In a world of seemingly cookie cutter cars (oh yes I did!), it is getting increasingly difficult to differ and stand out from the masses. Being different isn’t the only thing we strive for with our builds, but the majority of us would rather be seen as someone pushing the limits of taste while still having a car that everyone will enjoy looking at. When it comes to the all mighty EVO/STI crowd (for the most part), the last thing they want to see or hear is air suspension. This is exactly where Matt from Portland, Oregon comes in to tell everyone to get over the whole “ruined rally car” stereotype.

Photos By: Kee May exclusively for

That’s right, the term “ruined rally car” gets tossed around on every AWD biased forum on a daily basis. Whether it be from being too low static or god forbid being on air suspension, the computer chair warriors invade the threads of people like Matt Van, the owner of this incredibly dope EVO IX, with nothing good to say about the work or finesse that has been put into the car. Essentially every computer chair warrior from the AWD biased forums lives in the mountains, on a World Rally Championship track, or in a forest deep in the land of “we don’t go to work we just mod our cars and race them on hopes and dreams”.

Like many of us, Matt’s EVO started out as his dream car so there was no doubt he wanted to take it to another level. The lowest possible level at that. His EVO is dumped on a full D2 Racing air suspension kit, with a set of front camber bolts and rear lower control arms to get those alignment specs out to where we all like them to be.

A nice interior is always great to see. What’s great about interiors is that they show the individuality of the owner even more than the exterior of the car. Matt’s EVO is fitted with a 6 point roll cage powder coated a deep blue that give the car a nice functional look. Matt has a clear JDM bubble shift knob sitting up next to the quick release steering wheel that just flows perfectly with the car. He even has a nice set of Bride seats in place of the factory Recaro’s and Defi gauges that fit perfectly in place without bringing us back to the year 2001 when our all time favorite movie came out.

Even bone stock, the EVO is no stranger to being first off the line at the stop lights. Matt’s got some nice engine mods to ensure this thing is a blast to drive around town, and even on the track (if he chooses to take it there). Performance additions like a Turbo XS FMIC, HKS ssqv blow off valve, manual boost controller, walboro fuel pump, K&N carbon fiber intake & big radiator with samco hoses. It’s also got a full 3 inch straight pipe exhaust into ISIS tips. The EVO is running a stage 2 tune and I am willing to bet that this thing is essentially the perfect daily driver; quick and perfect for those frustrating interstate off-ramps, and at the same time, low and slow.

A common misconception about air suspension is that everyone who is on air rides sky high and parks low. With the advances in today’s air suspension technology it is essentially the exact same as riding on a coilover (depending on your setup of course). I’ve personally been in an EVO with the exact same air setup and it is stiffer on bags then it was on coilovers! Matt doesn’t drive his car “donked out” as you can see above. It is still very capable of riding around with great wheel fitment, and of course airing out to tuck those tires and even parts of wheels!

[toggle_item title=”Wheels/Tires/Suspension” active=”true”]jdm ix front bumper with lip
jdm rear bumper
jdm trunk lip
custom painted headlights
custom painted red tails
rain guards w rear visor
[toggle_item title=”Exterior” active=”false”]front camber bolts
rear camber lower control arms
d2 full air ride
ssr veilside w custom adapters
[toggle_item title=”Interior” active=”false”]broadway mirror
jdm bubble shift
white quick release steering wheel
NRG hub
bride seats
defi gauges
6 point roll cage
[toggle_item title=”Engine” active=”false”]3″ straight piped into a isis tip (no cats)
stage 2 comp clutch
stage 2 tune
turbo xs fmic
hks ssqv bov
manual boost controller
walbro fuel pump
k&n carbon fiber intake
aluminum spark plug cover
aluminum exhaust manifold cover
larger radiator with samco hoses