By on February 12, 2014

10 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAs with so many things surrounding the bewildering swirl of Renault/AMC- and Mitsubishi-derived products sold by Chrysler brands during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Eagle Summit wagon is something of a puzzler. The Eagle Summit car was a rebadged Mitsubishi Mirage, which itself was the same car as a Dodge/Plymouth Colt. But the Summit wagon was actually a Mitsubishi RVR, sold in the United States as the Mitsubishi Expo LRV and the Dodge/Plymouth Colt Wagon. In Europe, this thing was known as the Space Runner. Space Runner!

In fact, this is a good time to watch a European commercial for the Space Runner. And, just as I did with the ’12 Chevy Sonic rental-car review, I’m going to find some more not-very-relevant ads for the RVR.

A whole lot more than a four-door!

How about Bugs Bunny riding an RVR to the beach while getting red-eyed to Japanese reggae?

Apparently Bugs was the RVR spokesman.

You could get a Space Wagon in Brazil, too.
18 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Eagle brand lasted all the way until 1999, though (disappointingly) the AMC Eagle that donated the name was never sold by Chrysler as an Eagle Eagle.
07 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mitsubishi Sirius 4G63 engine went into everything from the Mitsubishi Cordia to the second-gen Hyundai Elantra to the mighty Proton Perdana. You can always find plenty of 4G63s in American wrecking yards.
21 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe sliding side door was extremely useful, but image-conscious American car shoppers were beginning to hate minivan practicality by this time. Within a few years, just about every potential Eagle Summit buyer would be looking at SUVs.
04 - 1993 Eagle Summit Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYes, just imagine the proud family that owned this Summit Wagon back in 1993, putting some of 1993’s greatest hits on the cassette deck for the family vacation to Action Park.

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48 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1993 Eagle Summit Wagon...”

  • avatar

    I think I’ve seen two Expos and two Summit Wagons. That makes them less rare than the Stanza Prairie and Axxess.


    It’s 1993, you can choose Mitsu or Isuzu – which way do you go?

  • avatar

    Between that Hilton Head beach pass, and an interior that makes this thing look like it spent some time as a work vehicle, I bet it has some interesting stories to tell.

  • avatar
    Bruce the K

    I bought the Mitsubishi version (Expo LRV) used and my wife hauled my two kids around in it for about 5 years. I loved the design. It was a mini-minivan, a perfect size for our family of 4. With all of us aboard, it could hold plenty of stuff for camping or road-tripping. The driving position and visibility were excellent and it handled quite well for what it was. Got fantastic mileage with the 1.8 liter engine/automatic transmission set-up. We routinely got 30 mpg in highway driving and the power was quite adequate (although not blow-back-your-hair awesome, obviously).

    The trade-off for that mileage was that it was pretty lightly built and we did have some issues with the sliding door but the thing that killed it was when the trannie blew at about 110 k miles. I liked the vehicle so much, I had it repaired (by Aamco) but they couldn’t seem to get the linkage to work correctly and I finally gave up and donated it to a family in need. The engine was still running well. I got a notice that it had been abandoned and towed a year or so later. (Hadn’t done my DMV paperwork, I guess.)

    I still miss that car. Practical, economical, reasonably comfortable, it did all I needed with a couple of pre-teen kids and a wife who liked to rack up the miles. Just wish I’d gotten a manual. I would probably still be driving it (although maybe on my second engine by now). ;^)

  • avatar

    157K miles – not bad, not bad at all.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Interesting that the RHD version had a sliding door on the left side. The single second-row slider was a step backwards from the four-door Vista Wagon predecessor, but minivans didn’t get both-side sliders until Chrysler introduced that later in the ’90s. Missed opportunity for Mitsubishi there.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe a missed opportunity for Mitsu, but my ’86 Stanza has dual sliders. There were many complaints in the automotive press about how this compromised structural rigidity, and with the Stanza’s missing B-pillar I wouldn’t want to be in a side-impact accident in one, but the utility of the second slider is even greater in the smaller Stanza than in the Caravan/Voyager twins.

  • avatar

    One of those perfect haulers if you’re seriously into cycling. Roof isn’t too tall for a roof carrier. Four people inside, four bikes on top. Or two and two if you want to carry them inside.

  • avatar

    I bought one of these new in ’92 – an Expo SP; kinda of a bronze-brown over gold. IIRC it had the 2.4 litre engine. Great car except it was an oiler and used around a quart per 800 – 1000 miles even when new (no help on this from Mitsubishi, of course). The only other problem was a failed o’ring on the a/c bulkhead connector, otherwise a solid vehicle. My ex-wife got over 200k miles and 14 years out of it before the tranny went out. Still looked good at the end sitting abandoned at the local air force base “U-Sell ‘Em” lot. Good for hauling the kids around; I could fill all seven seats with them and still had acceptable performance. One of the better vehicles I’ve owned.

