Mitsubishi Motors Car Reviews and Road Tests

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Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi is one of the largest companies of the world, and automobile manufacture makes up only one part of the conglomerates empire. It was originally established in 1870 as a shipping concern, then became one of the pioneering Japanese automotive manufacturers when it manufactured its first car in 1917 – only around 20 of the Fiat designed Model A would be manufactured before the company decided to concentrate on other endeavours in 1921, including the manufacture of trucks and buses.

Mitsubishi spent many years manufacturing the infamous A6M “Zero” fighter which rose to prominence in World War 2, then it would take until 1953 before the company again ventured in the automotive arena, this time building Jeeps under licence. In 1959 came the 500, a typical Japanese micro car that used a three cylinder 2 stroke engine. Renamed the Colt, it would inevitably grow in size from the fastback 800 to the 1100 saloon. In 1966 Mitsubishi attempted to launch their large six-cylinder “Debonair” in Australia, it brimming with standard kit such as air-conditioning, automatic transmission, electric seat adjustment and a self-seeking radio, however it came at a time when Australians chose to buy Japanese for only one reason – their low price – and it proved far from successful.

During the 1970’s the company showed some bold initiative, releasing the stylish Galant coupe in 1974, and later developing the “Astron” engine, which featured a balancer shaft to smooth out unwanted vibration, an unwanted characteristic of nearly all 4 cylinder engines up until that time. Export markets came courtesy of a tie-in with US manufacturer Chrysler, the Mitsubishi’s being re-badged as Chryslers to enable the company to bolster their product offering. The first Sigma’s offered in Australia were re-badged as Chrysler’s, but when financial problems beset the giant Chrysler Corporation Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited were ready to assume control. The company inherited a dynamic team of engineers, designers and managers, many of whom had worked with Chrysler since its Australian inception.

Also see: The History of Mitsubishi Motors
Mitsubishi Colt 1100  

Mitsubishi Colt 1100

1966 - 1970
It was easy to like the Colt 1100. Unlike many other small cars on offer, the little Mitsubishi had a vivacious personality, it not only being able to reward the enthusiastic driver, but also allowing the more complacent to remain as little affected by the atrocious Australian road conditions of the time - far beyond what any small car should. More>>
Mitsubishi Lancer Generarion 1  

Mitsubishi Lancer (Generation 1)

1973 - 1979
Mitsubishi's Colt Lancer was another of those cars which, like Ford's Escort, was available in many different formats ranging from basic and economical transport to models with considerably better performance and specification. At the bottom of the twelve car Lancer line-up was the 1200 two-door Populaire. More>>
Mitsubishi Colt  

Mitsubishi Colt

1976 - 1983
Coinciding with the finalisation of Mitsubishi Motors takeover Chrysler Australia was  the release of the first front-wheel vehicle sold by either company in Australia. Mitsubishi's association with Chrysler both here and in America went back the better part of a decade, during which time Mitsubishi has supplied cars to Chrysler either in knock-down form or fully assembled to sell under the Chrysler name. Chrysler also manufactured in their Australian plants various Mitsubishi based models under licence. More>>
Mitsubishi Colt Sapporo  

Mitsubishi Colt Sapporo

1976 - 1985
The elegant Sapporo was top of the Colt range in 1979; developed from the Colt Sigma it bore a strange resemblance to Tovota's pre-1978 Celica design. Under the skin there were very few surprises. The suspension was by MacPherson struts with anti-roll bar at the front, and the live rear axle was located by four trailing links angled to give a measure of lateral location as well. More>>
Mitsubishi Sigma  

Mitsubishi Sigma

1977 - 1983
At its introduction in late 1977 the Sigma was the same car as that was made and sold in Japan, but attention to customer feedback enabled Mitsubishi to tailor the Sigma for local conditions. Inside and out, the range underwent significant improvement over the years. But it was the 4th generation model released in 1980 that represented the most significant improvements for Australian conditions – it even taking out the Car of the Year award in New Zealand. More>>
Mitsubishi Sigma Wagon  

