By on March 10, 2012

It was just a couple of months ago that I shot this blue ’82 Sapporo in a California junkyard… and now here’s another Sapporo in the same yard.
Where have these cars been hiding?
This one managed to get close to 200,000 miles, which is excellent for a Malaise Era Mitsubishi product.
Yes, Malaise Era cars looked best in brown.
Rear-wheel-drive with a big Astron four-cylinder engine. The Sapporo and its Dodge Challenger sibling didn’t sell particularly well, but they had a certain goofy cool.

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37 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1982 Plymouth Sapporo...”


  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Always liked this car. Look interior was particularly well done for the era, and this confirms my lingering memories from having been in one around 1983.

    Funny, I never noticed until looking at these pictures how much the front end styling reminds of a ’79 ford mustang.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    For nearly 200K miles, the interior held up reasonably well.

    True a few seam splits here and there and the usual worn spot on the driver’s seat from getting in and out of the car over time, but the cloth seemed to have held up well though.

    Even the dash and wheel look good for a car that’s essentially 30 Years old.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Edit function doesn’t seem to be working, Or else I would remove the word “look” from the beginning of the second sentence.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Didn’t these have Hemis in them?

  • avatar
    JCraig

    This must have been pretty plush. It’d be nice if there were still a variety of cars seats, these days they pretty much all look the same.

    This kind of looks like a DeLorean from the front.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    So is it safe to say that the malaise era ended when 4 square headlights were phased out?

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      The 1984 Lincoln Mark VII was the first US car with aero headlights. They began to appear on other US cars in 1985-1986 though some like the FoMoCo Panther models kept the old-style quad lights to 1990 or beyond. The Malaise era ended in 1982-1983 with a return of performance to Detroit cars, an upturn in the US economy, and the stabilization of gas prices.

      • 0 avatar
        Contrarian

        In other words the malaise era ended when Jimmy Carter was booted out. Let’s take a hint from that.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I know, oh my god, we live in such hell, a base V6 Mustang for about ~$20K only has 305 horsepower. We better get a good looking moderate Republican from Illinois in the White House. Oh, wait, we’ve already got that.

        You know what would have caused an automotive malaise era? Letting GM, Chrysler and Ford fail (Ford took Federal Reserve money, and would have gotten taken out by the supplier shock of GM and Chrysler failing). And the only person that has a chance against the current centrist, corporatist president wanted to let that automotive malaise era happen.

        Talking stupidly about an incredibly intelligent, self-made person does not make one smart.

        By the way, you know who wants to put a VAT tax on that ~$20K Mustang? Conservatives. So that they can lower income taxes on the ultra rich whose wealth is based on public education of employees, public research and development, public infrastructure and publicly funded military intervention. But they say they are self-made, so it must be true.

      • 0 avatar

        Talking stupidly about an incredibly intelligent, self-made person does not make one smart.

        And who exactly would that be? I’m still waiting on the oceans to recede and the unemployment rate to fall below 8%. November can’t get here soon enough!

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Wow it got so Red in here all of the sudden.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    These weren’t bad cars at all as long as you didn’t expect a lot of sports car reflexes. Think of them as nice late-malaise cruiser coupes. The facelifted and cleaned-up ’81-’83 models were the best of the bunch.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    These were solid riding, decent (not great) handling cruiser coupes from that era. The Challenger/Sapporo twins were also pretty well-equipped cars, including 4 wheel disc brakes (with the aluminum wheel package), power mirrors, remote trunk and gas door releases and wacky electronic instrument panel with the 1983-only Technica package. True competitors were the Mustang 4 & 6 cylinder and the Celica, until fuel injection came along in ’83. These were the best looking of the bunch IMO.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Where have they all gone? To Eugene, of course. This one is a DD: http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/cc-follow-up-1978-plymouth-sapporo-still-stayin-alive/

  • avatar
    Zarba

    OK, all we really want to know is…Where’s the clock???

