Weekly Treasure: 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4

Car Culture / 8 Comments

We miss the Japanese sports car glory days.

Your options for a brand new Mitsubishi sports car today are precisely zero. A return to this segment is not in the carmaker's immediate plans. But it was the Mitsubishi 3000GT that rightfully earned its place among the best of Japan's sports cars of the 1990s, alongside the Mazda RX-7, Nissan 300ZX, and fourth-gen Toyota Supra. Even back then when gas was ridiculously cheap in the US, none of these sports cars offered V8s, but rather six-cylinders and twin-turbo variants. All were front-engined. The Mitsubishi 3000GT, known as the GTO in Japan, launched for the 1990 model year and remained on sale for the next decade. Its twin, the reskinned Dodge Stealth, only made it until 1996.

Unlike its main Japanese rivals, the 3000GT was built on a front-wheel-drive platform, but Mitsubishi converted it to an all-wheel drive as standard (in the US only, FWD was standard on base models). It also featured four-wheel steering, active aerodynamics such as automatically adjusting front and rear spoilers, and an electronically controlled suspension.

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Typical with Japanese vehicles, the 3000GT boasted plenty of advanced tech that's become either standard or outdated today. To help further set the 3000GT apart from the Dodge Stealth, the latter did not have active aero and instead came with a more conventionally designed front end. Interestingly, some publications at the time did not like the 3000GT's active aero, claiming it didn't accomplish anything and only added unnecessary weight. What was universally praised, however, was the AWD grip and excellent acceleration.

Power came from either a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter V6 with 222 horsepower and 201 lb-ft of torque, or a twin-turbo variant with 300 hp and 308 lb-ft. The latter powered the 3000GT VR-4. Both versions received sight power upgrades throughout the car's lifetime. The original gearbox was a five-speed manual, but beginning in 1993 this became a six-speed manual. A four-speed automatic was optional.

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Performance? Just under five seconds from 0 to 60 mph in the VR4. The 3000GT's design inside and out was pure 90s, such as the folding headlights. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and Mitsubishi dropped the 3000GT lineup without a direct successor. Instead, the also now deceased Evo took the mantle of being Mitsubishi's halo model.

The Mazda RX-7, however, was replaced by the RX-8 and the Nissan 300ZX by the 350Z. The Toyota Supra didn't reappear until last year following a 17-year absence. But for anyone still suffering from a Mitsubishi 3000GT craving, or just plain old nostalgia, we think we've found the cure.

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This 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 is currently up for grabs on Bring A Trailer. It has only 65,000 miles most of which was done by its original owner. It's recently been serviced with a new timing belt, tensioner, and water pump, and appears to be in excellent overall condition. Aside from some forgivable signs of aging on the leather upholstery, the interior looks nearly new. The transversely-mounted twin-turbo V6 looks perfect.

There's still plenty of time to place a bid and after doing a bit of research, stock Mitsubishi 3000GTs, especially VR4s, appear to be undervalued. So buy now, drive for a few years, and then hopefully sell at a profit.

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