By on September 3, 2012

I’ve been maintaining an unhealthy obsession the Mitsubishi Cordia for a while now, but what about the hatchback Cordia’s sedan sibling, the Tredia? Very, very few Tredias made it into the United States, and I thought I’d never see one in a wrecking yard… but look at what I just found in California!
Americans had been buying Mitsubishis bearing Dodge and Plymouth badges for a decade before Mitsubishi brought the Tredia, Cordia, and Starion to these shores.

In Japan, Mitsubishi had “Mister Tredia” selling these cars, but that concept didn’t survive the ride across the Pacific.
When this car goes to The Crusher, it will probably lower the total count of American Tredias by 20 percent. I’m hoping that one of the remaining four examples is a Tredia Turbo.

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19 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1983 Mitsubishi Tredia...”

  • avatar

    the good ol’ Astron engine. Noisy but smooth, and heaven help you once the carb went out of tune.

  • avatar

    The Tredia was famous for being available with eight gears. It had two gear levers – one for the gearbox and one for a transaxle (actually a two-speed gearbox added as a bonus to the idle shaft originally required by the engine/transmission layout to get the wheels turning in the correct direction but it is a very long story and I won’t go into the details here).

    To use all eight speeds in sequence was impossible. Every second change required movement of both gear levers at the same time, which meant using both hands. This Heath Robinson tranny was in production for more than a decade before it was eventually dropped for a conventional five-speed. All this was ages before the current crop of seven-speed and eight-speed wonders.

    • 0 avatar

      Can you imagine asking people to think about how to shift gears on a car now? They seem able to push a touch screen a million times to adjust the A/C, but do something to actually manage the operation of the mechanical bits of the car?! Utter madness!

      • 0 avatar

        A manual shifter is actually a good theft deterrent these days, as most car thieves don’t know how to operate one.

      • 0 avatar

        Nobody ever tried to shift those things sequentially, they either left it in high all the time and used it as a four speed, or left it in low and used 4-Hi as a 5th gear.

        Mitsubishis were oddly popular here in Maine back in the day (and still are not uncommon). Also the sundry Dodge-rebadges that used that gearbox.

    • 0 avatar

      I Learned to drive on one of these transmissions, in a 79 Dodge Colt. About the only time you touched the second stick was when you wanted a little more power off the line. Actually those were the labels on the stick positions, Power and Economy. My Fiat has a simular set up with a Sport mode and a economy mode. It is switched with a button on the dash.

  • avatar
    James Courteau

    My mom had one of these in the 80’s. She only has nice things to say about it. She also said she’s never seen another one.

  • avatar

    My memory of the Tredia came from a drunk driver. I was at my grandmas house and later that night, my dad came to pick me up in his new Corvette demo he parked on the street. We both walked out to get in the Corvette, and we noticed a few neighbors looking looking at the car. We got in and one of them said “Hey, you know someone hit your car?” We walked right past the damage! A drunk driver on his way home had hit the rear and rear tire and then parked a few hundred feet down the street. We followed the tire tracks which led to a Mitsubishi Tredia with front damage. The neighbors pointed to the house the driver staggered to. Luckily, my uncle was a newly minted police officer, so we called him, and he came rushing over to flash his badge “San Diego PD, you’re not goin’ nowheres!”

    The Corvette was repaired, but the body had been tweaked, and with disclosure of the damage, it took a LONG time to sell. I still saw that same Tredia for a few years after the incident whenever I went to my grandmother’s house. Those people still have a 1st-gen Nissan Pulsar…

    The Focus Wagon you see in my avatar? It’s in the same spot the Corvette was when it got hit.

  • avatar

    We had a few now and then at the Concord, California dismantling and recycling facility ( okay, junkyard).

    Memory faintly tells me that some suspension parts, engine, tranny, etc. would interchange with other vehicles.

    Parts did sell but mostly via long-distant requests when our inventory was accessed via the Internet.

  • avatar

    In the rear 3/4 shot, it sort of resembles the Renault Alliance.

  • avatar

    Is that a child booster seat built into the driver-side rear seat?

  • avatar

    I saw a Tredia for sale locally for $600 last year and almost bought it because it’s unique. Don’t think I could have resisted if it was a Cordia, those are the unicorn of the automotive world. One piece of Cordia trivia, even the few folks who remember the car don’t realize it was available some years with the Colt’s twin-stick transmission though I am not sure if there was ever a twin-stick turbo version like the Colt.

    • 0 avatar

      My mom’s Colt with the twin stick gave her almost 300 thousand miles of service. She gave it to my brother who sold it to someone else a couple of years ago. It may still be driving out there somewhere.

  • avatar

    The more I look at it, the side and rear 3/4 resembles a Renault Alliance and the front end resembles a Renault 18i.

    Any connection between Mitsu and Renault designers?

  • avatar

    I believe the year is incorrect. This Tredia has a CHMSL. If you look at the last photo, you can see it through the rear window. Also visible in the 3/4 rear view.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I also looks quite similar to the Hyundai Excel considering it was designed by the same designer.

  • avatar

    We had one of these Tredias for a few years. That one had a 136hp 1.8L turbo 4 cylinder engine. It looked quite sporty with the large spoiler in the back. I remember that there was virtually no power till you got the revs up to about 4000rpm then it turned into a rocket. 25 years ago that much power in such a small and light car was impressive. The only other memory I have about it is how fast the body started to rot. It got rusted through in a few years so we had to take it for patching regularly. All in all the long term ownership experience was a nightmare.

  • avatar

    I had an ’84 Cordia Turbo.. the 1.8L was actually 116HP in the US. It has a version of this dual stick transmission but it was a 5-speed. IIRC 1-4 was actually low range and 5th gear was triggered with switch that was triggered when you shifted into 5th gear and actuated a vacuum actuator which shifted the car into 5th gear. I bought the car used around ’90 from a private party and didn’t notice that 5th gear was the same as 4th as I hadn’t taken car on highway. The seller gave me a factory service manual with car and I found that the fix was simply a burned out fuse. Can you believe it a fuse fixed my 5th gear on a manual gearbox? I thought I saw somewhere that only about 2K Turbo versions were imported a year for the ’84-’88 run when Turbo versions were available. The ’83 model was carb only. It was throttle body injected with two injectors. Mine used a considerable amount of oil and aside from replacing a clutch the ECU went out. I was able to get an ECU from an ’84 Dodge Colt Turbo 1.6L to work in the car before I got rid of it.

    No intercooler and turbo bearings were oil cooled only so you generally needed to idle it for a few minutes before shutdown or you could coke oil on the turbo bearings.

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