With the Starion, Mitsubishi battled the 6-cylinder cars from Nissan and Toyota by turbocharging their four-banger. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe has an '85 that's gone to Pep Boys to get reinforcements.
The '86 Scirocco blew through NPOCP yesterday, grabbing a hearty thumbs up from 70% of you, and generating great rejoicing over on the VW Vortex. Less windy, but under greater pressure is today's brave fighter, ready to defend Japan's honor.
When first confronted in WWII, the Mitsubishi A6M, or "Zero" commanded the skies of the Pacific Theater due to its light weight and agility. Unfortunately for the Rising Sun airman, the Zero didn't evolve as rapidly as did the Allied fighter fleet, and the Mitsu became outmatched by the more powerful, faster, and more heavily armed American planes.
Forty-some years later, Mitsubishi was again faced with a battle against some heavy hitters, only this time the enemy hailed from their own country, and the battlefield was fought in the ad space of car magazines, and for the spoils of car-buyers bank accounts. Newly-branded in the U.S., Nissan continued the success of the original 6-cylinder Datsun Z car with ever more powerful and technologically-advanced ZX versions, including turbos. Toyota performed a Pinocchio on the Celica, creating the Supra, which also brought a six to the fight. Even odd-and-proud -of-it Subaru brought a six to market in their personal coupe, albeit a flat one. Mitsu wanted in on some of these high-profit personal coupe sales, but lacked a prom date for the six cylinder soiree. Indefatigable, Mitsu instead pulled their largest, twin counter-balanced four out of the armory and slapped a home-grown turbo on it so it wouldn't face the same kamikaze-destined fate as its winged ancestors.
The 4G54 hemi-head four showed up for duty packing 2,555-ccs and, in the case of this ESI-r edition, an intercooler to put the chill on the compressed charge being forced through the single throttle-body fuel injector. In that guise, the large-marge SOHC four cranked out 170-bhp and 220 ft-lb of torque, enough to get hit the dogfight at sixty in under eight seconds. This particular Starion benefits from being a three-pedal car and has every bell, whistle and voice that ‘80s technology could cram into a small-ish car. And, yes, it does talk- this was one of the cars that would tell you that a door was ajar, that your lights were on, or that your date was fugly. Automatic climate control and a digital radio/cassette with Dolby® round out the toys in the angular and faux-stitched interior.
The exterior is straight, although the pop-up lights are like a bad prom date in refusing to go down. And then there's all the bargain basement automotive aisle crap that has been stuck on the car, both inside and out. There's Mercedes SL-esque vents on the sides and hood, chrome turbo and intercooled badges affixed to nearly every flat surface, and bling-tastic chrome rims to make your tire guy dry heave whenever you go in for a rotation. Rounding out the Pep Boys theme is a set of new Futura tires, which probably have all the sporting pretensions of a basset hound. All that and a bag of paint chips is going for an also bargain-basement price of $2,500.
Now, it would probably cost more to hire someone to pry all that crap off the car, but we're not here to whistle and raise our eyebrows at a particular dollar amount, we're here to see if the seller is itching for a fight in asking that much scratch for the car. So, What do you think, does $2,500 potentially put a Starion in your eye? Or, at that price, is this Mitsubishi just another Zero to you?
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