Heavy Metal Affliction 2010 Mitsubishi Evo SE
Our relationship with our car can sometimes be more enduring than ones we carry with other people. Family will always be there for you and some friends will stand by you in times of need, but your car is always faithful. Your car is something that you get to know and, if it could speak, it would probably have more to say about you than you care to share.
This week’s Heavy Metal Affliction is a tale of a man and his car, and how together they conquer challenges and keep moving forward.
This is the story of “Nikita,” a 2010 Mitsubishi Evolution SE (No. 156 of 340) and its loving owner Eric Valencia—Gamertag Serten2. Valencia is an IT Project Manager at Queens College CUNY. Originally from the California Bay Area, Valencia moved to New York eight years ago to pursue his career. He arrived in a faithful and well-used 1999 Honda Civic EX which had served him well for nearly ten years. All the while he waited for the time he could acquire his dream car.
An addiction to sport’s cars was fueled by his dad who had a wide selection of cars that must have been fun to grow up with. Valencia’s earliest car memories began with an early 1970’s Challenger Hemi, later a Triumph TR7, and then multiple Japanese sports cars. His dad had two different first-generation RX-7’s and then settled on a 1986 Nissan 300ZX Turbo for years. The latter is the car that Valencia learned to drive a stick-shift in. He may also have picked up his love of a spooling turbo.
Valencia’s first car was a 1985 Toyota Supra, handed down to him from his mother. What a cool ride for a first car and for his mom to drive! Later, he got another Supra handed down to him, this time a 1988 model; sadly, it developed engine problems. Valencia traded it in and put down his own money to buy the 1999 Civic that he kept until getting his first Evo. That’s right “Nikita” is his second Evo. His first Evo was a 2008 Evo MR that got its warranty flagged and was put to rest with engine problems, which lead to him trading in the MR for the slightly newer Evo SE.
Why the Evo? There a number of reasons for Valencia. When he was growing up he travelled to visit family in the Philippines where a cousin had an early Evo 3. Riding in this car amazed him. Later, as a working man, he travelled to Europe and came across a fully-modified Evo 4 that blew his mind. Once he was hooked he did research in countless car magazines, studied Top Gear and test drove Evos in the Forza series since the Forza Motorsport 3 days. All of this increased his appreciation for the “sleeper by design” that is the Evo. He even took the Jim Russel/Simraceway Experience at Infineon Raceway in Northern California where he drove an Evo. The car just made sense to Valencia’s tastes. The Evo’s track prowess and hearty streetability are packaged deceptively in such a way that does not beg for attention but gets a nod of approval from those “in the know.”
Now, the Mitsubishi Evo is an affordable dream car but it is by no means cheap. Given the trouble with the first Evo and the added financial burden of acquiring the new one, Valencia was feeling pretty dire financially and worried about being able to keep his beloved car. His girlfriend at the time had helped him get it, but they had just gone through a “very bitter and acrimonious” break up. On his own and depressed, with only the Evo to provide happiness, he went out for a spin after drowning some of his sorrows. That night he was involved in an accident and received a ticket for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) and was arrested. Was this the bottom, would he lose the car he had gone through so much to obtain? Thankfully, the answer was no and this story gets happy from here.
Valencia found himself in a position to make a change and did so. With the help of a counseling program mandated for DWI offenders, good friends, a new girlfriend and a lot of perseverance, Valencia and “Nikita” are still together and he has taken their relationship to the next level in the form of upgrades.
With a clear mind and a fresh perspective, and the practical thinking of a Project Manager, Valencia came up with a concept for the Evo that would keep his daily driver “streetable” but give it some track potential. It is, of course, only the beginning of what he would like to do but it’s a healthy start. Interestingly, before making purchase decisions, Valencia uses Forza Motorsport 4 to benchmark upgrades then tested them at his favorite track Infineon.
The end result is a dynoed 330 hp at the wheels. Not bad for a car that tips the scales at around 3500 lbs. For the record, Valencia’s tuning and upgrades have brought “Nikita” about 40 more horsepower.
Valencia eventually hopes to achieve 350 WHP, which will more than likely come from an intercooler. Eventually a set of nice coil overs will further smooth out the ride.
Check out some pictures of Nikita.
If you want to see more here is a link to the whole gallery.
If you have a car you love and have big plans for post about it in our request for community rides thread. If you have posted about your car, check your PM’s, you may have been chosen for a future edition of Heavy Metal Affliction.
Got a comment or compliment about this week’s Heavy Metal Affliction story and contributor Serten2? Do so in the HMA thread.