By on June 27, 2013

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While Doug and I are preparing our next installment of “Derek and Doug’s Fantastic Crapwagons“, this gem came across my desk thanks to a sharp-eyed reader.

The car in question is a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, a rare bird that was never ever sold here in Canada. The seller says it doesn’t have a drivetrain, but it’s only $800. If you’re lucky, you might be able to sell those godawful wheels and find a junked DSM powertrain from a wreckers and make a nice Lemons car.

Lacking any extra space, I can’t buy it, even though it’s tantalizingly close to me in Ann Arbor, MI. But someone should. I’d hate to see this thing go to the scrapyard.

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20 Comments on “Craigslist Crapwagon Outtake: Mitsubishi Galant VR-4...”


  • avatar

    I could imagine Brian Driggs of Gearbox Magazines would love it, too, but he already has a couple Galants and not enough time last I heard.

    • 0 avatar

      I sent the ad to him. I think he’s looking for another Mitsu project.

    • 0 avatar

      I saw the title on my RSS feed before even opening the article and thought “well, Brian’s gonna comment on this.”

      • 0 avatar

        I guess I beat him to it.

        • 0 avatar

          Whoa. I got mentioned on TTAC. Cool.

          Thanks for the mention, Harvey. Appreciate it.

          Though I just sold my second (and last… for now) GVR4 this month for budgetary reasons, I feel I should mention a couple things here.

          1. Only 3,009 GVR4s were ever sold in North America. Qualified estimates based on the registry maintained by members of GalantVR4.org suggest less than 1,500 likely remain today.

          2. E39A/6th Gen GVR4s share a lot of powertrain components with the more common 1st gen, AWD DSM, but there are minor differences. The battery location is different, for example, meaning the GVR4 has a different intake snorkel between the turbo inlet and MAF. Most notable is the main prop shaft between the transfer case and rear diff being longer on the Galant. Those are the big ones.

          3. A number of newer Evo bits are an easy fit, too. Recaros, suspension, cams, fuel system, ECU… all fairly popular, making a 300hp Evo “0″ easily possible.

          4. This is a very fair price for a roller in this condition. Complete, running cars in good condition sell anywhere from US$2500 to upwards of US$20,000 (not a typo). You won’t find a clean, turnkey daily driver GVR4 in the States for less than three grand. (My own stripped roller, with a 6-point cage and salvage title just sold for US$2k.)

          5. Figure about $1500 to source an engine, gearbox, ECU, and all the little odds and ends required to install. $2300 is a great price for a 200hp, turbocharged, AWD 4-door that neither cops nor crims notices on the street. For $5000, including the cost of the car on this one, you could have more than 300hp to all four wheels that’s equally at home on tarmac and gravel.

          These were the precursor to the first Evo. Before the Lancer Evolution (I) was developed, Mitsubishi offered a 16G and FMIC-equipped Galant VR4 Evolution in other parts of the world.

          These things are getting harder to find by the day. Unfortunate to see one so close to the crusher. Hope someone scoops it up. I’d love to own another, but figure I’ve got about a year to decide between another GVR4, Starion, first gen Lancer/Colt, or a DIY Evo II.

          Time will tell. Keep going fast with class and press on regardless.

  • avatar
    forzablu

    This is way too close to me… and I’m pretty sure I know someone who knows the guy that owns this…dangerously tempted.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    That generation Galant was a great driver’s car. Anyone who drove the original TSX or Mazda6 would feel right at home in one.

    It was a well packaged design with 36″ of rear legroom in a compact 184″ chassis. With the VR-4 it was in the league of that era’s M3, S6, and 850 Turbo; it could handle the same modifications as the Talon, and it was pure stealth. Even the lower models had electronic suspensions and cutting edge technology.

    Now Mitsubishi has…the i-MiEV, that rolling aspirational turd of Japan Inc.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      I had the 1996 Dodge Avenger, which was a coupe version of the same chassis. People were constantly amazed at the amount of rear legroom and visbility. The rear seats were higher than the fronts.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, the Avenger/Sebring twins were derived from the subsequent, 7th generation Galant platform, not the 6th gen as featured here. They were an interesting mix of DSM and Galant and Neon.