  • avatar

    I wish they sold something like that today – the closest is the Mazda5, but it gives up headroom to be more sleek.

    Of course, I also like the current Mitsubishi Mirage, so maybe I value practicality too much.

  • avatar

    Used to get these in frequently for speed sensor failures (cheap fix)on the auto transmissions. They were always nice cars to drive and felt pretty solid.

    If you look in picture 2, you can see that they have the break booster (and clutch master if so equipped) on the right hand side of the car with long actuation rods going over to the peddle box on the driver side. I always thought that was the weirdest design, as they weren’t pressed for space under the hood. Obviously a legacy from RHD, but not common among other conversions.

    • 0 avatar

      The terminology Mitu used was also strange…Steering wheel side was “Drivers Side”, front passenger side was referred to as “Assistant Driver Side” when replacing wipers blades/arms.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    That’s one of the greatest things ever. I am totally using “Assistant Driver” as much as possible. Such a wonderful phrase/term.

    • 0 avatar

      Some tanks of WWII, such as the M4 Sherman, had an Assistant Driver. His job primarily was to fire the front machine gun out of the port bubble in front of him and take over the driver duties in case the driver took some spall. Most tanks of this time had a tractor’s lateral steering system instead of a steering wheel or yoke. I believe you could be able to steer from either side.

      In the Army, on roadtrips with my buddy on the Autobahn, He would take the Asst Drvr position. His job was to adjust the stereo, navigate directions, open all drinks and food items and put them in my reach thereby allowing me to give full concentration on doing 160 mph to Berlin.

  • avatar

    Dude, this is one heck of an awesome car/van.

    One of my former coworker has it driven up to 260k miles with no problem (other than some pealing paint). He was hauling heavy equipment for his job to field services (robotics) and the engineering geek customers would always get a good laugh that their latest $30k a piece equipment was delivered by a $3k beater.

    He was planning to sell it and I wanted to buy it, but his daughter’s Jetta blew a transmission at 75k and need a car. Time to downgrade I guess?

  • avatar

    Loved those cars! My aunt and uncle had the old Colt Vista (like for 17 years) when we had Tauruses. I thought the Colt was more futuristic, plus it had excellent cylinder-to-seatbelt ratio; 2:3. If your Taurus had a bench seat that’s a 1:1 ratio.
    Another aunt had a ’79 Impala two door, so it had a cylinder-to-seatbelt-to-door ratio of 4:3:1.

  • avatar

    This is the car that Click-n-Clack always talk about as THE best car ever sold in America.

  • avatar

    My folks almost bought one of these new back in ’92. Well, it was the Mitsubishi version, the Expo. They ended up buying a Diamante instead. I have no idea how they went from a large econobox to an entry level luxury car. Great salesman, maybe. Anywho, I loved the crap out of that Diamante. We kept it until 2006 when it had 200k on the odometer and I sold it to a high school kid.

  • avatar

    I swear, growing up in the ’90s, that most of these were this shade of Generic Japanese Light Blue… the rest were teal, or occasionally red or white.

    Just my vague memories, though.

  • avatar

    I think the 5 is the spiritual successor to the Expo, Colt,etc. in the US because these types of vehicles are much more in demand outside the US including Canada. The amount of Canadian 5 owners on the Mazda forums seems to be more than US owners.
    Too bad the “minivan stigma” got the better of these cars.I’m sure Mitsubishi could sell these again. How about an Evo version?

    I think the combination of spotty Mitsubishi build quality and that Mitsu seems to always be plying for spotty buyers who might not care for their cars; kills Mitsubishis before their time. I had an 04 Lancer Sportback. It was great mechanically, the seats and most of the interior sucked. But I put 77k on it in two and a half years years and it was only out of service once and that was because the battery went bad.

    Got rear-ended by an Impala and it bent the car ( you could see the roofline bend down behind the C pillar)and that killed it. I would have been well sick of it before it died.

  • avatar

    90s Mitsubishi stuff is the best.

    I don’t know much about 80s Mitsubishi stuff, maybe that’s also the best.

    • 0 avatar

      My ’96 Eclipse GS-T was so fast for its day, man I loved getting on the turbo and feeling the boost kick in. However the engine had a habit of eating piston rings and drinking oil while puffing out blue smoke. Its the only car I’ve owned where I had to make sure I carried an extra quart of oil around just in case. The good news is the oil light worked so I knew when it needed more.

