It seems like every automotive merch shop is giving away cars to build hype and sell more gear. Some of them seem super sketchy, but there are legit companies that gift real enthusiast vehicles to actual people. I was skeptical myself until I saw a high school classmate win a Ram TRX last summer, and he's been driving it around town ever since. Everything got more surreal, though, when he won a second car—a 2005 Mitsubishi Evo VIII—just this week.
His name is Yengshi Xiong, a 25-year-old from Noel, Missouri. I remember him driving an eighth-gen Civic Si when we were seniors, but now he's got somewhere around $120,000 worth of cars in his garage. Thing is, he only spent $150 or so on merch to get them both.
"For the TRX, I bought a t-shirt, a backpack, and a pledge pack," Xiong told me. "The pledge pack was $1 and it was a donation for veterans."
"They told me the winning entry wasn't from the backpack or t-shirt; it was from the donation," he added.
Xiong picked up the Hellcat-powered super truck from ENR Force in August 2022. He's put about 5,000 miles on it these days as Xiong's dad also drives it. They went together to take delivery of the TRX, and Xiong actually had a choice between it and a Ford F-150 Raptor. After flooring both trucks from a standstill, Xiong and his dad agreed on the 702-horsepower Ram.
"When I launched the TRX, it put him back in his seat," Xiong said. "We got out of the truck and he whispered, 'I want this one.'"
Flash forward six months or so and Xiong hit it big again. This time, he spent way less and still ended up with a coveted car. The Evo VII is believed to be a genuine MR model with a six-speed manual, making it even rarer.
"For the Evo, I bought a $5 digital picture that I could have screenshotted," Xiong joked.
He took delivery of it on Monday and has spent the past couple of days entertaining friends that have come to check it out. He says it's mostly stock with a few bolt-ons, though he didn't get a full mod list. Xiong says the Mitsubishi, which was gifted to him by Tuner Vision, is a solid 7/10 in terms of overall condition.
Prior to winning the Evo, Xiong had almost given up on owning a performance car. He had the truck, which works pretty much everywhere except tight parking spots, but owning lower cars can be tough in the middle of the country.
"I had to sell both of my Civics a few years back because I live on a dirt road," Xiong explained. The Evo and its rally-bred all-wheel drive system make a perfect fit, then. "Before, I thought about buying one. I was looking up GTRs and stuff. I saw these [giveaway] ads and I thought, 'Ah, let's try it. I'll give it a shot.' And I just kept winning!"
Xiong plans to keep the TRX and Evo VIII, at least for now. He's having fun with both, even though he's only been able to drive the Mitsubishi "like three times" so far. There's one thing you can bet at home: He's not gonna stop entering these raffles anytime soon.
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