Junkyard Gem: 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

I do manage to find the occasional discarded Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution during my Denver-area junkyard explorations, but such cars— like their Subaru WRX rivals— are always far too crashed and/or stripped to be worth documenting for this series. When it comes to the Mitsubishi Lancer O-Z Rally Edition, though, I get the impression that just about every Lancer sold here during the first part of the 2000s had that all-show-and-no-go package; after shooting several examples, I no longer pay attention to the O-Z Rally. The Ralliart Lancer, on the other hand, was a genuine factory hot-rod, with much more power and a stiffer suspension than the ordinary Lancer. We saw a used-up bright yellow ’05 Ralliart last year, and now here’s a black ’04 in a different Denver yard.

The Lancer Ralliart wasn’t anywhere near as fast and crazy as its Evolution sibling, but (compared to the base Lancer) it came with more power, bigger brakes, stiffer suspension, better steering, and bucket seats sourced from the JDM Evolution GTA. List price was $18,572 (about $26,110 today), far cheaper than the $29,999 ($42,175 today) Evo VIII.

The regular Lancer sedan had an unimpressive 120 horses from its 2.0-liter engine in 2004, while the Lancer Ralliart got this 162-horse MIVEC 2.4. Just in case you were wondering, MIVEC stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Valve-Timing-and-Lift Electronic Control, which doesn’t sound as cool as VTEC, but at least seems more convincing than Daewoo’s D-TEC.

Nearly every O-Z Rally Lancer I see has an automatic transmission, but this Ralliart rolled out of the showroom with a genuine 5-speed manual and Evo shifter.

The Japan-market front seats are a bit racier than the ordinary Lancer’s, too.

Though it is a Colorado car and drivers here think they need AWD to navigate a quarter-inch of snow in the supermarket parking lot, it lacks the all-wheel-drive system that went on the Evo. What more do you want for $18,572?

I’m a bit surprised that some local Lancer owner didn’t snag the factory strut-tower brace immediately, but I’ll bet someone buys this part before the car gets crushed.

So fast. So furious. 

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