Team Hybrid's Mike Gutierrez Discusses Mitsubishi Evolution X and the Car Modification Culture

Having recently removed the backseat for his car Gutierrez says his modification jones is getting pretty serious.
Having recently removed the backseat for his car Gutierrez says his modification jones is getting pretty serious.

Over 18 years ago, January 7, 1995 to be precise, Oxnard, California's James Lin had an epiphany, an automotive apparition as it were. Lin envisioned a new kind of car club, one that perpetuated family and friendship, and adhered to fundamental principles like honor, trust and patience. The manifestation of Lin's dream became Team Hybrid.

"I've been in different car clubs in the past, but I always felt a certain ingredient was missing," Mike Gutierrez remarked. "I still remember the day in April of 2013 when Jesse Ramirez, recruiter and webmaster for Team Hybrid called to extend the invitation for me to join Team Hybrid. The feeling was like being called up from the minor leagues to the majors. I felt like I had found a home. Team Hybrid is like no other car organization and it's well respected within the car enthusiasts' realm. My participation with Team Hybrid, simply put, is to be involved with and promote the team. I attend meetings, help set up/break down at events, transport equipment, and offer 'hybrid luv' to other members through assistance, etc. We're a family."

Gutierrez said he was honored to display EVO X for AEM at the 2013 SpoCom car show.
Gutierrez said he was honored to display EVO X for AEM at the 2013 SpoCom car show.

Team Hybrid is open to everyone of any age, gender or ethnicity - hence the term hybrid. The clear common thread connecting members is their unbridled enthusiasm and passion for the vehicle they own. "The vehicles we build become hybrids in that they are modified with other distinctive parts inside and out, displaying each member's personal creativity," explains Gutierrez. "There is a bond that is formed between all the members and a willingness to answer a shout out for help."

Gutierrez's ride of choice is a Mitsubishi EVO X. "It was used in the World Rally Championship and it continues to be a major weapon of choice for competition in various motorsports," says Gutierrez. "As a kid I fell in love with the Evolution 4. The Evolution platform is a really well thought out car. It has specific mounting points for adding different equipment. It feels good to the driver's hands. And, although it's been tamed for the road, the sound of engine with the turbo spooling begs you to accelerate."

"Getting my EVO X to where it is now took a lot of work! There was a lot of sweat, love, hate and busted knuckles. But it's all for the love of the car. I've done suspension, wheels, exhaust, and exterior and interior modifications - and I'm not done yet. Now I'm taking my back seat out, so yeah, it's getting pretty serious (ha-ha). My goal for this year is to finish up my exterior and some of my interior."

Mike Gutierrez love affair with Mitsubishi Evolution family started when he was just a kid.
Mike Gutierrez love affair with Mitsubishi Evolution family started when he was just a kid.

Gutierrez displayed his EVO X at the 2013 SpoCom car show in Anaheim, California on behalf of AEM. "The AEM products I'm using are the Intercooler with upper and lower piping, intake and strut bar. I've found these AEM products to be very compatible with my EVO, they're easy to bolt on and didn't take long to install. They are a lot more efficient than the original manufacturer's components. I strongly recommend AEM products. And being a part of the AEM booth car at Spocom was the cherry on top. In addition, I also placed second for best Mitsubishi at Extreme Autofest in San Diego this year."

Gutierrez started honing his modification chops on his very first ride, a 1999 Ford Escort with a dual exhaust, oversized tachometer and LED strips inside, underneath the dash; including type R badges. Looking back he admits it's one of those slap-on-the-forehead moments for him now, adding "I can't believe I did that!" As the years rolled forward Gutierrez got wiser and his technique evolved. "I attended automotive schools and became educated about the dos and don'ts regarding modifying cars, and I continue to learn from good people. My first real build was my 1992 Nissan 240 SX. I'll never forget her."

"I will be making an appearance and joining my other fellow hybrid brothers in the Las Vegas chapter at the End of Summer Showcase Saturday, August 17, 2013. A week later I will be back in Los Angeles with my team at the Freeway Series When We Come Together as One in Pasadena on Sunday, August 25, 2013."

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