Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: The Last Mitsubishi Cordia In The World?

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

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.

Paul Niedermeyer
Paul Niedermeyer

More by Paul Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
2 of 52 comments
  • Bryce Chessum Bryce Chessum on May 16, 2011

    Cordia turbos were used as highway patrol cars in NZ but any cordia is rare now they all got thrashed to death

  • KampfZuGewinnen KampfZuGewinnen on Mar 27, 2014

    Last Cordia.. doubt it. I happen to know of 2 others. Me and my ex rebuilt one here in Tucson, AZ. Quite the beauty. 1.8 turbo, huge hit in the illegals.

  • Digital wwoww
  • Probert No, they're not the future. BEV sales are growing every year, and, along with sound energy policy, result in cleaner air, lower CO2, foreign policy not based on oil, and will continue to drive like a smooth powerful nearly silent turbine. Some 19% of new car sales in 2023 were BEVs - this will continue.
  • Mishab Agree with you. Thanks for sharing this insightful update about the upcoming Mini Cooper models! It's fascinating to see Mini's shift towards electrification and the unique design elements they're incorporating into the new John Cooper Works edition.Speaking of Minis, if you're a Mini Cooper owner in Sharjah looking for spare parts or considering common repairs, you might find this article on 7 common Mini Cooper repairs quite useful. ( for reading it). It covers some of the typical issues Mini owners might encounter and offers valuable insights into maintaining these iconic cars.Looking forward to more updates on Mini's electrified lineup and the exciting changes they're bringing to the automotive industry
  • Redapple2 Love/lust a 110 diesel defender. Should buy one since the INEOS is gas only (and double the price). Had a lightweight in Greece. Wonder how this rides.
  • Ajla There is inventory on the ground but as pointed out it is generally high dollar trims of high-dollar models and at least around here dealers still aren't budging off their mandatory nitrogen tires and Summer weather protection packages.You aren't paying '21-'22 prices anymore but it's still a long way to go.