QotW: What’s the greatest nostalgic Mitsubishi?


Mitsubishi has begun taking orders for the Lancer Evolution Final Edition. When these last 1,000 Evo X models roll off the assembly line, the last bastion of Mitsubishi’s once proud performance lineup will be gone.

What’s the greatest nostalgic Mitsubishi?

Sure, there’s still the aging fourth-gen Pajero or the Delica D:5 one-box van, neither of which are sold in the US and which offer a different kind of off-road performance, but Mitsubishi cars — with their unusually large four-cylinders, willingness to turbocharge anything, and dirt-chucking prowess — are gone.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the sportiest Japanese nostalgic sedan?“? 


As a Cressida owner I really wanted to pick Will B as the winner, but in the end it was Kurt who takes the cake by spewing out excellent suggestions from nearly every manufacturer:

It’s hard to go past a Skyline S54 GT or C10 GT-R for thoroughbred performance and immortal classic Japanese flavour. Hrmmm how about the forgotten Toyota Carina GT 4-door? In saying this I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Mazda fan so the Familia Presto TSS deserves am honourable mention as an equal companion for the easily recognisable sporty ‘R100′ 2-door. One could say that the Capella/RX3-Savanna/RX4-Luce sedans to follow weren’t really marketed as ‘sports cars’.

Now that vehicles of the 1980’s are well and truly classics in their own right what about the Toyota Carina/Corona GT’s or turbo models? Skyline DR30 RS-X or R31 GT Passage? Mitsubishi Sigma Turbo? Isuzu Gemini ZZ’s? Just too many! What about the 90’s?! Sedans are great for cruising with your mates.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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30 Responses to QotW: What’s the greatest nostalgic Mitsubishi?

  1. Brad D says:

    The A73 Lancer GSR no question. Without it there would be no Box Type Turbo, no EVO, no RalliArt, no anything. It takes the classic formula of putting your hottest motor in your smallest feasible shell and beat the establishment. Winning the Safari Rally put Mitsu on the map and set the tone for the future of Mitsubishi motorsports.
    We may lament the current and future line up of Mitsubishi cars…but at least they are still racing. Who knows maybe the electric Pikes Peak race car will be the future most important nostaglic Mitsubishi!

    • Coltspeed says:

      Right answer to the wrong question. The A73 platform might have been Mitsubishi’s greatest early RALLY CAR, but it’s virtually unknown as a Nostalgic Car.

      • Brad D says:

        I disagree. Its unknown in the states….but the passion for the A73 in other places is huge. The Philippians, Australia and Japan all have a pretty big early Lancer fan base. The US gets the short end of the stick when it comes to JNC Mitsubishis. The fact that all Mitsus sold in the us prior to ’83 where sold as Chrysler products really hurts the brand image here. Instead of being remembered as the great little car it was, the Lancer (Colt) here, is remembered as the crappy little gas mileage king sold along side Hemi Chargers and 340 Dusters.

  2. A. Haley says:

    Its sad to see Mitsubishi go. Having owned 9 Mitsubishis, 3 of them being JNC. I’ll have to give the best Mitsubishi JNC to the Starion, there is nothing that looks like it.

    • Coltspeed says:

      Mitsubishi isn’t going away. Just the EVO.

      • pstar says:

        And what’s going to be left. Mitsubishi is following Isuzu. There won’t BE a Mitsubishi car dealer within 4 years, bank on it.

        Honestly the whole thing baffles me. In 1970 when developed countries had half their current populations, and there were less of them, the world proliferated with more fabulous cars than you could shake a stick at. Every single sub-market of every market was packed with competition, and it all sold (more or less). Now the market is much larger, but it can’t even sustain 2 lightweight RWD coupes or 2 small convertible sports cars at a time. It can still sustain about 3 ponycars/muscle coupes, but even that is a feeble shadow of the late 60s. As recently as the 90s, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, and Mitsubishi all offered 3+ true “enthusiast” cars, and a bunch of warmed up mainstream cars on top of that. And now… What the hell.

        Anyway, nostalgia goes all in for period excess, even when it was controversial or not well liked for being gimmicky and try-to-hard when new. 59 Cadillacs are like this. So are the “pascha” interiors on late 1970s Porsches. Consumers and motor journalists at the time thought both were kind of tasteless and wouldn’t age well. Which they didn’t, until suddenly they were embraced for their period silliness and turned into icons. The Starion is exactly like this. As the most overstyled 80s straight-lined polygonal 80s sportscar, it is the standard bearer of an aesthetic. It already is by far the greatest nostalgic Mitsu, a lot of people just don’t know it yet.

        • Coltspeed says:

          Mitsubishi Motors will always sell cars. Maybe not the type you want to buy. They’re keenly aware of Isuzu’s failings, thus the gamble with HEV’s. Now if the good ol’ USA would begin shrinking cars rather than bloating them and coercing people into behemoth SUV’s and poseur Trucks then Mitsubishi could offer it’s highly successful Kei cars.

        • MDude says:

          p for poor prediction

          2021 Summer still Mitsubishi dealers here in the present…

  3. Melvin says:

    My own 1991 Sigma – of course


    Do like the early Lincoln’esque Debonair a lot too.

    • Ian Gopez says:

      I was going to say my dad’s old ’78 Plymouth Sapporo (Galant Lambda). We went on many cross country trips in that old electric blue 3 speed automatic…
      It was solid other than overheating a couple of times and getting stuck in the sand on Daytona Beach.

  4. Abraham says:

    while the Starion is the easy pick for Mitsu JNC, I nominate the Mk. VI Galant VR4 as number two. We all talk about how the USA never got turbo awd compacts until the wrx in 2001 but that is pure malarkey. 3000 of the VR4 trim Galants made it stateside between 89-92. They had essentially the same drivetrain as the first gen evo.

