Have a Seat

I picked up an Evo IX rear seat for a crazy good deal the other day. To be honest, Flickr is down right now and I just want to host this image somewhere. The result is a blog post.


I probably won’t put the back seat in until I have something decent for up front. I might focus on the interior a bit this winter, but we’ll see what happens I guess. I’m all over the place as usual…

Hoping to have an update on the Cozy Coupe for everyone soon. I have been slammed at work lately and just haven’t had the time to devote to it. More soon!



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Cozy Coupe Build: Part 2

Following the positive response to part one, we’ve been hard at work on Kinsey’s Cozy Coupe Project. Here’s another update to bring you up to speed.

When we last left off, I had drilled new holes for relocating the axles to lower the car’s height. The first issue I ran into here was the underside of the chassis clearing the ground. Some material near the rear axle’s original location had to be cut off to allow for the car to roll.

While cutting into the rear of the chassis, this is what we found:

Yes, those are dead rolly-pollies. I’ve heard of project cars being infested with mice, spiders, and squirrels, but rolly-pollies is a new one for me. I’m guessing that this coupe spent the majority of its life outdoors and was not garage kept.

After an initial pass at removing material, this is what we were left with:

Upon testing, we found that more plastic needed to be removed. We’ll go back and smooth this out later when the time comes to polish everything up:

With the new ride height set, the tires were essentially mounted outside of the car’s body completely. While this would probably work fine, it doesn’t really fit with the look we want to achieve. Kinsey and I decided to sacrifice the door’s ability to open and close in the name of removing material for the tires to sit inside of the car’s body.

The coupe marked where plastic would need to be removed for the tires to clear:

Material removed from the fender cutting process:

With the car’s wider than factory track width, I wasn’t able to reuse the existing axles. I picked up some extended axle rods from Lowe’s of the same diameter as the factory pieces. These will eventually be cut to length when the final fitting is completed.

The new solid axle setup up front. We’ll cover this with a floor pan later for safety:

Here’s an idea of how much plastic was removed for the tires to clear the body. Again, all of these cut lines will be cleaned up before paint and final assembly:

To maintain an aggressive look and wide track width, we decided to incorporate some classic Japanese-inspired fender flares. I racked my brain for a while trying to decide what I could use to make them, and somehow I came up with an idea- plastic soccer cones:

I was far from athletic growing up, so I have no idea how I thought of this, but these small plasitc cones worked perfectly as fender flares with a bit of cutting. These are mock flares at this point and aren’t 100% complete, but they give you a pretty good idea of what the final product will look like:

You can also see that the axles have yet to be trimmed. One of Kinsey’s little friends next door politely challenged my intentions to cut the metal axles with a saw, but I think I’ll be able to manage.

With the fender flares sorted out, I moved on to chopping the roof. The Cozy Coupe’s factory roof lines are rather tall, no doubt to allow for years of use as the child grows older. In this case, Kinsey and I were willing to sacrifice a little bit of usability in the name of style. Here’s where we arrived on the final roof height:

I also really like that the chop top gives the car more of a trunk-like design. More on that in a minute, though. Here’s how much material we removed from the b-pillar:

Factory MKIV coupe vs our modified MKII:

My final piece for this update was to begin working on the wing design. This will ideally be something that is removable, but we want the added downforce for any track time the car might see. Oh, and because it looks really cool.

Here’s the cardboard prototype. The final piece will likely be constructed of some type of lexan or thick plastic, possibly wrapped in carbon fiber vinyl (come on now, this is a kid’s toy. I can’t afford dry carbon!)

I’ll be sure to get it straight in the production piece. Expect to see some exhaust and diffuser work here down the road next:

At this point, Kinsey couldn’t handle it anymore. She had to hop in and check things out, even if the car was far from assembled for road use. I tried to warn her, but she just wouldn’t have it.

