs misarranged for quiet operation. It’s a popular mod to reverse this for maximum performance.

Red Flags and Known Issues

Look out for rusty Evos in Northern states, especially around the front and rear subframe. The front subframe rusting out is a common issue that is actually under recall for many Mitsubishi products of the same vintage.

ACD pumps can fail and are expensive to replace, with eBay showing around $1,000 for a used one. They can be serviced and fixed for much cheaper. If it’s corroded, however, it will require replacement.

A common symptom of abuse is a whiny or grindy gearbox or drivetrain. Make sure it’s smooth and quiet on a test drive. Listen for speed-dependent whines or gear-dependent whines to figure out if it’s a gearbox or transfer case/differential issue.

Recalls

The Evo 8 and 9 have three recalls of note, one for the rusty front subframe, one for 2005 cars with a faulty turbo coolant hose, and one for 2006 cars and the Takata airbag inflator. 

Look at details for the 2004 here, 2005 here, and 2006 here. No NHSTA data for 2003 Evo is on the site.

Where to Buy Parts

For emergency OEM parts and replacement stock parts, your best bet would be to find a Mitsubishi dealership parts counter. 

If you’re willing to wait, the best thing about Mitsubishi parts is that the Tier 1 OEMs that make the parts for Mitsubishi readily sell their parts online or to higher-quality parts stores such as Napa. Stuff like Denso or TKT bearings are OEM without having the badge, and you can find things easily online with any choice of parts catalog search.

Finding the esoteric Evo-specific stuff may present a mild challenge, but only because it’s expensive or you’ll have to find it on eBay. Generally, the simple stuff will be easy to find off the shelf.

Aftermarket Support

Belonging to the holy court of Japanese performance legends, the Evo 8 and 9 have the sort of aftermarket that can build you an entire Evo without Mitsubishi parts themselves. Save for the raw chassis of the car, the Japanese aftermarket, and a solid amount of the U.S. aftermarket, have anything and everything for the Evo.

Fully built 11,000-rpm 4G63 crate engines? Easy. Coilovers, suspension arms, big brakes, wide-body kits, bolt-in roll cages, aero, interior — I could go on. If I were a billionaire, I’d literally build an aftermarket Evo from a body-in-white just to see if it was possible.

This car is an old-school JDM mods sort of car. Most Evos out there will already have the most popular mods, such as a front-mount intercooler, turbo back exhaust, header, boost controller, intake, and probably some coilovers. 

Model year 2005 and 2006 Evos have more potential for power due to their larger stock turbo, and 2006s get MIVEC for even more midrange response and power. You can expect an Evo with full bolt-ons to make 400-horsepower easily, well before you stress drivetrain components. 

A popular mod is rearranging the rear-differential clutch plates into their correct position so that normal operation is made possible. For the U.S. market, Mitsubishi arranged the clutches incorrectly in the name of low noise and no clunking. It can be easily redone for performance.

The Evo comes from the factory in a pretty extreme state of tune on its own, so it seems like the popular mods are all of them. Full bolt-on Evos are everywhere. The car is already an excellent starting point, so the matter of modding it is a personal preference rather than actually improving or fixing the car.

Key Technical Details

Engines: 

Evolution VIII (2003-2005): 1,997-cc 4G63T, 16 sodium-filled valves, flat-tappet-actuated and DOHC hollow camshafts, intercooled twin-scroll turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine, transversely mounted. 8.8:1 compression ratio. Wasted spark ignition. Aluminum intake manifold, and magnesium valve covers. Iron block with aluminum cylinder heads. Mitsubishi TD05HR-16G6 turbocharger, 9.8T hot side for 2003-2004, 10.5T hot side for 2005. Peak boost 19 psi at 3,500rpm. Mitsubishi Electric engine management. Timing-belt driven, interval 60,000 miles.

Evolution IX (2005-2006): 1,997-cc 4G63T, MIVEC 16-valve, flat-tappet-actuated DOHC hollow camshaft, intercooled twin-scroll turbocharged inline-four cylinder engine, transversely mounted. 8.8:1 compression ratio. Wasted spark ignition. Aluminum intake manifold and magnesium valve covers. Iron block with aluminum cylinder heads. Mitsubishi TD05HR-16G6C 10.5T turbocharger. Peak boost 20.16 psi at 3,500 rpm. Mitsubishi Electric engine management. Timing-belt driven, interval 60,000 miles.

