Many of us laugh at the Starion now, but it was considered genuinely badass by me and my high-school peers back in 1983 or 1984. It looked fast and mean and had the magical-in-the-1980s word “TURBO” on every possible surface.
Of course, it was also a flaky, breakdown-prone money pit, but it took a few years for that to become clear to everyone. Still, Starions show up in self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a battered ’84 that I saw in the San Francisco Bay Area a while back.
It’s not enough to have TURBO badges on the outside of the car. You need TURBO seatbelts as well! If ever a car screamed for the legendary 2″ screen black-and-white in-dash TV, it was the Starion.
Mitsubishi was all about the futuristic technology back then. Thermostat-based HVAC systems were found in hyper-expensive Mercedes-Benzes and the occasional Detroit luxury car (where this feature didn’t work so well).
The 2.6 liter Astron four-cylinder engine went in many Mitsubishi and Chrysler machines during the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, you could get a Chrysler K-car with this engine and “Hemi 2.6” badges.