Sunday, April 3, 2011

Car Of The Day: April 3, 2011

Today's car of the day is Matchbox's 1994 Mitsubishi 3000GT.

The Mitsubishi GTO is a sports car built by Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors between 1990 and 2001. In most export markets it was rebadged as a Mitsubishi 3000GT. It was also sold by Chrysler in North America as a Dodge Stealth captive import from the 1991 to 1996 model years with only minor detail/appearance differences. It took its name from the Galant GTO, a two-door hardtop coupé sold by the company in the early 1970s, which got its name from the Ferrari GTO, which means Gran Turismo Omologata.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Mitsubishi 3000GT

How can a car so perfectly illustrate what was right at Tyco and what was so very wrong at Tyco at the same time?  What was right- this is a great little casting.  Lots of detail, especially in the rear fascia.  But then they spoil this model with hideous tampos, lousy wheels, and a neon green interior.  We almost got its badge-engineered twin (the Dodge Stealth) at the same time but Chrysler denied the license because the casting was ill-proportioned.

Second generation models are identified by a revised front bumper to accommodate projector beam headlights and small, round projector fog lights. The caps on the hood were replaced with integrated blisters, and the side air vents and rear bumpers were modified. The interior was redesigned with dual air bags, a new audio system, and revised air conditioning refrigerant. The engines in all models received a slight boost in torque from 307 lb·ft (416 N·m) to 315 lb·ft (427 N·m). To complement this, the VR-4 now included a six-speed Getrag manual transmission. Bigger wheel/tire combinations were provided beginning in 1995. The base and SL model received 16" wheels in silver or chrome with 225/55 tires, while the VR4 now had 18" chrome wheels with 245/40 tires (the Spyder had the standard 17" with higher profile tires from 1994 to handle the additional 400 lb (180 kg)).

As the price of the cars increased, many of the "gadgets" on the car were discontinued. The tunable exhaust was phased out after model year 1994, the ECS disappeared after the 1995 model year, and the active aerodynamics disappeared after 1996. Finally, Chrysler ceased sales of the Dodge Stealth captive import, and for the remainder of its life only Mitsubishi-badged versions were available.

In 1995 and 1996, special edition retractable hardtop convertible models of the 3000GT SL and VR-4 were sold in the USA. Customized by ASC in California, these cars had retractable hardtops which could be opened or closed at the touch of a button. It was the first of its kind in America since the 1957–59 Ford Skyliner, and although it was abandoned after two years because of slow sales (1618 units), it presaged a market which would eventually mature the following year with the Mercedes SLK.

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