        To me, 2002 Sebring Coupe has “cannibalized Eagle design” written all over it, much like how the 1999 Chrysler 300M was a cannibalized Eagle Vision when the brand was shelved.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    Thanks for providing context because I could not figure out why this car is desirable. Even when new, in the jellybean era, these were very anonymous cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      A fast car that looks fast can accumulate speeding tickets while stopped at a traffic light. A fast car that’s anonymous is much more satisfying to drive.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This was a fairly obscure niche that eventually grew and was filled a decade later by the Evo and (especially) the WRX and STi.

  • avatar
    gessvt

    The white wheels are fine. Like the 323 GTX, this car had rally credentials.

  • avatar
    Tim_Turbo

    A friend of mine had one of these right after we started college. Fun car, and a perfect sleeper. Not many people knew what it was at the time and it was fun to challenge “fast” cars and smoke them.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I don’t know why but I’d rather have one of these over the Evo X.

  • avatar
    alterboy21

    My first car was a GVR4 (#627) and it is still my favorite car.
    Ultimate sleeper and a hoot in the snow (the Galant was the WRC Champion before the EVO or WRX). Easily brought up to power with interchangeable parts with other DSM/EVO cars. A comfortable cruiser for 4 when not hustling.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    So, my 90s Mitsubishi question for today:

    The Diamante was sold as the Sigma over in Europe – but we never got the AWD one because it was too close to this model? Not enough demand?

    Correct me if there’s a Diamante VR-4 out there (rallywagon!).

    • 0 avatar

      @CoreyDL

      Sigmas are pretty cool. I think your dream is possible, if not immediately easy or common. How can I put this….?

      You know how the USDM Diamante is called Sigma everywhere else. Did you know the current generation Lancer (upon which the Evo X is based) is officially a Galant in Japan due to its size? They still call the Evo Lancer Evolution X over there, but if you Google: “Galant Fortis,” you can see why some of us might see the current Evo being more Galant VR4 than Evo. ;)

      More to the technical aspects of your proposed swap, consider the V6 Diamante/Sigma is probably running the 6G72 used in the 3000GT of similar vintage, so a twin turbo swap is probably low-hanging fruit. Converting any FWD vehicle to AWD is going to require fabrication skills, but finding a wrecked 3000GT VR4 (or Dodge Stealth R/T) might be a good starting point for such a project.

      If I were going to do this project – and it’s seriously crossed my mind more than a couple times – I think I’d start by researching the engine in my Sigma for compatibility with the “3S/i.” (3000GT/Stealth community moniker extends to the cars these days, imo.)

      What would it take to turbocharge – twin or otherwise – the lump under the hood? Bolt up the turbo bits from the halo car? Are the internals up to snuff or would I be better off swapping the complete engine (or at least rebuilding with turbo car internals)? Will my gearbox handle the power or should I grab a 3S/i unit (FWD? AWD? 6-speed swap)? Is the ECU flashable to 3S/i specs or would I need to source the turbo car unit?

      That might be steps to a 250-300hp FWD 6-speed Sigma, which would be remarkable in its own right, methinks, and the second phase of your project could be fitting the AWD bits under the rear of the car. Might need a custom driveshaft built, might need a custom/modified fuel tank, might need a spool for center diff if you wanted to run the AWD gearbox in FWD config for any length of time without worrying about nuking the viscous coupling.

      Honestly? I think the hardest part of this project would be finding a good, clean Sigma wagon in North America. One of the projects I’m considering for next year is a DIY Evo IX GT wagon. Of course, Mitsubishi only sold about 1,500 2004 Lancer wagons in North America, so even though an Evo drivetrain swap would be fairly easy, any damage to the body would probably be a game ender.

      Hope this helps. If you’d like further inspiration, Google: Mitsubishi Legnum VR4. ;)


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