Project EVO IX Part 5: ARK Designs and Mitsubishi Products

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 JDM EVO IX Bumper Cover
 The JDM EVO IX Bumper cover looks a lot better and traps less air for better aerodynamics.

To shave some weight off of project EVO and to clean up its looks, we installed a JDM EVO IX bumper cover, sourcing it from Gruppe-S.  The part comes pre-painted and matched our car perfectly.  The EVO IX has a more angular front bumper that matches the sharp creases of the body better than the rounded EVO XIII bumpers.  The US model only got the front IX bumper while retaining the rounded rear XIII bumper, something that looked less than desirable to us.  The JDM bumper is angular and matches the front bumper and the overall car’s styling better.  The JDM bumper is also cut higher on the bottom and thus doesn’t trap air like the older bumper does.  Dave Buschur has noted higher trap speeds in the ¼ mile with the IX bumper, probably due to less drag.

AFTERHOURS AUTOMOTIVE EVO JDM bumper brace
The Afterhours Automotive rear bumper is full of nice construction details, made of Tig welded chrome moly tubing it has dimple die gussets and closed tube ends.  It is 12 lbs lighter than the stock part.

A drawback to the JDM bumper is that it does away with the rear bumper support.  Although it is heavy, we do prefer to have some protection for the rear of the car in case of an accident.  After studying a JDM manual, we determined that Japanese cars don’t have rear bumper beams!  We didn’t think not having bumper reinforcement was acceptable so we took our car to Afterhours Automotive where Brian Kono built us a very trick rear bumper beam from strong and lightweight chrome moly tubing.

Afterhours Automotive JDM rar bumper brace
Most people do not run a brace under the JDM bumper cover.  This is just asking for severe problems in even the slightest accident.  The stock bumper brace also helps with chassis stiffness so it’s wise to have some sort of brace.

The bumper beam has twin tubes for full underbumper coverage and is reinforced with cool dimple die punched plates.  The dimpled holes shave weight and improve the part’s stiffness.  The tube ends are fully finished.  All the welding is beautiful tig.  The beam looks like the trick race car part that it is.  It is also light, weighing in at about 9 lbs, shaving about 12 lbs off of the rear of the car over stock while probably ending up somewhat stronger than the stock part.  The beam is so nice; it’s a pity to cover it up with the bumper cover!  The bumper beam also ties the rear frame rails together, improving torsional stiffness.

Afterhours JDM Bumper brace for EVO
The Afterhours Automotive rear bumper brace accommodates the license plate mounts and light.  It also has a bracket to support the rear part of the bumper so it won’t flap.

Most people leave the lower part of the JDM rear bumper cover unsupported to where it can flap in the wind, not too sano.  The Afterhours brace solidly mounts the lower part of the bumper cover to the brace using the factory holes that are already there.  The brace also accommodates the rear license plate bracket and light as the JDM bumper doesn’t have a way to mount these parts.  Although this was a custom piece, if you want one, Afterhours built a jig off our piece and is selling them for a very reasonable price, about the same cost as a new stock factory bumper beam.

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