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Dave Johnson’s Evo

Posted by | February 17, 2016 | Feature | No Comments

Most car enthusiasts didn’t just wake up one day and decide that their existence would now revolve around dumping money, time, and passion into this lifestyle. Like the rest of us, Dave Johnson started out as a kid that enjoyed playing with remote control cars, building models, and launching a few Hot Wheels down the stairs on the weekends. It wasn’t until a few years down the road that Dave would really delve deep into the world of import modification, but the energy that he put into the toys of his childhood would now ignite the fire that he has for the real deal.

The Lancer Evolution VII was put on the map thanks to Paul Walker’s role in 2Fast 2Furious back in 2003 and Dave always dreamed of owning one after watching the movie. As we all know, that chassis never made it stateside, however the Evo VIII was sold in America and is virtually identical to its predecessor. That is what you see here.
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He picked up his ’04 Evolution in 2012 and had a completely different vision in his head when it came to building the car compared to the way that it currently looks.
“I wanted to build it for drag racing and to make it faster than any car I’ve come across on the street”
Bolt ons like a 3.5″ FMIC, 3″ cat back exhaust, and cat less down pipe worked well with the HKS 272 cams, 1000cc injectors, and Walbro 255 fuel pump. Pushing 400awhp, Dave’s Evo was well on its way to fun days at the local strip. He explained the need to get outside of the comfort zone he was used to and from there he discovered wheel fitment.
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“It wasn’t until about two years ago that I discovered stance, but boy did it change my life. I totally fell in love with the art of tweaking every aspect of camber and offset. It was really unique and different.”
Not only did Dave have a chassis that was already built to work with, but one that the fitment community definitely appreciates when it comes to aesthetic modifications. He had pieced together some of his aero while he was building his drag monster, but it wasn’t until he got into stance that he went full bore with getting the exterior of the car looking right. There are many JDM bits here such as the rear bumper, head/tail lights, and rain guard. Cusco and Rexspeed were the go to on skirts and the front lip. Everything looks very Japanese and at home on the car.  One of his favorite exterior additions would be the Nardo grey wrap by Avery. He wrapped the car himself and it turned out to be very clean and it compliments the lines of the car quite well.
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When it came time for a suspension and wheel setup Dave didn’t skimp on anything. He knew he wanted to ride low, but with the money that he has put into his car he didn’t want it thrashed either. Being a performance based build that was catered to fitment as well he chose a bag-over-coil setup to maximize the handling potential. It was essentially the best of both worlds. With the ride height addressed it was time to source a set of wheels that would look clean, yet aggressive. The fenders were pulled slightly and rolled to prevent any rubbing issues that he may have run into after fitting the 18×10.5 -10 Avant Garde F120’s.
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While no build is complete without a show worthy interior it was nice to see that Dave kept it simple with his car. Instead of doing something crazy or over the top he wanted to keep it functional. The roll bar adds some safety and rigidity to the chassis while the Recaro seats keep Dave in place while mobbing through New England. Aside from the the boost gauge and Grip Royal steering wheel, the interior remains mostly unmolested which is a unique aspect when it comes to a car that has been gone over and altered thoroughly.
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When I was talking with Dave about the upcoming show season he mentioned that the car is clearly in winter mode with some big changes in store. Although he is a faithful follower of the wheel fitment game today he doesn’t forget where he came from and more power is always in the cards.
“I’m in the process of rebuilding the car as we speak and I’m aiming for 550awhp when it’s done”
With goals like that it is much easier when you have your close friends around to lend a hand and he would like to thank his friends from 6low3 along with all of the homies that helped turn wrenches with him. Dave clearly has big plans for his Evo and we are looking forward to seeing it come out of hibernation this spring!
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Photos by- Eric Banash
Car- Dave Johnson
Story- Morgan Wilson

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