Future Classic or Crusher Food? Low-Mile Mitsubishi Cordia For $4K

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Back when I created the Nice Price or Crack Pipe series for Jalopnik, my favorite subjects were super-original cars that most people don’t even remember having existed; the point was to present the readers with a dilemma. Señor Emslie aka Graverobber has done a fine job carrying the NPOCP torch, but I’ve decided to keep this most agonizing of all low-mile dilemmas for my own use: an 18,630-mile Mitsubishi Cordia L.

I’ve lately become fascinated by the Cordia (and its sedan sibling, the Tredia). From the standpoint of the automotive historian, the first generation of non-Chrysler-badged Mitsubishi cars in North America is of some interest, particularly when considering that the only triple-diamond-badged car of the mid-80s that anybody recalls today is the flaky-yet-gorgeous Starion. Very few Cordias were sold in the United States, and those that developed costly problems (i.e., damn near every one) weren’t valuable enough to be worth saving; I haven’t seen one on the street for a decade, and even junked examples are about as commonplace as Aston Martin Lagondas. So here’s this showroom-condition ’85 in Florida for a mere— or is it an exorbitant?— four grand. An ’85 Celica or Maxima with this few miles on the clock and a mid-roller price tag would have dudes cold blasting each other with TEC-9s (remember, are talking about Florida here) to be the first in line to buy the thing, but a Cordia? Bundle it with a low-mile I-Mark for six grand and I’ll be on the next flight to Miami!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

More by Murilee Martin

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 43 comments
  • Speedygreg7 Speedygreg7 on Oct 19, 2011

    Hey that is my uncle's car. Garage kept its entire life. I remember when he bought it, he was looking at the Celica and 2 door 626 as well. Too bad he didn't choose one of those cars instead as he would have a desirable classic.

  • NSF Racing NSF Racing on Dec 25, 2011

    I just bought an 87 Corida Turbo 5 speed - We're going to Lemonize it and race it in North Carolina in March 2012.

  • Dartdude Having the queen of nothing as the head of Dodge is a recipe for disaster. She hasn't done anything with Chrysler for 4 years, May as well fold up Chrysler and Dodge.
  • Pau65792686 I think there is a need for more sedans. Some people would rather drive a car over SUV’s or CUV’s. If Honda and Toyota can do it why not American brands. We need more affordable sedans.
  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.
Next