Junkyard Find: 1984 Mitsubishi Cordia

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

OK, so I’ve got a silly obsession with the Mitsubishi Cordia. I was only vaguely aware of the Cordia/ Tredia back in the 1980s, but since then it has come to symbolize crazy pre-Boredom Era Japanese automotive design plus drive home the point that not all Japanese cars were more reliable than Detroit products back then. So, my heart leaps when I see a Cordia, be it on the street, on the race track… or awaiting a one-way trip to a Chinese steel factory. Here’s a non-turbo Cordia I found in Northern California last month.

According to the odometer, this car has fewer than 30,000 miles under its belt. Huh?

Cordias were never known for racking up Corolla-like lifetime mileage figures, but the completely worn-out interior suggests that the odo broke early on in the car’s career. That, or someone lived in it for a decade or so.

The naturally aspirated Cordia came equipped with an 88-horsepower, 2-liter four. The base model scaled in at a featherweight 2,101 pounds (just 79 pounds heavier than the same-year Chevette, which boasted a mighty 65 horses on gasoline… and 51 with the diesel engine). So, Cordia drivers could feel confident that their futuristic-looking Mitsus could eat up a new Chevette in a drag race!

One of these days I’m going to find a junked Tredia. There must be a few left!

Until that time, let’s contemplate the incomprehensible Japanese-ness of this Cordia ad.

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.

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2 of 18 comments
  • Jcisne Jcisne on Apr 11, 2012

    Jackie Chan in The Cannonball Run. That's the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this car. But after a Google search I see that his car was a Starion, not a Cordia.

  • Google Google on Feb 18, 2023

    It's Metcalf version

  • Doug brockman hardly. Their goals remain to punish us by mandating unsafe unreliable unaffordable battery powered cars
  • Lorenzo It looks like the curves are out and the boxy look is back. There's an upright windscreen, a decided lack of view obstructing swoop in the rear side panels, and you can even see out of the back window. Is Lexus borrowing from the G-Class Mercedes, or the Range Rover?
  • Lorenzo Didn't those guys actually test drive cars? I was told that one drove like an old lady, another like a maniac, and the third like a nervous middle aged commuter who needs to get to work on time and can't afford big repair bills, and they got together to pass judgement within their individual expertise. No?
  • Lorenzo Aw, I don't care what they call the models, as long as they don't use those dots over the O's.
  • The Oracle GM just seems hapless lately