Mitsubishi Sigma Wagon

1977 - 1983
The downsizing trend which Mitsubishi exploited and increased with their wildly successful Sigma inevitably made itself felt in the wagon market. The GL and SE Sigma fours proved strong competition for such stalwarts as the Toyota Corona and the Datsun 200B. The GL wagon was available with a 2.0-litre Astron engine which could be equipped with a four or five-speed manual or three-speed automatic, or with the 2-6-litre Astron which was available as a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic. More>>
Mitsubishi Colt 1400 Super Shift  

Mitsubishi Colt 1400 Super Shift

1978 - 1982
The Super Shift was a clever idea, and if one treats the range-change system as an overdrive system rather than an eight-speed gearbox, it made a whole lot of sense. The cost was minimal - and a conventional overdrive unit from the era could not be used on a transverse engine arrangement anyway. The British car industry must have realised the opportunity they let pass, namely the Laycock "sandwich" overdrive, which fitted between the clutch and gearbox, and was actuated by the clutch pedal. It too was installed on an unlikely front wheel drive car, the Triumph 1300. But Mitsubishi put it into production. And that why we remember it. More>>
Mitsubishi L300 Express Wagon  

Mitsubishi L300 Express Wagon

1980 - 1986
By 1980 the concept of the “People Mover” was gaining in popularity. The front bench seat was pretty much a thing of the past, which meant the traditional family wagon only had the ability to carry 5 – inevitably it was grandmother that would miss out on seeing the kids at their local sporting events. In a stroke of genius, Mitsubishi realised that their hitherto commercial van could be suitably adapted to fill the role of a family car. It was a brilliant idea. More>>
Mitsubishi Starion Turbo

Mitsubishi Starion Turbo

1982 - 1990
1982 was a notable year for Mitsubishi; after the introduction of the Lancer Turbo, with its advanced engine technology, the company spread the turbo influence throughout its range, with Turbo versions of the Galant, Sapporo, and even the little Colt. More>>
Mitsubishi Pajero Superwagon

Mitsubishi Pajero Generation 1 including Pajero Superwagon

1982 - 1991
The first generation made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1981, and was launched in May 1982. Initially, it was a three-door, short-wheelbase model available with a metal or canvas top and three different engines options, although more were gradually added, ending with a 3-litre V6 on top of the range. More>>
Mitsubishi Scorpion  

Mitsubishi Scorpion GJ/GK/GL

1981 - 1985
The Mitsubishi Sigma Scorpion was originally released in 1977, and underwent several model updates and engine changes to keep it at the forefront of the then “under $10,000” coupe market. The Scorpion was powered by Mitsubishi’s proven 2.6-litre 'Silent Shaft' four cylinder engine, never an motor to set the world on fire but a reliable and tractable unit that offered plenty of torque across the rev range. But it was on the outside that the Scorpion differed from the run-of-the-mill 4 cylinder also-ran’s of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. More>>
Mitsubishi Cordia  

Mitsubishi Cordia

1983 - 1986
The sweet 1.8 was tractable and smooth, giving the turbo version sparkling performance combined with exceptional fuel economy - provided you resisted the temptation to sink the boot. The Cordia Turbo was particularly popular with young drivers, and it was that very temptation that so often proved too hard to resist. Over the years, finding an example that had not been thrashed and trashed proved increasingly difficult. More>>
Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo  

Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo

1984 - 1986
When Mitsubishi's front-wheel-drive 1.8-litre Cordia Turbo hit the market there was plenty of competition in the turbo hot hatch/sedan market. Forced induction cars included the Saab 900, Porsche 930, Peugeot 505 (avec diesel), Nissan EXA, Volvo 760, Daihatsu Charade, Nissan Pulsar ET, and finally, from their own stable, the wonderful Mitsubishi Starion. More>>
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