None of this mattered to the throngs that crowded every parking lot at MMNA headquarters, as well as neighboring parking lots. The vast majority of Mitsubishis onhand were Evos, and almost all of those were modified in some way or another. There were too many Evo clubs packed into the lot to name them all: SoCal Evos, San Diego Evos, Advance Motorsports (Reppin’ The Eastside since ’92), Team Elevate and 5150 Racing, Team REV, Empire, Team Emperor Motorsports, evasive motorsports, Team Elevate, Lost Motorsports, and others that might have been one-off stickers from individual owners (Lone Wolf No Club).

As they do every year, a list of distinguished judges picked a Best in Show and the People also had a People’s Choice.

The People’s Choice was a car that everyone called “The Mad Max Car,” a post-apocalyptic Evo that was ready to take on the worst the Imortan Joe could dish out. That was a surprise. The owner “had to go to work,” but left the car for all to admire. They’re going to ship the award to him.

First runner up among Best in Show was Brien Murphy’s 1993 base-model 3000GT. It had Lambo doors, a massive sound system and polished aluminum and stainless steel under the hood – “No chrome!” he said.

Best in Show was Andres Hernandez’ Evo, which he calls “Weekend Warrior.” It had a Cobb Stage 3 engine tune and various tuner parts from Mishimoto and Roush. But it was the exterior that caught the judges’ collective eye.

“It’s an air-brushed car,” said judge and journalist Aaron Gold. “Not that there’s anything wrong with wraps but in this age it’s far more common to see wraps. (Hernandez) really put his own personality into the car.”

“Ninety five percent of the cars we saw had factory paint or a wrap,” said fellow judge and journalist Vince Bodiford. “We saw maybe five good paint jobs out there.”

The paint job, by airbrush artist Oscar Mendoza, was a web of ancient Toltec snakes, with bright red airbrushed eyes that looked like rubies.

“It’s a celebration of my heritage,” said Hernandez.

Even after winning best in show, Hernandez still has plans for the car, with the same patterns to be worked into the fabric of the interior. We hope to see him and the car next year.

Indeed, what will next year be like? This year there was still an Evo for sale in the Mitsubishi lineup, our Final Edition. Next year there won’t be. The marque will have to carry on with a couple crossovers and the Mirage. The faithful will remain faithful, we think. Their enthusiasm looks eternal, or at least until 2020 when we see what’s coming from the new alliance.

“It’s not something that you can make people feel,” said Mitsubishi’s marketing director Francine Harsini, speaking of the passion of Mitsubishi owners. “We had (another manufacturer) here last year trying to see what it was that made people so passionate about their cars. It makes you proud to see it in our owners.”