Some of her pals from next door came to check things out:

When attempting to launch the car, Kinsey ran into some of the issues I had cautioned her about…

After looking things over, we don’t think the car sustained any real damage.

“Are you going to help me push this thing back into the garage or what?” Kinsey exclaimed as she chowed down on an Oreo.

That’s all for now- more updates as we make some progress! Thanks for checking out the build.


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Project Cozy Coupe

Ever since I found out I was going to become a dad, I’ve wanted to try my hand at modifying a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe. All of our neighbors’ kids had them and they all looked exactly the same. My wife and I bought one for our daughter Kinsey back in February and she has a lot of fun with it, but I wasn’t allowed to hack up the brand new coupe.

Fortunately, our neighbors down the street were moving out last week and decided not to bring their Cozy Coupe with them. It’s the older model (MKII vs. Kinsey’s current MKIV if you know the CC generations) but I sort of wanted to have an older one as a project car and a newer model as her daily commuter.

Pushing the new project home:

Kinsey still uses the floor in her newer model CC, so I’ll need to add one somehow to this car.

Sweet camber thanks to bent axles…

Once we got it home, it was time to start tearing into it…

I was pleased to make some decent progress on the first night of work. I ended up coming up with a way to lower the car to a more suitable height by relocating the rear axle and converting the front to a solid axle design. It won’t steer anymore, but it is going to be wildly impractical when finished anyway.

Here’s a mockup of the new height:

Next will be cutting the body to move the tires in a bit and adding some classic Japanese-inspired fender flares. I’ve got a lot planned, so stick around to see what comes together. Hoping to make some more progress next week!

Oh, and I’ll have an update on the Evo soon too.


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Voltex Street Front Bumper

I got a call from the body shop last Thursday that my Voltex Street front bumper had been painted and was ready to be picked up. I had the day off on Friday, so I had a little bit of free time to get it on the car while my daughter was sleeping.

All of the components back from paint. I had the body shop spray the mesh black for a cleaner look. A lot of people simply run without, but I feel it’s important to use it for a more complete appearance. If they intended you to run without, it wouldn’t be included, right?

Everything assembled and ready to rock:

A couple less than perfect snaps of the dirty car in the driveway with the bumper installed:

I liked the Evo IX setup with the Voltex front lip, but I LOVE the look of the car with the full street front bumper. It’s just slightly more aggressive, enough to really make it feel more or less complete with the other components. I still desperately want to do the wing and possibly add the optional canards to the front bumper, but we’ll see what happens. It doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would with the stock wing for the mean time though.

Hopefully I can make a couple more changes before the end of the season. I’ll keep this updated when I can! Thanks for reading.


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Update Part 2

Now that we are all caught up on the exterior, here are the other subtle changes I’ve added to the car since February.


The only real suspension modification I have added since the Cusco front and rear strut tower braces are the KW V3 coilovers I mentioned previously, and the Cusco front pillow ball mounts. The rear top hat components were all replaced with new items sourced, once again, from Russell at MitsubishiParts.net.

Cusco makes a load of awesome suspension braces for the CT9A chassis, so I am hoping to add some more of their pieces to the car this winter. Aside from additional bracing and perhaps a rear sway bar, I don’t think I will end up changing much else on this car’s suspension. A setup similar to the 240 would be overkill on this car, not to mention the fact that most of it will be subjected to winter duty, so I think for the most part I will be keeping things simple.

My other priority in this department is brake pads and rotors. The stuff on the car now is in decent shape, but it bugs me that the front rotors are blanks and the rears are slotted. I’d like to replace the pads and rotors at some point this winter/spring with something a bit nicer.

Engine Bay

The engine bay has actually gotten a lot less cooler, lol. After sourcing several ARC pieces for the bay, I soon came to realize a couple of things, including the fact that this isn’t a show car build and I simply don’t have the budget I once did to sink into a build. I thought a lot about what I wanted in a car that needs to br driven year-round, and found that my priorities are really reliability and exterior appearance. Knowing that I needed several things for spring to be able to enjoy the car and that I could make a pretty solid profit on most of my ARC pieces, I decided to let them go.

