As is all-too obvious, I have a particular soft spot for older Japanese cars, especially the more obscure varieties. So when I walked into this Cordia, I just had to stop, shoot and write. I haven’t seen one since moving to Oregon, but there might well be some logical rationale behind that: the Cordia was almost surely was never sold there. Good luck finding any Cordia, or its Tredia sedan sibling, but if anywhere at all, its going to be here in California.
In our recent Colt/Champ CC, we covered the Mitsubishi-Chrysler tie-up. By the early eighties, Mitsubishi wanted more of the action than just wholesaling cars to Chrysler, and pissed off its partner by going into business in the US by itself. Since the Colt and Space Wagon were tied up by Chrysler, Mitsubishi began by sending a trio of the more stranger-named cars just about ever to hit these shores: Cordia, Tredia and Starion.
The Cordia name was explained as a combination of cordorite, a lustrous mineral, and diamonds, Mitsu’s logo. The Tredia was supposedly named after the three-diamonds logo. And the Starion? Urban legend has it that it was an “Engrished” version of the intended name “Stallion”. We’ll take on that whole story when I find a Starion. But let me start off the debate by asking: does Starion sound any less intentionally weird than Cordia or Tredia?
Anyway, Mitsubishi started out with a small dealer network, which was in California and…California. Well, actually, a few east coast markets were technically also part of the slow roll-out, but damn if I ever saw one of these Cordias out east. And if any were sold, they’ve obviously long since succumbed to the oxide god.
I can’t find out a lot of detail anymore about exactly which engines Mitsubishi installed in US-bound Cordias. Probably a 1.8 liter four. Were any turbos sent this way? Are there any early Mitsubishi fans out there? Does anyone care? But before this obscure box completely leaves our collective memories, it deserves its fifteen seconds of fame. Consider it done.