Everyone remembers his or her first ride in a turbocharged car. If it was with a parent or friend or simply a chance spin around the block with an acquaintance at a car gathering, it’s hard to ignore the feeling of being pressed hard into the rear of your seat while hearing the psshh sound of air being force-fed throughout the turbo and into the engine’s throttle-body.
Although that first experience is a memorable one for most of us, it’s safe to say it was a total game changer for Walker Morgan. Walker’s first taste of boost came from a ’73 Datsun 240Z by using a 280ZX engine swap. From the time he felt what a turbocharged engine was capable of, he knew he had to have one for himself. Soon after this initial encounter, Walker picked up a ’77 Datsun 280Z of his own with the exact same turbocharged engine. This is when his love of boosted engines really began to blossom. So, much so, in reality, that he made a decision to leave his dreams of completing college to turn into a veterinarian to opt for pursuing an automotive-related career. Let’s just say that my initial plans to become a veterinarian went up in smoke, much like the tires on that old Datsun, he recalls.
Walker left college behind and picked up employment as a technician at a local Z-car performance shop. By both taking care of customer cars and his own, his knowledge and knowledge of turbocharger systems and engines generally began to grow. At the expense of several unfortunate short-blocks and drivetrain components as you go along, Walker had built himself a boosted Z that does not many other vehicles on the road could touch. I was absolutely dependent on the sound of a turbo spooling. From that point forward, Walker was never without having a turbocharged car. At some point he attempt to be happy with a ’97 BMW M3 by adding a few simple bolt-ons, but within the first six months of ownership, he had added a complete turbo setup on the car.a story like this minus the mention of one or more Mitsubishi vehicle. Walker ended up being a fan of Mitsus for a while, and also at one point he enjoyed the AWD and turbocharged combination provided by the Galant VR4. In the event the Lancer Evolution was ever offered inside the States, he knew he would have to have one. As we know, that dream became a reality for many Mitsubishi enthusiasts during the early 2000s. In 2004, Walker flew to Dallas to purchase the only Evolution without a sunroof within a 1,000-mile radius of his home. And just like that, the build was on.
With his new Evo home in the garage, Walker set out to build by far the most enjoyable car he has ever owned. The initial aspect of the car that would have to be addressed was, needless to say, the turbo setup. The stock turbo was ditched in favor of an HTA3076 T3 turbocharger, the centerpiece of any complete turbo kit designed and created by Walker’s own shop, Morgan Performance Fabrication. Additional supporting accessories from MPFab include a stunning and beautifully crafted 321 stainless-steel twin-scroll exhaust manifold, a 3.5-inch downpipe, and a custom intercooler core with piping.
With reliability and usable power being the key goals for this particular car, the engine internals were beefed up via MAPerformance rods, Wiseco standard-bore pistons, and ACL race bearings to ensure everything would hold together. Walker’s well-thought-out and designed setup nets 541 455 and whp wtq while using standard 93-octane pump gas, which he tuned himself via ECU flash. It could only detract from how usable the powerband is, although I’ve had brief stints where I thought about putting a larger turbo onto it and making ridiculous power. This allows me to drive kids to school, make passes at the dragstrip, or turn some quick laps times around a road course, Walker explains. Though he or she is still tweaking it in some places, the guts of this setup have been virtually unchanged since 2005-a proof ofgreater than 400 ponies to the pavement is only going to be as reliable as its drivetrain will allow. Although the Lancer Evolution is sometimes criticized for its rather fragile gearbox and drivetrain components, you won’t run into some of those durability issues here. Walker installed a famed ShepTrans rebuilt Evo VIII five-speed transmission, beefed up and fortified with adding an Evo IX First gear. A Spec single-disc push-conversion clutch kit filled with hydraulic release bearing as well as a Tilton clutch master cylinder was included in guarantee an effortless transfer of power in the engine for the wheels.
When turbo junkies set out to create a boosted monster, they generally overlook some very important aspects of a safe and well-handling car-much like the suspension and braking systems. Walker is certainly a meticulous builder who rarely skimps about the details when you haven’t caught on by now. This Evo has been outfitted with Baer Racing two-piece Eradi-Speed slotted brake rotors, Axxis ultimate brake pads, and stainless-steel brake lines on all four corners, bringing the fun to some halt quickly if the need arises. A set of Nitto NT05 tires provide a nice, sticky contact patch to enable the brakes to do their work effectively.
On the handling side of things, some Stance GR coilovers with 10K springs all around make for an Evo that handles even better than it did from the factory. A pair of pretty trick looking titanium DC Sports strut tower braces tie together important points on the chassis without adding a large weight penalty. Polyurethane bushings from AMS as well asobsessed with performance, Walker’s Evo is able to look damn good doing it. The exterior has been spiced on top of a variety of subtle components that most flow very nicely together. The large factory trunk spoiler has been ditched in favor of a much less conspicuous Rexpeed carbon-fiber lip spoiler, keeping airflow in check alongside the APR carbon-fiber rear diffuser. The carbon-fiber theme continues in front of the car via a set of Rexpeed front bumper ducts, a front lip spoiler, and a hood vent. A set of stunning Forgeline ZX3-R 18×9.5-inch wheels with titanium hardware nicely completes the car’s menacing appearance.
The cockpit on this Evolution is left virtually unchanged. The factory Recaro seats and MOMO steering wheel have been retained, and even the stock shift knob still resides here. Why mess with a good thing, right? One of the most noticeable addition to the interior is actually a Zeitronics wide-band AFR gauge and a trio of gauges from STRI to monitor important engine information. Should Walker ever tire of the noise of his turbo spooling (we doubt he will), an Alpine head unit, five-channel amplifier, and MB Quart 8-inch subwoofer provide some tunes after having a long day at the shop.
So there you have it. What began as a seemingly harmless ride in a friend’s turbo Datsun has blossomed into one beautifully crafted and well-performing Evo effective at daily daddy duty, tearing up the track, or winning a car show without a hiccup along the way. Walker’s obsession with boost may have turned his life plans upside down, but he has certainly managed to build a very successful fabrication business-and some awesome cars, this way one, along the way.455 and whp wtq (93-octane)
Special Thanks My Sharlotte, parents and Robert Morgan, for not disowning me as i said I found myself dropping out of college to travel work on cars; Ira Weissinger and Steve Whitaker of Foreign Automotive Technicians for sharing a great deal of knowledge regarding Z cars and helping me keep my first turbo car on the road; Reed Patridge of labor Turbochargers for giving me my first job building turbos and working on several of the baddest cars; Mywife and Kathryn, for believing in me enough to help me open my own shop; Phil Sohn for helping me get in this mag; Danny Spittery of Assaultech.com for hooking me with incredible pricing on go-fast parts; Danny Smith and David Norton of Spec for providing me using the clutch.