Here’s a shot of the bay completed before I decided to sell off the ARC collection to fund other aspects of the car:

This is how the bay currently sits today. All I have really added visually are the Tomei oil cap, spark plug cover, and exhaust manifold shield. I have been a fan of Tomei stuff for a while and am running a few of their other parts on the car, so I thought it was fitting. Not to mention it’s all a bit more affordable than old, used ARC stuff.

It’s not too pretty, but I at least try to keep it clean once in a while. I’d like to add a few other details back into the bay just to spice it up a little more, but I don’t have a lot in mind. Maybe a Cusco cooling panel, an intake, and some replacement intercooler piping. Note: The air filter was removed during engine bay cleaning in this picture.

I also had the car street tuned by a couple of local Evo gurus that go by the name of Antilag Racing. They did a great job with the car and it’s much more chill for daily driving now- no sputtering or random stalling anymore. I’m running a conservative 23 lbs or so of boost, and I stressed that I am really not after big numbers or anything like that- I just want the car to remain reliable. It’s got enough power to be enjoyable in its current configuration in my opinion. I’ll be due for a timing belt and other 60k maintenance items by spring, so maybe I’ll consider some other engine related upgrades at that time. For now I am content though, aside from cool dress up doo-dads here and there.


The interior of the car has also remained fairly chill. Toby Broadfield created a beautiful custom gauge enclosure for me, and was also cool enough to spray my center console and ash tray to ensure a perfect match. The color he used was more or less spot on with the factory hue, but he’s a perfectionist and wanted it to be just right. The custom panel houses my Defi Advance CR gauges that I ran in the 240.

Painted Evo IX shift trim with Evo IX shift boot, Tomei shift knob, and JDM badge:

The center console cup holders in the Evo VIII feature a switch for the intercooler sprayer. This didn’t work when I bought my car and it was removed when I did the IX front bumper setup, so I replaced the cup holder with one from an Evo IX.

Finally, I added OEM Evo IX pedals and CF look dash trim. I guess it could almost be considered an Evo IX interior at this point, except with the ugly blue Evo VIII seats.

I ended up selling my WB SPLASH hub, quick release, and Nardi steering wheel to fund other items when I sold the ARC stuff back in March. I kind of wish I had held on to it, but other things took priority at the time. I’d like to add a Nardi wheel and some seats to really bring the interior to the same level as the exterior. This might not happen for a while (or at all) but I think those two simple additions would make me really happy with the Evo’s cockpit. Oh, and a Cusco cage would of course be awesome- but I don’t think that’s going to happen this time around, haha.

So I think that just about brings you up to speed on where the Evo has been in the last six months. I’ll try to keep this updated in real time from now on as I make changes to the car. I’m hoping to add a Voltex wing before the snow flies, but time seems to be flying by faster than ever these days. We’ll see if I can make it happen. Thanks for reading!


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Back From the Dead!

For some reason, I’ve had the urge to update the blog lately. With the demise of Google Reader, I’m not even sure that anyone will still know this thing exists- but I enjoy writing and having a place to keep my thoughts related to a build, so I’m going to update it anyway!

When we last left my Evo in February, it was still fairly stock. Shortly after adding the engine bay pieces, I decided to sell them. I spent a pretty good chunk of change on rare ARC items- and while they were really cool, I realized I had much more important items I needed to buy like summer tires, coilovers, and some exterior pieces.

Here’s a rundown of what the car has been through in the last six months:


The exterior is definitely the aspect of the car that changed the most. I met someone on the Evo forums from Chicago that had an Evo IX front bumper, so I traded him my VIII front for it. It was banged up and needed a new lip, but it had all of the grills intact. I picked up a new OEM SE lip from Russell at MitsubishiParts.net, had both pieces painted, and put them on the car.

