Built between 1990 and 2001, the Mitsubishi GTO is a sports grand tourer manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors. However, it was rebranded in foreign markets as a Mitsubishi 3000GT. It was also sold by Chrysler from the 1991 to 1996 model years in North America as a Dodge Stealth with only minor detail and appearance changes.
Mitsubishi began work on the new GTO as a technically advanced sports coupe to go up against its competitors after the auspicious debut of the Mitsubishi HSX concept car at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show. For the rest of the decade, the GTO name went on to serve as Mitsubishi’s flagship. Christened the Mitsubishi 3000GT in the rest of the world, the Mitsubishi’s biggest concern was that people would be upset with the famed GTO nameplate on a vehicle coming from a Japanese manufacturer.
First Generation — 1990-1993
The first generation of Mitsubishi’s GTO incorporated many of the company’s performance-enhancing technologies, such as four-wheel steering, AWD, automatically-adjusting front and rear spoilers, electronically controlled suspension (ECS), and a tunable exhaust. Aesthetically, the cars were given pop-up headlights and noticeable “caps” on the hood which were required to contain the ECS controllers atop the strut turrets.
Second Generation — 1994-1997
Models in the second-generation are distinguished by a reworked front bumper to accommodate both the headlights and fog lights. The caps on the hood were discarded and the rear bumpers and side air vents were altered. The dual airbags were redone and revised. All models got a boost in torque. To complement this, a six-speed manual transmission was given to the VR-4. The Mitsubishi 3000GT, especially in VR-4 trim, is a good little hatchback sports coupe. Adaptive suspension and a sumptuous interior, provided more comfort making the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 a better purchase compared to its rivals.
In a League of its Own
The 3000GT VR-4’s specs are notable for its time, with active aerodynamics, adaptive suspension, AWD, and four-wheel-steering. Perhaps the 3000GT was in a league of its own and misunderstood by consumers. Acceleration alone was notable for its time: 0-60 in an average of 5.4 seconds and it can do a quarter-mile takes in an average of 13.9 seconds.
More Awesome Features
As the sale price of the cars rose, some of the fancy features on the cars began to fall to the wayside and were discontinued. As early as 1994, the tunable exhaust was phased out; the ECS vanished with the 1995 model year and the active aerodynamics were discarded in 1996.
The 1994 3000GT eliminated the retractable headlights and the bodywork was smoothed out for a much more fluid look. The retractable hardtop was a good feature that was designed well. Moreover, brakes were updated as well for the 1994 model year.
The 3000GT coupe was a strong competitor against the Toyota Supra, the solid-topped Nissan 300ZX, Mazda RX-7, Acura NSX, and Chevrolet Corvette all of which were its competitors in the ’90s. The coupe was offered in three variants: Base and SL had the 220-hp V6 and front-drive; Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 had a twin-turbo and AWD. The Spyder had leather upholstery, which was standard, along with dual airbags and a premium audio system.
The Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder VR-4 consolidated an inter-cooled V6 with 4-cam, 4-valve- per cylinder, paired with a 6-speed Getrag gearbox, twin-turbocharged, AWD, four-wheel-steering, aerodynamic devices that with speed would automatically raise and lower themselves. The usual array of features like; power steering, limited-slip differentials, sound systems, ABS, power brakes, and a retractable hardtop, the first offered in a production car since 1959.
In 1995 and 1996, a special edition of the 3000GT SL and VR-4 models were sold in the USA ── retractable hardtop convertible. Customized by ASC, all it took was a button to retract the hardtop. There had been nothing like it since the 1957–59 Ford Skyliner, however, after two years it was abandoned due to slow sales in the States, it portended a market that would eventually mature the subsequent year with the Mercedes SLK.
The SOHC 12V engine was Mitsubishi’s addition to its range of cars in 1996. With slower sales in America, a plan was made to reinvigorate the 3000GT for the 1997 MY. The minor adjustments were cosmetic, including an all-new front bumper and hoop wing. An exterior makeover came about in 1999, including a new front bumper, headlamps, turn signals, sail panels, and a large wing to distinguish the 1999 3000GT VR-4 from the previous models. Production for inside Japan stopped in 2000.
Mitsubishi 3000GT Specs
Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 specs are impressive. The curb weight is 3803 lbs with a turbocharged V6 cylinder engine. This twin-turbo engine outputs a maximum power of 324 PS at 6000 rpm and a maximum torque of 427 Nm at 2500 rpm. The power is transmitted to the road by the AWD with a 6-speed manual gearbox. When it comes to the chassis features, the 3000GT VR-4 has McPherson struts, coil springs, and front suspension made gripping the road a breeze for the 3000GT VR-4. 3000GT VR-4 braking system had vented discs and provided substantial stopping power.
Average Sales Price
3000GT VR-4s for sale is not a difficult term to find. Finding them in a reasonable price range is a bit more difficult. I’ve seen prices range from $2,200 to $20,950, it all depends on where you’re looking. If you’re in the market of a 3000GT VR-4, do your research on your local area; hidden treasures pop up every day.
The Mitsubishi GTO is a good little coupe. It’s not necessarily mind-blowing, but it was ahead of its time in many aspects. In the 3000GT VR-4 trim, it was quite striking. To this day, decades after being discontinued, it is still a sought-after vehicle. Maybe if it had been released in modern times, it would have been understood and appreciated more by its critics. Alas, we shall never know.