Over the years, Mitsubishi has created some special models ranging from performance coupes to 4×4 SUVs. Some of these models were preserved by Mitsubishi UK as a part of its heritage fleet but the British arm of the Japanese manufacturer has decided that it’s time to find some of these special cars new homes. 14 cars from its fleet have been put up for auction. Here are four cars that we think stand out from the lot.
2001 Mitsubishi Lancer 2,0 Evolution VI Tommi Makinen
This generation of the Lancer is loved by many, mainly because of how it dominated the WRC of its era at the hands of rally expert Tommi Makinen. This special edition pays homage to the Finnish racer with it wearing a diluted livery as the car he competed in. This particular car has been signed by Makinen as it celebrates his fourth championship title. This particular car was owned from new by Mitsubishi Motors in the UK and is car number six (a nod to the fact it is an Evo VI). It has covered just over 16 000 km.
The Tommi Makinen Edition featured a titanium turbocharger with a more responsive, smaller compressor wheel, a quick-ratio steering rack, free-flow exhaust, front strut-tower brace, special front bumper (with improved airflow and cooling) and 17-inch white Enkei alloy wheels. Priced from £32 995 (approximately R670 000) all 250 sold out within weeks.
Inside there are unique Recaro bucket seats with the Tommi Makinen logo and a special numbered plaque, plus the usual Momo steering wheel and gearknob trimmed in red-stitch leather.
1987 Mitsubishi Pajero MK1 SWB
The Mitsubishi Pajero (known as the Shogun in the UK) debuted in 1982 as a new multi-purpose vehicle which combined off-road capabilities without compromising comfort, handling and specification. This entry-level three-door example, nicknamed “Little Pea” because of its registration number, joined the heritage fleet in 2018 and has been meticulously maintained.
Details of its first owners are unknown but its most recent London-based owner used it as a private car for many years until his passing at which point it was auctioned off as part of his estate. Averaging just 4 800 km per year, there is no evidence of it ever being taken off road and its 2,6-litre petrol engine has clearly been meticulously maintained over the years.
The vehicle needed only light recommissioning to get back to near original condition. Its paint was given a professional polish, a small dent in the C-pillar was fixed, the wheels were refurbished and a small power-steering leak was repaired. Inside, the seats and dashboard are completely original with only one small repair needed on the driver’s side bolster vinyl. Everything is present, including its original bottle jack and winding handle and even its factory AM/MW radio.
1983 Mitsubishi Jeep J27 Soft Top
This is without a doubt an important piece of off-roading history. In 1953 Mitsubishi Motors started producing Jeeps under licence from the Willys Company in the US for sale to the Japanese market. This particular example was built in 1979 and was one of eight imported to the UK by the Colt Car Company.
Although early cars were left-hand drive, the vast majority were right-hand drive and they helped establish Mitsubishi’s reputation for off-road vehicles in its home market. In the 45 years it remained in production, some 200 000 Mitsubishi Jeeps were built before the last one rolled off the line in 1998. Throughout that time, the vehicle changed very little with leaf springs and drum brakes front and rear. A solid 2,6-litre petrol engine drives all four wheels through a selectable four-wheel drive system.
This particular 1981 built example was one of eight imported by the Colt Car Company to assess its viability and for general use by the business. However, having fallen into disuse during the 90s, it was recommissioned sometime in the 00s, with over 5 000 man hours invested in its nut-and-bolt restoration.
1988 Mitsubishi Starion
This Mitsubishi Starion is a sportscar that proved Mitsubishi had some attitude when it came to performance. This example has been meticulously maintained and has recently undergone an engine and turbo overhaul to ensure it delivers the kind of performance its looks suggest.
Powered by the more desirable and powerful 2,0-litre turbocharged and intercooled four-cylinder 4G63 engine, the Starion produced 134 kW and was equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox, limited slip differential, ventilated disc brakes all around and leather upholstery for its 2+2 seats. Cruise control and a radio and cassette stereo system are also fitted to the cabin.
This example was registered in March 1988 and spent most of its early life in private hands before being purchased by Colt Car Company in 2012 to add to its heritage fleet.