Junkyard Find: 1996 Mitsubishi 3000GT

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

I’m always looking for more Mitsubishi Junkyard finds, because the Mitsubishi-in-America story has been fascinating ever since the days when the first Mitsubishi product was imported via the Aleutian Islands. The Mitsubishi GTO (which was sold in the United States as the Mitsubishi 3000GT and the Dodge Stealth) didn’t steal many sales from prospective Supra Turbo— or even fourth-gen GM F-body— buyers, but it was still a fairly credible high-performance machine for its day.

Nowadays, though, depreciation has sent the value of all but the most perfect 3000GTs into the realm of the eighth-owner ’92 Plymouth Sundance. This means that moderately beat examples end up in places like this Colorado self-service wrecking yard.

With 220 horsepower out of its 24-valve V6 and optional all-wheel-drive, the 3000GT was pretty quick.

We’ve seen a half-dozen or so Mitsubishi GTOs in 24 Hours of LeMons racing, and they’ve been pretty poor performers (though, to be fair, such cars as the Supra, GTI, and Mustang also fare badly in LeMons racing). Stealths and 3000GTs have managed to squeeze into the upper reaches of the standings several times at LeMons events, but then mechanical problems put them onto the jackstands (note the fuel gushing out of the filler neck on this Stealth in Texas, for example).

Within a few years, I predict that the only 3000GTs left in America will be coddled garage queens, and the occasional example that ends up in the junkyard will be picked clean by owners of those few yars.

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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  • Japgto Japgto on Nov 15, 2012

    I bought a Dodge stealth twin turbo this summer from a friend that was a well taken care of car. A lot of the comments on here are pretty funny. The car does handle well and is more predictable than either of the 2 911s I own. However, it is a big heavy complicated car. That is the price for the 4-wheel drive and other stuff it has. The other thing that is funny is how much other drivers on the road truly hate this car for some reason. Even the dumbest clown in some beat up mini truck will try to hang with it in some corner or try to race it, with predictable results. They disappear in the mirror and you worry they ran off the road. I suspect many of the posts here are from folks who either: A: never drove one B: drove or rode in a non-turbo model C: just hate Mitsubishi in general I don't really care, it's a fun car to drive and if the soccer-mom and gofast-civic crowd hate it, so what. I am daunted by the factory manual I downloaded though. There are quite a few pages of just special tool the factory made to work on it. I will be doing the timing belt this coming spring and my opinion may change.

  • Mtboy Mtboy on Sep 13, 2013

    Japgto: I agree. I drove my '93 VR4 from CT to MT in Winter. It is an amazing car. It seems the thread starts with a slam - and it just kinda keeps building. It's fast, full of gadgets and a blast to drive. The style I love. Yeah, give me those pop up headlights, too cool. The hood "blisters" just add to the look.

  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)
  • Mister They've got their work cut out for them. I live in a large metropolitan city of 1.2+ million people, the is a single Mitsubishi dealer. It's really more like a used-car dealer that sells Mitsubishi on the side. With the remarkably cheesy name of "Johnny Legends".
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh WHAT !?
  • Jeff Matt--I think this is a good move for Mitsubishi to expand their presence with satellite dealers. I had a 85 MItsubishi Mighty Max and my sister had a 83 MItsubishi Starion. MItsubishi needs to add a compact pickup to compete with the Maverick and the Santa Cruz but offer it for less. A smaller more affordable truck will sell. I believe MItsubishi should still offer an inexpensive subcompact like the Mirage it will sell in a slowing car market with high msrps. Yes I know the Mirage is probably going to be canceled but I believe in these times it is a mistake and they should reconsider cancelling the Mirage. Toyota is having problems selling the new redesigned Tacomas and Tundras with the turbo 4s and 6s. Most Tacomas have MSRPs of well over 40k. There is room for MItsubishi to grow their market share with more affordable vehicles. I am not saying Mitsubishi is going to overtake Toyota, Honda, or Nissan but they should take advantage of the more affordable market segment that these companies for the most part have abandoned. MItsubishi doesn't have to be the biggest just increase sales and become more profitable.