  • avatar
    solracer

    Back in ’79 I thought I had bought a demo Dodge Challenger (the Sapporo’s twin). I negotiated the price with the salesman and wrote the dealer a $500 deposit until I could arrange financing. Came back the next day and discovered that they had sold the car to someone else who walked in with cash! And this was from the Mazda dealer that my dad had just bought a new RX-7 from. Since that time I’ve bought 5 new Mazdas and what do you know they were from another local Mazda dealer, I swear car dealers never think of the future, only the present!

    • 0 avatar
      Maintainer

      That’s pretty crummy for certain. Dealers in the 70s and 80s were a different breed.
      The one reason that they don’t look to the future though is that they’re paying squeeze money on what’s in stock now, not the cars that they are going to get months or years from now.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Since they had your check, they ran a Bureau on you. You looked kinda shaky, so they sold it for less for cash.

      They didn’t trust you since you wanted to go outside for financing.

      They figured a sure sale was better than letting the car sit around while you went all over town to try to get financing.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Were these two door hardtops, or do they have slim B-pillar? Agreed they still look pretty good today, because of their nice, conservative, no nonsense styling. It’s the overstyled one that tends to look ridiculous once their era has passed.

    Has cruise control but no power windows? I thought cruise controls typically ranked higher than power windows in the options totem pole.

    • 0 avatar
      tonyola

      The first series cars (1978-1980) were true pillarless hardtops – all the windows could be cranked down with no B-pillar. The rear side windows became fixed when the cars were restyled for 1981.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve-O

        Tonyola: “The rear side windows became fixed when the cars were restyled for 1981.”

        Not true. I had a 1981 Dodge Challenger and it was indeed a pillarless hardtop (one of my favorite features of the car!). They kept their pillarless design right until the end of their run in 1983…

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      I had a ’91 Ford Escort LX with crank windows, a 5 speed, and factory cruise.

      It was hard to find one like that.

      • 0 avatar
        StudeDude

        Re: a couple of preceding posts—the clock was in the center of the dash near the windshield—easy to see and set. All of the ’78-’83 Challengers and Sapporos were true B-pillarless hardtops with roll-down rear side windows.

      • 0 avatar
        droman1972

        Nah wasn’t hard at all. I owned both a 91 and a 93 Escort GT. Both came with cruise and crank windows. You couldn’t get power windows in them if you even wanted too. For some reason back then Japanese based cars (these were Mazda based) found air conditioning and power windows to be VERY optional.

  • avatar

    I love the color code sticker. Not “Cappucino” or “Desert Wind” or “Copper Stone” or some other vague color description thought up by a room full of marketing interns. Nope, honest to God “Brown.”

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    Looks like a mini-Mirada. Haven’t seen one of these intact in decades!

    Most in MN had rotted completely away by about 1992. :)

  • avatar
    jimbobjoe

    It has an OK sticker on it! This is the first junkyard find I’ve seen where the sticker was photographed. What ever happened to the OK sticker anyway? As a kid I always associate it with the Japanese pursuit of perfection, though it hits me as funny now that it only said “OK” as opposed to “Perfect” or something like that.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      I too haven’t seen something like this in a long time, although I did see an aluminum sign at shop recently with an red and yellow embossed “OK” as part of a promotion? for Chevy/Olds used cars.

      I would expect the Japanese ‘OK’ sticker to say something to the effect of “We have dishonored your ancestors with this superior built automobile”.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I was always a fan of these. My sister considered buying a used one but went for another Toyota because for some reason the door bottoms on these rot and the skins seperate. I had a co-worker who had one with the same problem.

  • avatar
    lboggie

    Hello where can I locate the dodge challanger/sapporo in the caption picture I need parts badly thanks. email gladitor169@yahoo.com thanks What is the location/email address?

  • avatar
    Nico Maxmillan

    Hello I would also like to place an offer for the body parts as it is hard to come by in Malaysia. Please kindly email me at nimillan26@gmail.com thank you. Restoring one here, hope everyone else succeed in their project :)


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