By Michael Kitchens
One of the things I try to focus on in my articles is the person behind the car. Cars are so much more than their spec sheets. One can simply look at a mod list to see what parts have been placed on a ride, but to me, the importance should be placed on the individual that modified and customized their ride into their own personal works of art. While in that mindset, I tend to focus on the driver behind the build more than the car. In this case, Darwin Fernandez is a Filipino-American whose love for cars has crossed international boundaries.
As a small child, Darwin could remember seeing the Mitsubishi logo and the impression was permanent. “I told myself when I was young that I’d have a better car than my parents,” says Darwin. Considering the fact that his parents owned a mighty Evolution, he had already set himself a tall order.
While living in the PI, Darwin hung out with a good friend who was a mechanic, using the connection to gain experience in addition to working at a surplus auto supply. A self-taught mechanic, he started out modifying Honda Civics while working as a lot technician for Mitsubishi. In 2003, the new Evolution 8 came to U.S. shores for the first time ever, and Darwin was there to experience it first-hand.
“When I test-drove it, I thought, ‘Oh man, this is the car for me!’” says Darwin. His aim was always to own an Evolution, and had been saving for several years specifically for this moment. He immediately purchased this 2004 Mitsubishi Evolution 8 and enjoyed every minute without one iota of modification. Resisting a temptation like no other, Darwin opted to wait until the expiration of his warranty before letting loose the floodgates.
When I say flood, I mean it. This car has an absolute torrent of modifications on it. With a wife and two kids, Darwin focused primarily on his family life and modifying his ride. That meant no clubs, no cruises or late nights on the town — just straight wrenching and family time. The end result of this sabbatical is utterly spectacular. Just look at it.
In short, I cannot begin to describe the huge amount of modifications this vehicle has. Featuring an absolute smorgasbord of high class components such as ARC, HKS, BRIDE and RALLIART, the entire ride is modified from beginning to end in impeccable detail while pushing out 474HP to the wheels. The engine bay alone will drop your jaw, and the crazy thing is that the entire car is like this. Whether it’s the well-furnished interior with carbon fiber accents and Defi gauges or the insane exterior featuring Voltex components combined with the rolling stock of 18 inch Volk Rays TE37s swathed in 235/40 Toyo Proxes, this car oozes craftsmanship.
And how do his parents feel? They’re proud of him and his dedication to achieving his goals in amazing fashion. As far as the future is concerned, Darwin has modified this Evolution to the point where the fire is starting to go out. He’s won everything — Best of Show, Best Mitsubishi, etc. He’s actually interested in selling this beast, so he can start all over and do it again. That’s wild.
Like Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, this model is a constant, changing force, a descent of modification at every turn in the process. Every iteration of this powerful car has been evolved and bettered, and it will continue to do so until the end of the line. Darwin’s motto is “Go forth and modify,” which is exactly what he’s done.
Name: Darwin Fernandez
Year/Make/Model: 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 8
Build Time: 4 Years
Paint: Blue Pearl