Before the Lancer Evolutions and Impreza STIs took over the rally racing scene all over the world, it was the era of the Mitsubishi Galant and the Subaru Legacy.
Originally built to participate and dominate the "Group A World Rally Championships", the Galant VR-4 was replaced by the Lancer Evolution in the later years. However, Mitsubishi continued to make VR-4 for the next few generations of Galants up until 2002.
The Galant VR-4 being featured this week is the eighth generation and also the last generation of the Galant to receive the magical touches from Mitsubishi and is owned by Dr Sarwar Hussain Chowdhury - a name very well known to the car community of Bangladesh.
While this Galant is a proper Type S VR-4 today, it did not start its life with a four-wheel drivetrain from the Mitsubishi factories of Japan though. Rather, it was a regular front wheel drive 2.5L V6 Galant which Dr Sarwar purchased in 2012 to keep as a daily beater.
So, how did it end up going from a big old sedan to a road legal rally car? We asked.
"Although everything under the hood was mint when I first got the Galant, its exterior definitely required some cosmetic attention, so I started looking for body parts in Malaysia.
While getting the body parts, the seller suggested that I go for a CKD (Completely Knocked Down) VR-4 as that would actually make more sense. That is when the idea of converting the Galant to a VR-4 came to my mind," said Dr Sarwar during an interview with team Wheels.
Having owned several project cars including a few Mitsubishi Evolutions such as the Evo IV and the Evo V both of which he only recently built back then, Dr Sarwar was already quite experienced in this field.
Hence, sourcing parts and doing a convert was not his biggest challenge.
"It was a pleasant surprise to see how the VR-4 was such a better and easier conversion. I went from a naturally-aspirated engine to turbo and the AWD conversion was bolt on," said Dr Sarwar.
Although the Galant had stopped participating in races and rally events, it came equipped with quite amazing features and power ratings for its time.
With a 0 - 60 mph (96.5 kmph) time of 5.7 seconds, the Type S VR-4 Galant Dr Sarwar drives cannot necessarily be called slow.
280 hp from a twin turbo 2.5L V6 engine paired with an INVECS-II automatic transmission sourced from Porsche is enough for the 1,500 kg luxury sports sedan.
Other notable features include the Active Yaw Control (AYC), a group of sensors used to control understeer, that Mitsubishi used to put in the rally participating Evos at that time.
"I love driving the Galant," answered Sarwar when asked how the Galant drives, "It is very well planted to the ground and handles really well. Yes, you do feel its weight at times but overall; it is more livable than my Evos. That is why I drove it daily ever since the conversion until I got my Evo X."
"The 6A13 engine with its twin turbo sounds great. It is the most responsive engine I have experienced till date, next to the K20A of the Civic Type R," he added.
The Galant comes equipped with the same automatic transmission from the Lancer Evo VII GTA which can safely handle 350 whp (wheel horsepower). However, this particular VR-4's timing has been slightly tuned down instead to compensate for the poor fuel quality in Bangladesh.
Moreover, the small stock turbos only max out at 330 hp so going for more power will need a turbo injector and intercooler upgrade. However, Dr Sarwar plans to keep the car stock unlike his other project cars and wants to preserve its luxury sports sedan appeal.
Despite being a stock car, such high power does come with some complicacies as well as challenges.
According to Dr Sarwar, maintaining the Galant's brakes is the biggest challenge. The stock brakes are definitely not enough for such a heavy and powerful car. However, it is easy to swap the Evo Brembo brakes into the car and that gets the job done perfectly.
When asked of Dr Sarwar's future plans for his Galant, he said, "Well, the Galant has served me for about eight years. It has pretty much been the most reliable car I have owned. But I own too many project cars at the moment and the new AIT structure is making it more difficult for me than ever before. I am probably going to let it go. I need new seals for the turbo. Once I get those replaced, I will start replying to interested parties."