Transmissions: 

Evolution VIII RS: five-speed manual transverse gearbox with true gear-type full-time all-wheel drive, helical front limited-slip differential, and viscous coupling center differential (ACD after 2004) 

Evolution VIII GSR: five-speed manual transverse gearbox with true gear-type full-time all-wheel drive, open front differential, viscous center differential (ACD for 2005)

Evolution VIII MR: six-speed manual transverse gearbox with true gear-type full-time all-wheel drive, helical front limited-slip differential, ACD

Evolution IX RS and Base: five-speed short ratio manual transverse gearbox with true gear-type full-time all-wheel drive, helical front limited-slip differential, ACD 

Evolution IX MR: six-speed manual transverse gearbox with true gear-type full-time all-wheel drive, helical front limited-slip differential, ACD

Transmission Ratios:

Evolution VIII five-speed:

1     2.928     (triple cone synchro)

2    1.950     (triple cone synchro)

3     1.407     (double cone synchro)

4     1.031     (single cone synchro)

5    0.720     (single cone synchro)

R       3.416      (double cone synchro)

Rear final drive     3.307

Total final drive     4.529

Evolution IX five-speed (short ratio):

1     2.785     (triple cone synchro)

2    1.950     (triple cone synchro)

3     1.444     (double cone synchro)

4     1.096     (single cone synchro)

5     0.761     (single cone synchro)

R       3.416      (double cone synchro)

Rear final drive     3.307

Total final drive     4.529

Evolution MR six-speed:

1     2.909     (triple cone synchro)

2    1.944     (triple cone synchro)

3     1.434     (double cone synchro)

4     1.100     (single cone synchro)

5     0.868     (single cone synchro)

6     0.693     (single cone synchro)

R       2.707      (double cone synchro)

Rear final drive     3.307

Total final drive     4.583

Suspension:

Front MacPherson strut suspension with forged aluminum control arms and stamped steel subframe, 24-mm sway bar, 175-mm total wheel travel, inverted monotube Bilstein dampers for MR, KYB inverted for others four-piston aluminum Brembo brakes

Rear multilink with forged aluminum control arms and forged aluminum subframe, 22-mm sway bar, 185-mm total wheel travel, Bilstein dampers for MR, KYB for others, two-piston aluminum Brembo brakes

Steering: 13:1 ratio steering rack, 2.1 turns

Wheelbase: 103.3 in; 2,624 mm

Overall length:  178.5 in; 4,534 mm 

Curb weights: 3,274 pounds w/o sunroof, 3,309 with sunroof

OEM tire sizes:

235/45R-17 93W (original tire was the Yokohama ADVAN A046)

Fluids, Filters, and Capacities

Fuels: 

91 AKI (premium)

Engine Oils: 

10W30 Mobil 1 (factory fill), interval 5,000 miles

Battery Size: Group 35

Oil Filters:

Mitsubishi MZ690116, interval 5,000 miles

Air Filter: 

Mitsubishi MR552951, interval 10,000 miles

Cabin Air Filter: 

Mitsubishi MR398288, interval 30,000 miles

Transmission Oils: 

Manual gearbox: 75W90 GL-4, three quarts, interval 30,000 miles

Transfer case: (Non-ACD) Redline Shockproof Heavyweight, one quart, (ACD) Mitsubishi SAE 90 Diaqueen oil, interval 30,000 miles

Transmission Filter: 

Manual, Not applicable

Rear Differential Oil: Mitsubishi SAE 90 Diaqueen oil, interval 30,000 miles

Coolant: Blue coolant, 100,000-mile interval

Power Steering Fluid: Any Dexron ATF, no interval

Brake Fluid: DOT4 brake fluid, Motul RBF600/RBF660 for a sturdy pedal

Clutch Fluid: DOT4 brake fluid, Motul RBF600/RBF660 can be used. Usually not serviced.

Spark Plugs: 

Evolution VIII: BPR7EIX

Evolution IX: ILFR7H

Factory Service Manuals

Here is a resource for all Evo service manuals.

Other References and Resources

I learned a lot about the Evo through the forums. It seems that evolutionm.com is a useful trove of knowledge for the platform, with plenty of contributors that have modified and dug into their own Evos.

Jacks Transmissions has useful advice for Evo drivetrain fluids here and properly filling the transfer case here.

Cordsport published a detailed booklet on Evo drivetrain ratios and technical data here.

And this article makes sense of the hilariously sophisticated Evo all-wheel-drive system.

Professional Reviews

“Tested: 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS” (Car and Driver, September 2004)

Ron Kiino at C/D applauded the dedication of the stripped-out Evolution VIII RS.

“On our local 10Best handling loop, the RS felt every bit as agile and quick on its feet as the standard Evo, but it added a 10th to the limit meter. It feels more buttoned to the road than its ‘luxury’ mate, especially at the rear, thanks most likely to a new extruded-aluminum crossbar just aft of the rear seats. Visible with the trunk lid up, the crossbar stiffens the rear structure and helps keep the hind end planted, making the RS easier and less hairy to rocket out of corners. Into and out of high-speed sweepers, the RS just keeps saying, ‘Faster! Faster!’ Turns normally taken at 70 mph didn’t seem threatening at 90. Braking remains excellent as well, with the front and rear Brembo calipers erasing 70 mph in a scant 167 feet, but that’s still 10 feet longer than the standard car’s distance with ABS. … In many ways, the RS is the four-door equivalent of the Lotus Elise—as raw as a skinned knee, but bleeding never felt so good.”

“2003 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution” (Car and Driver, March 2003)

Aaron Robinson of C/D penned a fascinating dive into the new Evolution VII, in a review that makes me professionally jealous for its thoroughness and prose. Be sure to click the link to read the full piece, but here’s his thoughts on the dynamics of the standard 2003 Evo. 

