Welcome to Forgotten Cars, where we highlight fascinating cars and engines that are obscure, unrecognized and lost to the passage of time.'
I wasn't planning on featuring yet another Japanese ride for Forgotten Cars, but when I came across this beast — rather unexpectedly while I was looking for an AMG Safety Car wallpaper for you fine people last week — I knew I had no choice.
This week's is the Mitsubishi Debonair V 3000 Royal AMG, a sedan from the 1980s that doesn't remotely live up to the legend established by the company at the end of that ridiculous name. It's certainly forgotten, and I'm guessing AMG hopes it will stay that way. Jalop alum Murilee Martin wrote about this disaster once, but it's such an oddball that it deserves more explanation.
The Debonair had been, since the 1960s, the top-of-the-line car at Mitsubishi. By the mid-1980s, it was a boxy, front-wheel-drive machine aimed at successful young executives in Japan's booming economy. As Japanese Nostalgic Car tells it, the car's rolly-polly suspension didn't make it very sporty, so it was never a very good candidate for a treatment from AMG.
Today, AMG is the tuning and motorsports arm of Mercedes Benz, responsible for ultra-expensive, obscenely-overpowered sedans, coupes and SUVs. This wasn't always the case. They used to be a separate company, although exactly how AMG and Mitsubishi got hooked up seems lost to history. Hemmings said Mitsubishi may have called them in to tune up the car, or it may have been the product of some commercial vehicle agreement between Mercedes and Mitsubishi.
The Debonair AMG came out in 1987, a mere year after the debut of the famed supercar-destroying AMG Hammer. Don't expect the Mitsu to have the same kind of oomph — the Debonair AMG was, unfortunately, mostly an appearance package. As 7Tune tells it, ponying up for work from this legendary German tuner got you a body kit, an upgraded steering wheel, alloy wheels and perhaps most importantly, AMG badges.
Upgraded engine? Not here, ladies and gentlemen. Try the Hammer instead. The package is extremely convincing, as long as you're trying to convince someone who knows nothing about cars. And is blind. And also deaf. This commercial isn't for the AMG version of the Debonair, but when it comes to attempting to sell the car, it's equally unimpressive. Buy the Debonair and... um, a woman hands you a ceramic clown? What the fuck?
This would not be the last time AMG and Mitsubishi teamed up. Their union later produced the AMG Galant, which at least had a few performance modifications. Plus, with the Galant's rally heritage, an AMG version sounds a lot more plausible — not to mention badass.
Mitsubishi and Mercedes-Benz would end up connected in the early 2000s through Daimler-Chrysler. Unfortunately, the world never saw a supercharged V8 AMG Starion or anything truly insane like that. It's a shame, because that would have been pretty sweet.
What's your ideal AMG-Mitsubishi scenario?
Keep the suggestions for Forgotten Cars coming, Jalops! We need your ideas!
Photo credit Hugo90, Hemmings