Ah, the 3000GT: possibly the car that’s most commonly believed not to be front-wheel drive, even though it is. That’s an accolade it shares with the 1997-2003 Audi A8, by the way. And while both cars offered all-wheel drive versions, you’d never know the 3000GT did by looking at Atlanta Craigslist.
Indeed, nearly every 3000GT on Atlanta Craigslist is either a base model (161 horsepower – honestly) or an SL. The SL had 222 horses, but it was still no trackday monster since it weighed about as much as Skylab. (Not to mention the aforementioned front-wheel drive issue.)
All the 3000GTs on Atlanta Craigslist are also in tough shape – and by “tough shape” I either mean “needs work” or “automatic.” This 1994 model is both, offering both the four-speed auto and a wide variety of inexplicable graphics down the side. It’s only $1,000, but the ad says it “does not run.” Mileage is unlisted.
That one’s the low end of the spectrum. The high end is this ’97 model with the five-speed stick and only 87,500 miles, priced at $8,500. The catch: it’s still the SL, it still heavy and front-wheel drive, and – most importantly – it isn’t red. And red, ladies and gentlemen, is crucial to the 3000GT ownership experience.
It’s the same story in the world of Dodge Stealth, the 3000GT’s heavily aged mechanical twin. Don’t be fooled if an ad says it’s the “R/T” model: that designation doesn’t mean all-wheel drive or twin turbos. To get that, you have to upgrade to the R/T Turbo, of which there’s only one on Atlanta craigslist: this car.
I’m not much for modifying, but this thing looks pretty good. Only 60,000 miles, brand new clutch, well maintained, and clearly owned by an enthusiast, and only $8,500. But wait! What’s that I see in the background? Are those… palm trees? Ah, yes: the car is wearing Puerto Rico plates. So it’s $8,500 plus shipping, and the owner’s manual will be in Spanish.
The 3000GT/Stealth crop isn’t very desirable, sadly – and that’s true even if you go on pay sites like AutoTrader.com. The nice cars that are out there command big asking prices. And if there’s such a thing as a 3000GT/Stealth enthusiast, they probably get them. Assuming, of course, they have all-wheel drive and two turbos.
Skyline. Supra. The Z-Car. RX-7. NSX. These are the Japanese sports cars that will forever live on in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts, no matter how many times they’re killed off and resurrected. The Mitsubishi 3000GT and Dodge Stealth never made it that far.
I have a vivid memory of the mid-1990s magazine ads showing the 3000GT VR- Spyder with its folding hardtop in motion. I had never seen anything like that before, and I wouldn’t until Mercedes-Benz debuted the SLK. Turns out nobody really wanted to pay $57,449 for a Mitsubishi, no matter how much the roof looked like a ’59 Galaxie.
Mitsubishi didn’t sell cars in Canada until the late 1990’s, but there seems to be a decent supply of 3000GTs in the Toronto area. There are no Spyders for sale locally, but there are VR-4 models with all-wheel drive, twin-turbo powertrains and 4000 lb curb weights. This 1992 model has less than 100,000 miles for just $6,800 and it’s an honest-to-goodness VR-4.
If an American car is too common, how about a real Japanese domestic market car, with right-hand drive, some careful engine modifications and a horrendous bodykit? These cars were sold as the “Mitsubishi GTO” in Japan, and obviously, a name change was required for North American sales.
Still hankering after a droptop? Well there is one alternative. It’s a Dodge Stealth, and there’s no folding hard top. I know you’re probably thinking “there was no Dodge Stealth convertible, who the hell is this know-nothing kid and what did they do with Niedermeyer?” but someone apparently went to the trouble of having a coach-built convertible conversion done to a Stealth. The lone flaw I can see is that it’s an automatic. The yellow-painted valve covers and the cornball chrome wheels are, in my opinion, the perfect amount of 1990’s kitsch that can let you get away with driving this car ironically. Or, look at it this way: it’s the same price as a base Elantra and only marginally faster.