    I want one.

    • daruma3gakoronda says:

      Actually it was 91(2000) and 92(1000).

      The DSM triplets were essentially the GVR4 with a chrysler designed body/interior on the wonderful GVR4 engine/chassis.

  5. Ross says:

    For me the Galant GTO hands down, their value is rocketing and they just tick all the boxes imho

  6. Melvin says:

    Personally, what I find a very interesting period for Japanese cars is the end of the asset bubble era. By than the market was flooded with technologicly very advanced and spectacular cars: Eunos Cosmo, new RX7, NSX, new 300ZX, LS400 and much more. Mitsubishi contributed with 3000GT, Sigma/Diamante and 3rd gen Debonair – three cars that shared a lot technology: 4WS, 4WD, traction control, trace control…. I remember reading an interview with the Mitsubishi CEO in 1990 in which was stated that Mitsubishi aimed to become the Japanese Mercedes, with high tech as core feature. But than the bubble burst.

    For me the refined techno cars of this era represent what tailfin Cadillacs do for the US three decades earlier. The Japanese way of the sky is the limit.

  7. Banpei says:

    It would be hard to ignore the awesomeness of the Mitsubishi Galant GTO or the Mitsubishi Starion. Both are great cars that really were landmarks for Mitsubishi. The GTO stood out in terms of design (mini muscle car), performance and reliability (proven by rallying). The Starion stood out in terms of design (wedge and widebody), performance (turbo!) but at the same time the Starion was aimed to be rather more luxurious grand tourer than a pure sports car.

    Between these two landmarks there is one (forgotten) car wedged in between: the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda (aka Misubishi/Plymouth Sapporo, Mitsubishi/Chrysler Scorpion and Dodge Challenger).

    The Galant Lambda offered a great variety in engines including early adoption of the 2 litre turbo 4G63T engine in 1980 on the GSR model. The engine was used throughout most Lancer Evo generations (used till 2007). Apart from this engine the Lamda also offered the Astron 80 engine that featured a twin balance shaft that allowed four cylinder engine to become much smoother. The 2.6 litre size was unheard of for a four cylinder engine!

    The suspension evolved from the Galant GTO underpinnings with a live axle to a more modern four link independent rear suspension on the GS-R model. This version of the suspension was also used as the base for the Starion.

    The Galant Lambda also offered some great safety features including a reinforced targa-like roofband to retain stiffness to the the pilarless hardtop while the rear window extended like a giant wraparound glasshouse. The car was initially aimed as a luxury car and later models got additional ergonomics added like the single spoke steering wheel and an extra wide dash with any electronic gadget available. Even the digital dashboard was a marvel of technology. Still it could barely match the luxury offered in cars from outside Japan (like Cadillac, Mercedes and Citroen).

    In terms of design the car looked like it came from outer space due to its targa-band roofline and glasshouse design. This is also where the downside of the car comes from: the US versions of the car looked horrible as Mitsubishi tried to match the US taste by taking inspiration from the Cadillac Seville. Whitewall tires, velours interior and bold color combinations like bright burgundy with white vinyl roof. Ugh! Luckily the facelifted version was a lot saner.

    Back in the late 70s and early 80s the Galant Lambda filled the gap created by the demand of the consumers to shift from raw performance cars to luxurious grand tourers featuring any (electronical) gadget available. Mitsubishi showed that a Japanese company could match up to renowned car manufacturers like Citroen and Cadillac.

  8. Adam Campbell says:

    I have to say the Pajero/Montero, this is the Legend, the end all be all vehicle from Mitsubishi. The Lancer Evolution falls short of the Pajero’s success in the rally circuit and on top of that the Pajero changed the entire automotive industry AND the offroad racing world. Before the Pajero 4WD’s were slow and tractor like with really outdated suspension or weird attempts at IFS (independent front suspension) making them handle like shopping carts. The Pajero hit the ground running in the rally world and in the consumer markets, they were so solid and quiet and for a box on wheels handled more like a car than a truck. Eventually all the other automakers followed suit with a similar front suspension under the fronts of their trucks.
    They came with turbo engine options, later a DOHC V6, ’98 got a GDI v6 and a MIVEC DOHC V6 in the Pajero Evolution. Mitsubishi has had a lot of really cool cars and trucks but nothing like the Pajero. Hopefully it will always be around in some form.

    • Negishi no Keibajo says:

      I agree. 1985 Pajero in Dakkar style. Not only is the truck nostalgic but it reminds me of simpler times when it was about racing versus the “global media marketing” event it has become (not even in Africa anymore unfortunately). There are still some very nice examples running around my neighborhood. Nice JNC piece on it back in 2011…

  9. nerdspeed89 says:

    Hmm for me it’s still the Lancer Boxtype (A171x), it was innovative when it came out and it touched and influenced a lot of people. (well here in the Philippines it did xD) and it is exclusive enough (since not many countries had them during the model’s hayday but still there are affordable examples that will not deter you to own one =D

    And a plus is since I currently own one =D

  10. Will B. says:

    when in doubt, Starion. The boxy flares and over the top styling of the starion looks so 80s, and with a huge turbo four, they have the performance to back those claims.

  11. Adam Campbell says:

    Hooray stickers! where do I send my address to?

  12. Adam Campbell says:

    Still Nothing, 🙁 can i send you my address?

  13. Pedro giron says:

    The honda civic cvcc It was green before it was cool . It wasn’t what you wanted. it was what you need it . It has no catalytic converter . It raised the bar and sit new goals for cars around the world .

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