“In the pit, the engine puttered quietly at idle, thanks to a pneumatic flap in the muffler. Acceleration happens without any huge urgency until about 3,500 rpm, when the supersonic blast to the redline begins. The transition to the big boost is gratifyingly smooth, the curve less kinked than it should be with this much pressure on tap.

“Mitsubishi thinks 60 mph is attainable in five seconds flat. The Evo VI with ‘276 horsepower’ we tested in 2000 managed 5.1 and was 300 pounds lighter, and a WRX is good for 5.8 seconds. We expect something in between for the American Evo.

“The car plows through hairpins in fine company with other nose-heavy all-wheel drivers. Relax the throttle or brush the brakes, and the car hastens smoothly into light oversteer. The rear end wants to help, salvaging overcooked corners and steering you away from curbs. It stays behind you, even when the Brembo four-piston front and two-piston rear calipers are biting savagely.

“The Momo feels light to the hands but quick, with cornering loads coming on very gradually. A full ride assessment must wait until we can touch tires to city streets, but excursions over the track’s curb cutouts were not especially jarring.”

“Mitsubishi Evo IX MR Review” (The Truth About Cars, November 2006)

Andrew Comrie-Picard penned a nice little review for the Evo 9 in 2006. He’s a pro driver, so he knows what’s what.

“I can tell you with some authority that this is one of the five best-handling cars available in North America. Certainly it is one of two for less than $35K, and it has four doors and a trunk to boot. It’s better than the Subaru WRX STI – tighter, better balanced, transitions faster, feels lighter. The Subaru actually has a better drive layout, with the engine mass lower and the transmission further back, but by sheer bloody-minded suspension engineering, the Evo wins hands down.

“Yes, the ride is harsh, and the appointments spare. But the turn-in is astonishing — sneeze and you’ll change three lanes — and once you’re sliding, you can drift the car in fourth gear, tires smoking, the world coming at you through the side window, correcting with your fingertips. Wanna feel like a superhero? This is your fastest ticket.”

Owner Reviews

Here we’ll share observations and opinions from people who have actually owned these cars.

I’m apparently not cool enough to know anyone who has an Evo. Please, write in.

Own or owned one of these and want to share your thoughts? Hit up the comments.

What They’re Worth Now

The prime example: For an Evo 8 or 9, you’re looking at about $40,000 plus. This is for a primo color, low miles, one owner, full service history, and no issues whatsoever, and unmodified.

A very clean driver: Budget about $33,000-$38,000. These cars have decent miles but are serviced well, cosmetically 9/10, and well cared for with some road grime. This is what I call the Goldilocks Zone where the car has been driven and sorted, but well loved.

An honest car: Budget $25,000-$30,000. These cars will have driver miles, 130,000 plus, service history will be mostly there, and ideally it’ll be a two-owner car. It will still be well-loved and driven, most likely modified.

The budget option: At $20,000-$24,000 an Evo with more than 150,000 miles will be an option, while still being clean-ish and well maintained. Mods are likely, and beware of any tuning or bad mods.

A roach: $15,000-$19,000 will get you a beat-up project Evo. Mods everywhere, stuff blown up, all that sort of fun. Hard to find and rare to see because of the Evo’s desirability.

Where to Find One for Sale

The majority of CT9A Evos are owned privately, and you’ll find them on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. But, because of their insane residual value, you can still find them at dealer lots fairly occasionally, so be sure to look everywhere you can. Very clean examples have found their way to Bring A Trailer and similar sites.

What to Ask a Seller

Go-to questions should include:

• Does it burn any oil? (Evos are reportedly sensitive to the break-in process.)

• When was the last drivetrain fluid service? 

• What sort of mods were done to the car?

• Any gear grinds or whine?

Competitors to Consider

Since the Evo 8 and 9 is so valuable, it competes with pretty esteemed company in the used-car market. Though the Evo has held its residual value much better than the contemporary Subaru WRX STI, it’s still a worthy competitor, and STIs are much easier to find stock. BMW E46 and E92 M3s are within the price range, and along with that are any number of Audi S4s, BMW 135i or newer 335i, Evolution Xs, and the AP2 Honda S200.

Photo Galleries

Netcarshow has a great gallery of the 2004 Evolution RS here, of the normal 2003 Evo here, the 2005 VIII MR here, and the 2006 IX MR here.

Pop Culture References

In the AMC show “Better Call Saul,” Ernie the assistant drives a Blue By You Evolution VIII, which is very cool and rare. The Evo in 2Fast 2Furious is actually an Evo VII, in case you were wondering.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8 and 9 (CT9A): The Car Bible

Enthusiast Inquiries

Every car has a collection of common questions that pop up in forums and Facebook groups whenever new blood joins in. We hope a lot of those have been answered above, but if we see specific questions pop up regularly we’ll revisit them here.

Downloadable Paperback Car Bible (Coming Soon)

If you’re old school and like to keep reference notes on paper, or you’re just a completionist and want a free accessory for your Evo, we’ll have a print-variant Car Bible for you soon.

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