Sunday Column: Ram Kanadia’s – Tommi’s Back

In recent years or even months there has been a substantial increase in the demand for the rather ‘old school’ Ford Cosworths and E30 M3s. Everything from that era seems to have firmed up in values, largely due to the shortage of well maintained, straight UK vehicles. If anything, on my recent search for a RS500 Cosworth, prices can easily exceed the value of a modern day Ferrari. This did put me off the concept of a fast Ford and I spent some time looking for other alternatives.
First on the list is a Mitsubishi, the Evolution model range has always been popular with the young boy racers but the older, rarer cars are becoming increasingly difficult to get hold of. One model in particular still impresses me and that is the Evo VI Tommi Makinen. This Limited Edition model was produced to honour Mr Makinens fourth World Rally Championship Title in what many enthusiasts believe to be the best Evolution model ever. Furthermore, just over 200 Official UK cars were made available with a small percentage still remaining in the country.
Regardless of its Limited Edition status, and rarity, the car itself is very unique and nothing like the sort of car that can be found on the roads of the UK any longer. First launched in the year 2000 it was a car everybody wanted and always commanded a premium over other Evo models, even the Evo IX can be had for less money than a pristine Tommi. What made the Evo visually exciting were the decals which were no cost options, and larger bumpers housing huge ducts for the air intake. The rear spoiler was also somewhat larger and very in keeping with the characteristics of the car. Power seems to vary from car to car as many have been modified to various degrees at various stages of their life – it was said that in standard trim 275 bhp was available but even at launch, most exceeded these quoted figures. Furthermore the car weights less than 1400kg which is about the same as a hot hatch of today’s world, but the car is generally rather small if you look past the larger than life body-kit. What’s more, 60 miles per hour came rather too quickly for some at a mind-blowing 4.5 seconds. With a bit of work, it’s not uncommon to see some achieve figures south of 4 seconds making it faster than a modern day Porsche. As with all Evolution models offered by Mitsubishi over the years, a big, loud, aggressive exhaust came as standard – the car was not for the faint hearted. Modern day equivalents are not Porsches however; rather a Renault R26.R would share much of the same DNA.
The Tommi Makinen Edition – more than just a name
With all these impressive figures, it’s no wonder that it was built to commemorate the four-time World Rally Champion, ‘Turbo’ Tommi Makinen. Makinen, a finish rally driver, defended his Champion status from 1996 to 1999, on all occasions driving the somewhat spectacular Evo, very similar to that which is produced here. Tommi, much to the benefit of Mitsubishi aided them to the 1998 World Constructors Title as well as winning the 2000 Race of Champions.
Even with successors, the Tommi Makinen edition is not over shadowed, it has its own following and that is reflected in the firm residuals that seem to be ever rising. £15,000 buys you the best Tommi or a very good FQ360 – the more modern car is obviously the better car. Everything is much more modern and the driving dynamics are in a league of their own but that is not the purpose of such a car. This car offers old school performance with enough Turbo lag to each your lunch between slamming the throttle and getting going, but once on the move you had better hold on. As such, brakes are its Achilles’ Heel – the huge performance causes discs to often warp under harsh braking conditions and occasionally noises are present from gearbox bearings. Most faults are well documented online, but that applies to all enthusiast cars of this nature. Nothing is more than a few clicks away.
 
Built to commemorate Tommi’s four-time World Rally Champion
The Tommi makes an appealing case for itself, it had many mechanical and cosmetic changes over the highly acclaimed standard Evo VI model it was based on. Furthermore the development of the up-rated Turbo, modified dampers and intercooler made it much more encouraging when applying throttle by using the many years of research from the motorsport success stories. It really is as good as all the reviews suggested all those years ago.
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