In past years, we haven’t found a lot of JNC-worthy material at Mitsubishi Owners Day. Ninety-nine percent of the cars there were white Evos, parked in formation like some kind of Galactic Empire land fleet. This year, however, there were all sorts of interesting offerings from the triple diamond clan.
Right off the bat we came across a rare second-gen Mitsubishi Galant badged as a Dodge Colt.
Naturally, there were the requisite 3000GTs and Dodge Stealths, as well as their predecessor counterparts, the Starion and Chrysler Conquest. Notably, the trend these days is to keep the bodies close to stock. Gone are most of the Wings West kits from the Tuner Era heyday, a development we approve of.
A few Galant VR4s were expected, with one looking particularly tidy on flat-dish Watanabes. Even some of the grocery getter models enticed the lens, something similar-year Camrys and Altimas rarely accomplish.
Mitsubishi’s off-road heritage was well represented with a pack of Monteros of varying generations. Most were well-used, but there were a couple of short-wheelbase versions that appeared to be cared for.
Amazingly, there was even a Pajero Evolution (!), a homologation special that Mitsu used to win the Dakar Rally. It has about as much in common with a regular Pajero as a Lancer Evolution does with a regular Lancer: With a multi-link rear suspension, aluminum panels, plentiful but functional vents, and wing-like vertical spoilers, it was a race truck for the street.
Its 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing was rated at 276 horsepower, but since it hailed from the Gentleman’s Agreement Era, you can probably guess that it was a bit more than that in reality. Only 2,500 were built, and this was one of them!
For JDM off-road goodness of a more leisurely nature, there were a couple of imported Delica 4WD vans — a turbocharged and intercooled L400 diesel and an apocalypse-ready third-gen with a beefy brush guard, ample auxiliary lighting, safari rack, and a freakin’ six-foot snorkel.
No Mitsubishi gathering would be complete without a few captive imports, and one that filled that role beautifully was a bright yellow Plymouth Arrow Truck with the grooviest stripe package this side of a flaming chicken.
It had only 20-something thousand miles on it, and something about it looked familiar. Oh, that’s right, it was a former Kidney Car from Massachusetts, purchased and shipped cross country to live out the rest of its pampered life in southern California.
Nearby, a delegation of Lancers held court in a little old school corner. A red first-gen on SSR MkIIIs wore livery inspired by the Safari Rally 1600 GSR of 1976. Flanking it were a Plymouth Arrow swapped with Lancer Celeste badging and an intercooled turbo box-type on Advan A3As.
As we were leaving, there was even a cute little Mitsubishi Expo sitting fresh on Enkei 92s amid a sea of Evos. The world needs more compact wagons like this, especially asymmetrical ones.
We’re not quite sure what prompted the unusually diverse showing this year. Perhaps it was the occasion of the marque’s 100th anniversary that brought out the Mitsu faithful. Don’t get us wrong. We love a good Evo, but they tend to overshadow Mitsubishi’s long history of interesting cars that don’t get nearly enough recognition.