After the front was swapped, I decided the weather was nice enough to put the Work CR Kais and Hankooks on, despite only being on lowering springs. This was a temporary look until I had the time to put the coilovers on:

Next came the KW V3 coilovers with Cusco camber plates, which I guess are not technically an exterior item, but that’s OK.

I was much happier with the look of the car when the coilovers went on. It also made the car even more fun to drive, so I couldn’t complain about that! Thanks again to Peter and KW for hooking me up with these.

The next item added was a pair of JDM Evo VIII MR headlights:

This is the point I had told myself I would be happy with when I bought the car back in November, thinking it would take me much longer to get to this stage. Well, if you know me at all, you know that I tend to change my tune rather quickly with these types of things. Before I knew it, I had Voltex side skirts and a Voltex front lip sitting on my door step, courtesy of Mike at Evasive Motorsports.

Voltex aero is often criticized in the Evo community for being too “common.” While there are Evos across the country with Voltex aero, I would hardly call it something you see every day. Despite its reputation, I really like the Voltex look best, so that’s the route I decided to go. JDM Ego Jay’s previous Evo builds are both a big inspiration to me, so there was some influence there as well.

Around the same time, my genuine JDM rear bumper arrived from MitsubishiParts.net. I also scored a Voltex CF exhaust shield to go with it from Evasive as well. I had everything painted and tossed it on the car:

I was pretty stoked with the transformation to this look, but it was apparent that the rear was a bit out of balance. So I hit up Evasive once again and ordered a genuine Voltex rear diffuser to even things out:

A pair of OEM window visors also made their way onto the car:

The next additions included a pair of blue tint Ganador super aero mirrors and a genuine OEM vortex generator. I was always torn on those things, but I think I ended up liking it.

After spending a bit of time with the front lip, in typical Damon fashion I decided it just wasn’t doing it for me. I ended up selling the IX front and Voltex front lip to fund a Voltex street full replacement front bumper. It just arrived last week and should be out of paint soon!

I’m planning to add a Voltex wing to finally finish the exterior off. I’ll probably end up adding the front canards too, but we’ll see. I can’t wait to be content with the exterior and lose this feeling of it being incomplete. I could see changing wheels next season as usual, but I also like the current set- so we’ll see what happens.

So that’s how the exterior sits now. I’ll check in next to bring you up to speed on the changes to the bay and interior since my last post in February. Those changes are far more minimal, but there are a couple cool things worth reading. Thanks for stopping by!


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A Little Progress…

Slowly but surely making a little progress on the Evo. I installed my ARC upper intercooler pipe after the couplers arrived the other day, and I am really happy with the look now. I just need to replace my battery this weekend (it’s five years old- and yellow) and clean the bay up a bit. Winter is really making it look nasty under there.

I also installed my HKS Kansai CF timing belt cover that I found on SoCalEvo.net. Awesome little piece!

The stock timing belt cover turned out to be cracked, so I was kind of glad I replaced it.

One quick pic after installing the UICP:

Toby Broadfield is more or less done with my custom gauge pod, so I went ahead and ordered the necessary fittings to install my Defi oil pressure and oil temp sensors. Toby is a crazy perfectionist- I am so excited to see this piece. He’s going to paint my ash tray and shifter trim for me as well to ensure that everything matches flawlessly. Here’s a teaser shot he sent me:

Oil sensor fittings:

Lastly, I picked up a Works Bell SPLASH short hub and Rapfix II quick release for a crazy good deal from the gent that I got the HKS Kansai timing cover from out in Cali. Don’t really need the quick release, but I got both for less than the short hub usually sells for, so I couldn’t resist. Hopefully I can get this in the car sometime soon- maybe when I install the other interior components.

We got some snow a couple of days ago- not as much as forecasted, but I’m still really enjoying having a fun car to drive in the winter. At this point, I’m really ready for spring time and some warmer weather!

Thanks for reading- really trying to keep this up to date! Appreciate it.


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