Auction Pick of the Week: 1997 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV GSR
The beautiful thing about the 25-year rule is that it just keeps on rolling right along. That foreign car you’ve always loved but could never import will come of age sooner than you know, and then, if you’ve got the funds and your hoop-jumping shoes properly laced up, you can park it in your garage.
The law has cleared a path for some truly remarkable and bonkers machinery to make its way to these shores, and overwhelmingly, those vehicles have come from Japan. Home to Skylines of all stripes, borderline WRC-spec Imprezas, luxo-barge Crowns, and the cutest little kei cars, JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) cars have always fascinated American enthusiasts of a particular bent. Our auction pick of the week, this 1997 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV GSR, is one such fascinating JDM machine.
Mitsubishi first homologated its Lancer sedan for Group A rallying in 1992, and as its arms race with Subaru intensified throughout the ’90s, subsequent versions—or Evolutions, 10 in all—of the car gained more power, more sophistication, and more blistering pace.
None of them really left Japan until Mitsubishi’s motorsports arm, Ralliart, started exporting them for European markets in the late ’90s. American fans, however, could only imagine the driving experience through Gran Turismo.
The Evo IV hit the streets in 1996, with a fresh chassis and a more powerful 4G63 turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4, now making 276 horsepower. Perhaps the biggest news was the introduction in top-spec GSR models of Mitsubishi’s Active Yaw Control (AYC), which deftly regulated torque to the left or right side of the car to cope with loss of traction in corners. It seemed pretty handy, and in 1997, Finnish driver Tommi Mäkinen put it to good use as he piloted his Evo IV to a driver’s title in the World Rally Championship, capturing 4 of the 14 rounds that season.
The right-hand-drive Evo IV GSR currently listed on Hagerty Marketplace has had its Scotia White paint professionally refinished, and the car includes all the bells and whistles—the AYC, yes, but also power windows, Recaro seats, a Nardi steering wheel, A/C, PIAA fog lights, vented disc brakes, an aftermarket HKS turbo timer package, and a stainless exhaust. Power runs through a five-speed manual transmission to all four 17-inch EVO five-spoke wheels, each shod with Bridgestone Potenza performance tires, which will need replacing. Current mileage shows 103,215 km (64,135 miles).
This car was imported to the U.S. from Japan in July 2023 and carries a clean North Carolina title. Offered through seller AutoBarn_Classic_Cars, the bidding closes Tuesday, February 20, at noon.