When it comes to small sport coupes today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mitsubishi Starion is a whole lot closer to Porsche's 944 Turbo in form than it is to its country-mates the Nissan 280ZX and Toyota Supra. That being said, is this one's price also in Porsche's league?
You know what's the best thing about the new Toyota Hachi-Roku/Subaru Let's-Try-This Sport-Coupe-Thing-One-More-Time twins? It's that they're rear-wheel drive. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, the Subie version is the first rear-only drive car they've sold in America since the 360. Both companies have made the switch to the vastly more efficient but oversteer-adverse front drive platform for all their small cars making the development of a unique chassis for these low-production models no mean feat. That's why, while they harken back to the light rear-drive coupes Japan seemed to pop out like crazy back in the eighties, they certainly aren't priced like them.
That's why it's awesome that real rear-drive sport coupes from the eighties, like this Texas-located 1986 Mitsubishi Starion, still exist. Much like Porsche's 924/944, the Starion was available in both narrow (flatty) and widebody (fatty) forms. This 110K example, being an '86, is the latter, and looks all the better for its fabulously flared fenders.
The seller claims the engine - which is the 2.6-litre turbo G54B - benefitted from a complete rebuild only 1,000 miles ago. He also lists a litany of refreshed driveline parts including clutch and brakes. Overall there has been a lot of money thrown at this car in keeping it up and running.
That fundage apparently wasn't extended to the bodywork, but thankfully, while scraped and chipped here and there, overall the body's in pretty good shape. The red paint does seem to have lost most of its luster over the years, but with matte finish top coats now in vogue, perhaps this will fit right in. All the badging looks intact and the five spoke (and five bolt) alloys are both color matched and seem in good shape.
Inside is like a blast from the past the severely angular dash and multitude of silver and orange icon buttons potentially causing an overload of eighties nostalgia. Despite the time warp styling, it all looks serviceable, although the leather-clad seats appear to have suffered more egregiously than the rest of the bits. At least they each have like eleven different levers to help you get comfortable, or ejected or something. The back seats, which are so small and hard to reach you might expect to find someone back there rubbing the lotion on its skin, are in slightly better shape.
Speaking of shape, the Starion body is also a throwback to the eighties, and with its rectilinear (but at .32 Cd surprisingly aerodynamic) body is almost quaint by today's standards. The pointy nose, three-part glass back is derivative of pretty much every other sport coupe of the time, from Supra to RX7 with a little 944 thrown in for good measure. Underneath that is a fairly mundane chassis derived from the Galant, but provided with all the performance options - upgraded brakes, limited slip diff - to keep up with the hot turbo four under the hood.
You don't see too many Starions - or their Chrysler badge-engineered cousins - in this kind of shape all that often anymore, which makes this rough and ready example worth our consideration. That being said, it's now time to consider this Starion's $5,900 asking price. What do you think, does that price make you all Starion-eyed? Or, is that too much-u for this Mitsu?
H/T to Kiran Patel for the hookup!
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