Looking at old dealership photos is like stepping into a time machine. One fateful day in what appears to be 1977, an employee at Choshi Mitsubishi in Chiba Prefecture decided to take some photos of his or her workplace. If we’re right about the date, this the same year the original Star Wars debuted and most of the JNC staff was still in diapers.
Outside, a big red, blue and white sign advertises Galant, Lancer and Minica models to all who pass by ol’ route 126. Think that Mazda driver was swayed to trade in the Familia for a shiny red Lancer Celeste?
Due to space restrictions, Japanese dealers typically don’t have vast lots with rows upon rows of identical cars. Even in non-urban areas like Chiba there’s only a small selection of various models.
Another view from inside the showroom reveals a gleaming yellow Lancer Celeste and the white Galant Sigma seen in the lead photo.
Tire-kickers consider a Galant Lambdas and a Galant Sigma. The bags given out at the dealer promote Mitsubishi’s then-new “third valve” emissions-scrubbing MCA Jet technology.
A potential buyer checks out a beautiful brown Galant Lambda while one of his mates has a smoke. We can’t help but wonder if any of these cars are still on the streets 35 years later.
The Choshi Mitsubishi dealership still stands today, albeit remodeled. The photo to the left is what it looks like today.
Source: Chiba Mitsubishi
Do car dealers in Japan just store their lot of cars off-site? Or do they have a lineup of demos and people order what they want? For some reason I’ve always thought buying cars straight off the lot is more or less an American (and Canadian) habit.
Generally speaking – a typical new car dealer will have a few examples of their product, maybe on a showroom floor, or outside, available for test drive. They also have scale models for customers to look at which show color choices and perhaps other options. For the most part, new cars are special ordered. Once a buyer decides and buys the car of their choice, they wait several weeks or more for the car to be built and delivered.
Pretty much how the Germans do it, possibly the rest of Europe too except Britain whose hugely oversize fleet market and massive depreciation make buying off-lease a much better deal than new.
I’ll take the red Lancer Celeste.
(Or the blue Lamda).
This is amazing! I love old dealership and service staion photo’s. sadly the Mitsubishi dealership where I served my time is no more, being demolished to make way for a retiremnt home a few years ago now.
I’ve got the Sigma and the Celeste, so I think it would have to be the Lancer or the Lambda/Sapporo for me 😀
If this were all JNC posted I’d probably never leave the site. Yellow Celeste or brown Lambda please!
Love it, great to see some 70’s Japanese dealer pics. Would love some for my car but haven’t found any yet.
Good story AAA+++
Sadly, only one of these cars is still on the road today. A few a rusting away in some field in a rural prefecture, and the rest are now cans holding dog food.
Its strange sometimes what turns up in peoples old pictures. Im a bit of a nut for anything mazda produced in the 60 and 70 with a photo collection over 5000 images. I would rate that familia as one of the rarest mazda’s produced fa3t in a coupe I only have a coupe of pics of that type of car in my collection and for a very long time couldnt confirm if it even went into production. And there you have one driving past a dealership while someone was taking a random pic, gee I cant stop smiling.
No coincidence, no story!
Michael you would probably cry if you came to Australia and went to a drag meeting. Over here we call them R100s and quite a lot of them have been turned into full blown drag cars with turbocharged 13B or 20B rotaries that do anywhere between 10 and 7 second quarter miles. Some are absolutely immaculate street or race cars and others are just rough racers.
I wonder how many of those rebadged Valiant Chargers Mitsubishi peddled in the 70s
i miss my dad mitsubishi galant sigma..