You may have spotted the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Tommi Makinen edition with only 7000kms that did the rounds on Facebook and Instagram last night. Touted as the 'ULTIMATE Mitsubishi Lancer Evo TME edition' and 'Grade 4 mint condition', we hope this feature will help uncover the importance of a thorough physical inspection before deciding to part with your hard earned cash...

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On first impression this grade 4B Passion red Tommi Makinen with a documented 7000kms from new could be seen as the 'ultimate' example. But as we all know appearances can be deceiving. With very little digging clues start emerging on the general condition of this TME.

This is the auction sheet translation that came back from our team in Japan...

Auction sheet translation:

  • 3503 Lancer / Hanaten
  • Trade in car
  • Documented mileage of 7,170 kms
  • Standard front, side, rear aero parts
  • Standard alloys and rear wing
  • 5 speed
  • Momo steering wheel
  • Part of exterior faded
  • Door trim loose
  • Seats are faded
  • Underbody corrosion, cracks, painted
  • No mention of books to be sent afterwards
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You no doubt spotted it already but the main concern at this point is the underside of the car. Its very rare to have an auction sheet that doesn't state some rust underneath but the term 'corrosion' and 'painted' always raises more serious concerns. At this point we're faced with a decision, is it worth inspecting? On this occasion being such a unique example we deemed it more than worthy and decided to send our guys down to take a look. This is what they found...

Inspectors comments:

  • Rear fender paint is bad, needs repaint
  • Trunk floor has corrosion hole
  • N/S rear chassis leg is very rusty
  • Exterior sticker has tears
  • Engine and Transmission are ok
  • Corrosion around bonnet duct 
  • Left front fender has corrosion
  • Right front fender top has corrosion
  • Oil pan has corrosion
  • Water in tail lamp
  • Door trim is loose
  • Seat has colour fade

Apart from the general poor condition reported back for such a low mileage and seemingly high grade example the nail in the coffin is the 'very rusty' N/S rear chassis leg. There will be those that argue that the above is all fixable but this will undoubtedly come at a substantial cost especially when you're dealing with corrosion. What can be seen on the surface often means a whole lot more once you start exploring further.

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Our real purpose of this post is to highlight the perils of simply going off an auction sheet. There are plenty of buyers and importers willing to take the risk but in our opinion its an extremely dangerous game. This TME still sold for just under 3,800,000 JPY at auction which equates to circa £28,000 hammer at today's exchange rate and £39,000 GBP into Southampton docks. Question is, did the buyer get it thoroughly inspected beforehand?

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