Thursday, November 10, 2011

Car Of The Day: November 10, 2011

Today's car of the day is Konami's 1970 Mitsubishi Galant GTO MR.

The Mitsubishi Colt Galant GTO (Gran Turismo Omologato) was first shown as the Galant GTX-1 showcar at the 1969 Tokyo Motor Show. Sales began in November 1970, when it was the flagship hardtop variant of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries's then-new Colt Galant sedan.

The Colt Galant GTO exterior was penned by Hiroaki Kamisago, who had previously been sent by Mitsubishi to study at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, it incorporated many stylistic cues from contemporary American muscle cars like the Mustang, Firebird and Cougar, including a long hood, raised cut-off ducktail rear, and rounded quad-headlamps and tail-lamps. It was also the first Japanese passenger car to have full, roll down, side windows and a pillarless design.

Mitsubishi Racing Development (AKA Colt Speed) intended the Colt Galant GTO to compete in the prestigious JCCA Grand Prix circuit. However, the OPEC oil embargo of 1973 sounded the demise of GP racing, so the GTO race program was mothballed. Nevertheless, GTO's were successful in Rallying, including the famous Japanese Alpine Rally.

Initially, there were three Colt Galant GTO models offered, all powered by the Saturn engine: the M1 (1600 cc SOHC, 4-speed), M2 (1,600 cc SOHC, 5-speed) and the top-spec MR (1,600 cc twin-carb, DOHC 5-speed), a 125 horsepower (93 kW) version only available in Japan.

In 1972 Mitsubishi upgraded the power plants with their new Astron units. The range now consisted of the LS (2,000 cc single-carb, automatic transmission), GS (2,000 cc twin-carb, 5-speed manual) and GS-R (2,000 cc twin-carb, 5-speed manual). They were also given a mild facelift to distinguish them, comprising a one-piece slats-type grille and three-piece tail lights. Additionally, the 125 hp (93 kW) GS-R had wider 185-section tires, flared guards and a black-painted rear panel between the lights.

There was a second styling tweak in 1974 when the car gained a honeycomb-style front grille. The last Colt Galant GTO's produced gained the Astron 80 engine with Mitsubishi's Silent Shaft system. After relatively long production run, the GTO was finally replaced by Galant Lambda/Sapporo in December 1976, although production continued into 1977.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Mitsubishi Galant GTO MR

Here's an example of what Japan did best at that time.  They took a good look at all of the current automotive trends at the time and managed to make a car that demonstrated almost every single one of them.  This car oozes the '70s from every single angle.  From the quad round headlights to the hoodscoops, to the massive C-pillar supporting a fastback roofline, to the blacked out hoodscoops and rear taillight panel, and the bold stripes.  About the only '70s trend this one misses is that it isn't a wildly-painted conversion van...

Mitsubishi chose not to aggressively export the Colt Galant GTO. Besides the home market of Japan, few examples (all right hand drive) were sold abroad. Most were distributed to New Zealand, and smaller numbers ended up in various Asian countries as well as the United Kingdom. At the time, Mitsubishi rarely used their own brand name abroad, so many were sold simply as the "Colt Galant GTO". Surviving examples are uncommon.

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