And now the 25-year import ban has ended.
The Chrysler D platform-based Mitsubishi Eclipse (not today's Eclipse Cross) was one of three front-wheel-drive sports cars sold in America beginning in 1990. Along with its sister ships, the Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser, the Eclipse was relatively affordable with optional all-wheel drive, though it lacked serious performance in stock form. The aftermarket soon discovered the endless tuning possibilities, boosting them into Corvette territory. The Laser was dropped after the first generation but the Eclipse and Talon both received successors. The Talon was dropped next in 1998, while the Eclipse survived for another two generations, being retired permanently in 2012.
Those with bigger budgets opted for either the Dodge Stealth or Mitsubishi 3000GT. But Mitsubishi offered sort of a middle ground between the Eclipse and 3000GT called the FTO. Launched only for Japan in 1994, the Mitsubishi FTO was built as a compact coupe only and was related to the Galant sedan underneath.
The FTO name came from an early 70s Mitsubishi model called the Galant Coupe FTO, with FTO standing for Fresco Turismo Omologato. The reborn 90s-era FTO came powered by a transversely mounted inline-four or a V6, rated at 123 horsepower and 168 hp, respectively. Both could be paired to a five-speed manual or an advanced automatic transmission with a manual mode. Exterior styling borrowed Italian design elements from the era, specifically the distinctive rear end. The headlights and grille are also breaks from Mitsubishi's 90s design language.
The interior is nothing groundbreaking and the rear seats are a tight fit as expected. Still, the FTO was good enough to win Japan's Car of the Year award for 1994 and soon became a favorite grey market import to the UK, Ireland, and Australia. Some limited edition and other stock tuning packages were offered over the years, and a midlife refresh happened for 1997.
By 2000, sales had decreased and Mitsubishi discontinued the coupe for good. And now one completely unmodified example is up for auction on Cars And Bids.
This V6-powered Mitsubishi FTO GR has 62,700 confirmed miles on its odometer and is equipped with the Tiptronic-style four-speed automatic. The silver exterior has a few chips, scrapes, and some minor underbody rust. A set of 16-inch alloys are at all four corners. Inside, the patterned cloth-upholstered interior boasts an updated stereo head unit and seems to be in solid condition. The highest bid, as of this writing, is just $3,000. The auction ends on April 7.