Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV: Horsepower Cartel's JDM build!
"You ever feel like you've been put on earth for a purpose? That was my purpose – cars,” says Santosh Parab. SJP, as he is commonly known, is not just another run-of-the-mill car enthusiast however. Along with one of his best buds, Ruel, the duo run Horsepower Cartel, a YouTube channel that lets petrolheads and car enthusiasts witness the supercar lifestyle from their living rooms. Putting out some of the coolest car videos you can find, Horsepower Cartel has just celebrated three years of existence recently. Talking about the beginning, SJP says, “When I would go out to car events, I used to put up stories and all, it was very entertaining. Everyone said we should really start documenting this.”
Growing up in America, Santosh had always been a self-professed car enthusiast. He used to intern at a friend’s car shop, flip cars, help out with sales and also get his fingers dirty on the shop floor. SJP would go on to own a series of Honda Civics, and he was heavily immersed in Philly’s street racing scene. Talking about his two-door Civic SI, he says, “That car got me into a lot of trouble.” SJP proceeds to narrate an instance of how he would evade the heat in his Civic, and it actually sounded like a scene straight out of Fast and Furious! “Looking back now and trying to put myself in those shoes again, I remember feeling ‘wow’. I never want to do that again, but that was amazing!”
After moving back to Mumbai in 2013, SJP would meet Ruel for the first time but it was only a couple of years later that the idea of starting a vlog struck. The first video of the Cartel would go live in December 2018, and Ruel mentions that the initial challenge of vlogging was immense, especially since he was using a DSLR that was more inclined to photography than video. But with each video, Ruel continues to outdo himself in terms of editing, now aided by better gear.
Talking about the videos themselves, Horsepower Cartel’s videos usually centre around car meetups in Mumbai, with the Sunday breakfast drive to grab Eggs Benedict and cold coffee at Bombay Coffee House now becoming a regular affair. SJP and Ruel love showcasing the car scene in all its glory and the videos reflect that perfectly, documenting the events from an enthusiast’s point of view. Be it American muscle cars parading through the city or a couple of enthusiasts taking delivery of their Mercedes-Benz G-Wagens, Horsepower Cartel has always been one for cool ideas. It doesn’t just stop there, with SJP vlogging about the cool cars back home during his visits to America. And if you watch the videos for long enough enough, you’ll also spot SJP’s dog, Shadow, make an appearance and give his sign of approval for the wheels in the garage.
Of course you cannot talk about Horsepower Cartel without mentioning the cars – and when it comes to SJP, the list is staggering. The first car that he owned in India was a Lancer Evo VI and over the years, the Horsepower Cartel garage has included the likes of the Nissan 300ZX, a BMW X5, an M3 E93, the M5 E60, a W140 S-Class, and a series of Lexuses including the GS 300 with a 2JZ under the hood! But what we have our attention focussed on is SJP’s beautifully-built Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV.
Unlike his Evo VI which was imported, this Evo IV wearing a battle-green paint scheme has actually been converted from a regular Lancer to an Evolution. SJP explains that there are different levels for these conversions as per the budget, with his car going the full monty – with the engine, interior, suspension and the exterior styling being swapped for Evo-spec ones. SJP’s Evo looks gorgeous with the Evolution decals, the JDM-spec yellow fog lamps and the hunkered down stance from the coilovers, complemented perfectly by the original Evo VIII wheels finished in bronze. For good measure, there’s also the carbon kevlar hood with a NACA duct up front and a massive spoiler at the back to prevent you from mistaking this for an ordinary riced-out Lancer.
Under the hood is where all the juicy stuff lies, with the action centred around the 2-litre 4G63T engine. It now runs a beefier GT30R ball bearing turbo with a boost controller to keep things in check. The Evo also gets a new ECU and the anchors have been upgraded, with 8-piston brakes up front and a 6-piston setup at the rear. The 4G63T is perfectly capable of putting out 500 horses on its own, but the rest of the components would have to be significantly upgraded to keep up with those kinds of outputs. SJP has also kept the boost pressure lower at around 14lbs for reliability, but that said, it is still effin’ quick for causing a riot on the streets of SoBo. Coupled with the sheer drama and aura of the turbo spooling up, you’d quickly be reminded why the Evo is still regarded as the JDM legend. “And an Evo has never left me stranded,” adds SJP, talking about the reliability.
The Evo IV is just one of the cars from SJP’s garage that simply catches your attention, and SJP adds that with the sort of celebrity status he and Ruel have achieved due to Horsepower Cartel, they’re guaranteed to be papped by fans whenever they head out, especially at events such as The Valley Run. “I’m in too deep, I can’t get out now,” chuckles SJP. While SJP likes to think of Horsepower Cartel as the underdogs, there’s no doubt that their videos are receiving the reach that is so well-deserved. “By the end of 2022, we’re hoping to grow to 100k subscribers,” adds Ruel, who continues to up his game when it comes to creating content for the channel. In the end, it’s just two best buds who are making it big with some really cool ’90s whips joining the party. And when it comes to ruling the Mumbai car scene, the duo behind Horsepower Cartel truly are the kings of the street.
Check out their YouTube channel here!