1998 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V - Building the dream


If it were solely based on looks alone, this iteration of Mitsubishi’s homologated rally car, when compared against its nine other siblings, would take top honors if you ask me. From the aggressively styled front bumper that signals its true purpose, all the way to its flared arches, it’s just one of those cars that makes your heart rate go faster. Throw in a fire-spitting engine with close to 300 horses, a manual transmission and an all-wheel drive platform, the only thing missing would be a desolate winding road to achieve total driving nirvana.

Since its introduction in 1998, Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution V has developed a worldwide cult following that continues to this day. This is mainly attributed to the fact that it's the last Evolution that doesn't have a plethora of electronic traction aids and stuff, (with the exception of AYC) unlike the subsequent generations, thus making it a true driver’s car and highly collectible.

This explains Richard Conti’s reaction towards his recently finished Evolution V as he says, “I still can’t believe that this is my car.” Shaking his head as he adds, “It was my dream to own one ever since I saw a white one during the Transport Show back in 2000.” From then on, he took on many car builds but was still on the lookout for an Evo V. Given the rarity of left-hand-drive models and its desirability makes it one very hard car to acquire. That is until Richard thought, “Since this Japanese-spec car was sold limitedly outside the originally intended market, why not build my own Project 5.”

More commonly referred to as a “Half-Cut”, these are used Japanese cars bound for recycling that are cut in half before being auctioned off. On rare occasions, an Evolution might turn up or other tuner-oriented cars. As such, the first phase of Project-5 involved searching and acquiring a suitable Evo V “Half-Cut”. Soon after, he came across an Evo IV half cut courtesy of Bodz Garcia. “I gave it a look and as soon as I saw that the engine was fresh, I bought it immediately. This was mainly because it was very difficult to source an Evo V during that particular year. In fact, I was just about to scratch the build, but I didn’t give up.”

For anyone who owns a Lancer Evolution, chances are they know what StreetLevel Auto Performance is. Located in New Manila, this shop specializes in Lancer Evolutions only. It's the go-to place for surplus OEM and aftermarket parts for all generations of Evos. That and D-Boyz Autoworks comprise the shops where all the missing exterior/interior parts were found.

Armed with almost every component to make up a complete Evo V, all it needed now was a donor platform in the form of a ’98 Lancer MX. Sharing the same unibody structure as the Evo, it was time for its transformation. “Again, with the help of Bodz Garcia, Leonard of HQ/JC Auto Electrical Shop transferred all the parts including the body and paint aspect.” Despite sharing the same platform, it wasn't strictly a simple bolt-on affair as there were some difficulties involved. The most critical according to Richard being the All Wheel Drive System. Most of the components come with its own Evo-specific sub frames, mounting points and even its own gas tank with a depression in the middle to make way for the exhaust and driveshaft from the rear differential. It’s no walk in the park, but if the shop knows what its doing and the parts are complete, the conversion is possible. What’s more, it shows that it can be neatly done like in this particular build, looking as if it came fresh from the factory.

Another great thing about these cars is there’s a never-ending supply of aftermarket parts, making it a tuners delight as Richard quips, “At first I wanted to keep it in stock form but ‘Stock is Dead’ so I added a host of tasteful mods, being careful that I didn't break its character.” As such, a pair of HKS camshafts, air filter, and a full exhaust has been added for added power as Richard adds, “I also upgraded the stock radiator to a more efficient Dynamics performance aluminum radiator and a Beatrush cooling plate. To monitor the engine, I opted for a Defi Advance ZD unit, keeping tabs on my engine’s status. As for the suspension department, knowing fully well that the stock ones won’t cut it, I replaced it with a Dynamics Performance coilover. A Volk Rays TE37 wheels and Advan Neova AD08R tires take care of traction duties. Even the Evolution V stickers were ordered from Japan. Looking at it now, I can’t believe I get to bring this car home with me and just in time for my wedding. On most days, this Evo can be found up and about in the streets of BGC for Yabangan Noons/Nights, and car meets. There are times strangers come up and compliment the car, which I don’t mind bragging about, but what I’m real proud of is that simple ingenuity and passion can produce an alleged 280 HP sports sedan.” Now, this is one build that’s surely for keeps.

1998 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V

Richard Conti

Engine Mods

HKS cams, HKS air filter, HKS full exhaust, Ralliart air filter tube, Japan custom-made air filter heat shield, Dynamics performance aluminum radiator, Beatrush cooling plate


Recaro Seats, Momo steering wheel

Suspension Mods

Dynamics Performance Coilovers with Camber Plate


Volk Rays TE37 Wheels (17x8), Advan Neova AD08R Tires (235/45R17)


Defi advance ZD gauge, Pioneer stereo

Body & Paint

HQ/JC Auto Electrical Shop

Kudos To:

Dona Conti, Leonard Lim, Bodz Garcia, Noli Par, Benjamin, Pow Anticamara, JDMUnderground.ph, LNB Car Surplus & Carbon, Bike 101 HQ, Edward Nunez of Precision 24 Auto Detailer, Mekichi JDM, Dynamics Performance, JSM Tire Center,  Autoplus, Streetlevel Auto Performance, Spugen parts, D-Boyz Autoworx