One mod we’re all guilty (not limited to car people) of is painting brake calipers. It’s a universally accepted rice mod, that’s easy, cheap and can give any boring car instant swag. Ask anyone what’s one thing that makes a sporty car and red brake calipers among a spoilers, wings, wheels and bucket seats are likely answers. Why red calipers? Because Racecar, Brembo and Red Ferraris.
In 1998, when Mitsubishi released the CP9A chassis ( EVO 5 - 6 ) it blew people’s mind for its performance and outrageous functional rally styling. However with its low production volume to meet homologation rules for Group A Rally. Only a select handful were lucky enough to park one in the garage, most had to settle for a Mitsubishi Lancer with an Evolution styled body kit.
Being in our early teens in the late 90s, we weren’t lucky enough to be in either group. We were catching the bus to school and riding our push bikes on the weekend. The EVO 5-6 was a rare beast among the body-kitted Lancers- thanks to the beginning of the Autosalon era. But you could always spot the legit ones from the posers, thanks to the massive red 4-pot calipers and white Brembo stickers. When you saw those bad boys you knew you had seen something special.
Simon’s car is a great example of clean, unmolested EVO 6 with basic mods. He came to us wanting to see if we could help him with the EVO's 20-year old brakes. How hard could it be to rebuild and repaint? They had thick layer of brake dust on them but were in generally good shape… so we thought.
The plan was to remove the calipers, clean off the brake dust, remove any flaky clear coat, correct any surface imperfections, repaint and install new brake seals.- Done.
After removing the calipers from the car, we drained the brake fluid and scrubbed off the brake dust, we got this…
Someone already had a go painting the calipers.
Before we could prep the surface, the old paint needed to be removed. We use paint stripper to soften the paint and a wire wheel to take off the old paint, exposing a raw alloy finish. We also used the wire wheel to clean all the mounting gear such as the pins, tabs, clips and bleed nipples
Most DIY guys only paint the outer surface, however being a full rebuild, we also wanted to paint the inner surface. We disassemble the caliper shell (housing) to gain access to the inner surface, which allowed the use of a wire brush to remove the paint from the inner surface. This was by far the most time-consuming part of the rebuild, next time we will be sending them off to get sand blasted! SANDING SUCKS!
We use a high-temp premier, 2K automotive paint, and a heatproof-fade proof, wear resistance urethane based clear coat for the calipers. This should now last the life of the car.
While we were at it, we also installed a set of INTIMA brake pads and HEL Braided brake lines.
John: The first time I saw an EVO 6, I was 14 years old. I was walking home from a friends house and I saw this silver car with a massive wing (liked the one pictured) parked on a busy street. I saw it’s tail lights and instantly knew it was a Lancer but didn’t pay too much attention as they were so many body-kitted Lancers going around. It wasn’t until I walked passed it, the corner of my eyes caught a glimpse of Red and I stopped dead in my tracks. Red Brembos? Check. Recaro seats? Check. Front mount intercooler? Check… HOLY CRAP did I just see a unicorn? I wasn’t much of a Mitsubishi or a Subaru guy - I liked my Toyotas but if I had to choose between the two, back then I would have said Mitsubishi because of the 3000GT in Gran Turismo and Jackie Chan! The EVO was super rare then which also made it just somewhat cooler compared to the STI.