Kiwi Rally star Hayden Paddon is underway in restoring his title winning Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX that he dubbed the ‘Green Machine’.
The Green Machine powered Paddon to the 2008 and 2009 NZ Rally Championship titles. Then in 2010, Paddon piloted the Lancer to the Production World Rally Championship category of Rally New Zealand. He followed up his victory with podium placings in Finland and Germany.
Paddon would switch to a STR11 Subaru Impreza N4 in 2011 before making his debut with Hyundai Motorsport three seasons later.
But late last month as the lockdown boredom began to kick in, Paddon began work to restore the Lancer. The kiwi saying he is relishing the opportunity to rebuild the car that helped him launch his career to WRC success.
“We built it as a brand-new car with our own team in 2008,” Paddon told Rallysport Magazine. “We built it as a full Group N car. We then won the 2008 and 2009 New Zealand Championships in it but winning the Pirelli Star Driver nomination on the 2009 Rally Australia was the big moment.
“That was a million-dollar (NZ dollar) prize for six rounds of the World Rally Championship in PWRC. As well as the Pirelli drives in an Evo X, we used the Green Machine on Rally New Zealand, where I took my first PWRC win, and Rally Japan where we finished second.”
The Lancer was wounded in a crash a couple of years later when a ball joint broke during a testing run.
“The car got totally rebuilt after that,” he said, “and we competed and won the 2013 NZ Championship, running it in Group A-spec – this was our gap year in WRC.”
But Paddon is enjoying the restoration, saying it is far from an entire rebuild but more akin to ‘pre-season rebuild’.
“The car is in good condition, it’s just a matter of doing a pre-season rebuild to make it like new. I’m going to touch-up all the paint, polish all the bolts and generally rebuild it. The car will be driveable, but I won’t use in competition again.
“It’s a car that means a lot to us and we’ll want to keep it in this condition.”