Cast your minds back a decade or so, if you will, to what looked like being a resurgence for Japanese performance. The Nissan GT-R was officially in the UK, claiming scalps all over the place like an Inglorious Basterd; the 370Z had replaced the 350Z and was winning fans; and after lukewarm beginnings, both the Mitsubishi Evo X and Impreza hatch had more interesting variants available. We even saw the FT-86 concept from Toyota in 2009, at the Tokyo motor show, hinting at a promising future for the rear-drive Japanese sports car.
Seems a lifetime ago now, doesn't it? The GT-R still offers an experience like no other, but at considerably more money than what it once cost, the 370Z feels like an old sports car, and the rivalry between Impreza and Evo seems about as distant a memory as Oasis and Blur battling for number one on Top of the Pops. Still, while the cars aren't new anymore, there's plenty to discuss around the Subaru and Mitsubishi as modern classics.
While the Impreza died with a bit of a whimper - fluorescent yellow calipers and some badges marking the Final Edition - Mitsubishi was not going to let its icon die off so meekly. The FQ-440 was its valedictory special, a car that ostensibly marked 40 years of Mitsubishi in the UK but also served to remind everyone how utterly berserk the Evo could still be. The X was meant to be the most mature and refined Evo yet created, which irked a few enthusiasts; 220hp per litre aimed to ensure that its legacy was more fondly remembered.
Beyond the power, the anniversary car received Alcon brakes, BBS wheels, Eibach springs and Recaro seats. Just 40 came over here, and they cost £50,000 each - one for the serious collectors only. But what a way to go.
Five years isn't a long time in the grand history of the automobile, yet look what's happened since the 440's introduction. There's now a replacement A45 AMG, as well as another four-wheel drive, turbocharged A-Class with a bit less power; the Golf R has redefined expectations for a VW hot hatch; two Civic Type Rs have proven what's possible with front-wheel drive and the M135i has introduced a whole new audience to straight-six, rear-drive BMW thrills - then gone off sale.
There's a danger, therefore, that an Evo might feel a bit old hat, but also a suspicion that its way of doing things might have a timeless appeal, in much the same way as the STI. This much performance in a chassis that's proven itself so well suited to the UK promises to be a huge amount of fun.
Whether it'll be £35k of fun, however, is down to the prospective buyers. Certainly it's a healthy saving off the list price - just about a pound a mile in depreciation, actually - but there's no denying the plethora of alternative Evos at less money. This FQ-360, for example, is just £19k.
That said, none of the other regular Evos will have the limited edition cachet, nor the performance, of the mighty 440. Given its provenance the final Evo should always be in demand from the committed few, even if it's value may still drop a bit. Imagine how mad it's going to seem in another five years' time...
SPECIFICATION - MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO X FQ-440 MR
Engine: 1,998cc four-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 446@6,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 412@3,100rpm
MPG: Probably very few
CO2: Probably very many
First registered: 2014
Recorded mileage: 15,000
Price new: £50,000
Yours for: £35,995