The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, in its eighth generation, was the first vehicle to give the U.S. a taste of the legendary rally car for the street. The rest of the world had already been enjoying it since the early ‘90s. While the Evolution X that followed improved on the car with more power and technology. The favorites (my personal favorites as well) always land on the VIII and IX. Now nearly 15 years after the last IX went out of production, the prices have of course increased, and they’ve become even harder to find.
Never intended for mass production, only 21,047 Evo VIII and IX are said to have been made, making them even more elusive for prospective buyers. Looking through various car buying websites I found handfuls for sale: Cargurus found only 21 for sale nationwide; Autotrader found 15 and Cars.com found just three. Don’t think about going to Bring A Trailer either. As of writing this, there is one live auction of a 2006 Evolution VIII MR, sitting with a current bid of $25,000.
An analysis of BaT auction results from the last six years shows just how much Evo prices have increased. In 2015, an Evo VIII RS sold for $26,000, and at the beginning of October of this year, an Evo IX MR with just 852 miles on it that sold for $82,000. That’s a solid $56,000 difference in prices in less than a decade.
We know the whole used car market is terrible right now, but that in no way excuses the price hikes on these cars. Many Evolutions are selling for as much or more than their original $35,000 to $37,000 MSRPs (but if you do factor in inflation some of these prices are on point). Cheaper, as always, gets you more miles of course.
Take this 2003 Evolution VIII. While it may appear like a bargain at $21,999, you have to contend with over 154,000 miles on the odometer. Under 100,000 miles increases prices dramatically. Expect to pay stupidly high prices, often for examples that are priced according to whatever mods the dealer or previous owner installed.
MR’s always take the top tier of expensive Evos pricing as well. For example, this 2006 Evo VIII MR for sale in Washington has just under 38,000 miles the dealer is asking $48,000.
Another dealer in Scottsdale, AZ has three Evos in their inventory. All IXs with two of them MR trims. The highest-priced is a 2006 with just over 37,000 miles on it, and it’s modded to the hilt. The dealer claims it’s a street-legal “8-second car,” wit mods described as “big ticket items.” It could mean this car is worth its $56,000 asking price, but only to the right person.
Any way you go about it you’re going to pay a steep price for a nice Evolution. And unfortunately like many other JDM icons, these things are getting harder and harder to find, especially stock. Mods no one asked for are only enabling dealers to overcharge for nice examples. Evolutions have always been great, but at these prices, I would see a Lancer in my future before anything else.