  • avatar

    I loved that this was available with AWD. When I was a kid/teenager a good snowfall would always have me fantasizing about AWD/4×4 of all stripes, whether an Eagle Summit, Subaru, strange Tempo 4×4, jacked up truck, etc…

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    When these first came out I was intrigued . At the time it was aimed at an active lifestyle and when my wife wrecked her car in 1996 I really looked for one to replace it . I hoped to find one with a stick of course and hopefully a sunroof but in a couple of months of looking I never found a single one . Even with new I seldom saw them and always wondered why ( despite the obvious problem of being a Mitsu )because I thought they looked like the perfect vehicle for me .

  • avatar

    Great post. My 1995 Galant came with the same stereo. Love a good “a Rebadged as Mopar Mitsubishi” post.

  • avatar

    They were called the Mitsuishi Nimbus here Down Under, which never really made sense to me. Nimble bus?

  • avatar

    Someone in Chelmsford, MA, has built an awesome sleeper out of one of these. Search for “mitsubishi sleeper eagle 4g63”.

    • 0 avatar

      So do I (1996 Eagle Summit wagon), except I’ve been working on mine since 2007. 1BadVan on cardomain (and many dsm forums) , but haven’t updated it since Nov . I first built it with a fully built forged 2.4 4G64 factory motor SOHC turbo (SAFC), then moved on to same motor with a 4G63 DOHC swap and custom stock machined distributor that fit into a 4G63 DOHC head to use the stock 4G64 ecu. Now I have done a full 95 dsm ecu harness/ 95 eprom ecu so I can run ECMlink. As a matter of fact started it up 2 days ago on the stock 95 dsm ecu.
      My setup is: built/forged 4G64, evo III turbo manifold, old school FP green, fic 950cc injectors, walboro fuel pump, 38mm tial external wastegate, punishment racing O2 housing, port/polished head, upgraded springs, ss valves, etc., 272 cams, SS down pipe, custom exhaust, Act PP/ Southbend clutch, water/air IC and a lot more I’m forgetting right now.
      I’ll be getting link at the end of the month and the real fun starts.

  • avatar

    My uncle used to own a mid-90s Mitsu version with longer wheelbase back in late 1990s. When I started working in his newspaper delivery business in 1999 I gave him my Accord and took the Mitsu van. It was actually pretty decent by standards of the time. Relatively comfy, higher seating position and hauled newspapers like a champ. I even took it offroading inadvertently once on Cape Cod after taking a wrong shortcut through the trees. I recall the only thing in my mind at that point was to keep the momentum going or I’ll be stuck.

    It was relatively reliable too although my uncle did mention changing some expensive item (timing belt maybe?) after my adventures with it. But it hasn’t stranded me and saved my Accord’s wear and tear.

    Interestingly enough before this van my uncle had a 1990 Mitsu Cargo Van with automatic and rwd. That thing was beat to death by him and then newspaper people but was able to do the job most of the time.

  • avatar

    “But the Summit wagon was actually a Mitsubishi RVR, sold in the United States as the Mitsubishi Expo LRV and the Dodge/Plymouth Colt Wagon.”

    And today, we in the U.S. know the RVR better as the Outlander Sport.

  • avatar

    I owned an 87 Mighty Max 2wd, 5 speed stripper that I bought used in 1992 w/ 60k hard miles on it. Drove it another 60k for over 17 years with a total of $225 in unscheduled maintenance (clutch cable and oil pressure sending unit). Sold it, still running well, for $1 to co-worker’s son and replaced with a new base model Toyota Tacoma which was as bad as the Mitsu was good. I dumped the Toyota after 2 years of recalls, unresolved tranny & radio issues.

    I will always miss my faithful Mitsubishi – best and most reliable vehicle I ever owned.

  • avatar

    Ive owned a bunch of these over the years with my favorites being the 2.4 AWD 5 speeds.

    I ran one in our local rallyX for an entire season with decent results. Power and traction were fine but handling got hairy at full tilt.

    Here is a link to my build.. race… then sell thread complete with some nice rallyX pics.

  • avatar

    I had a Galant with the updated 4g64. I dont miss it being gone now.

    It always had cooling issues. I ended up replacing the whole damned cooling system (radiator, et cetera) only to find that the head gasket was shot. Factor in numerous sensor issues and other various items needing replaced, I wasnt a believer.

    And who could forget the lifter tap? Good grief.

    A friend of mine is a DSM enthusiast who has an AWD Eagle Talon turbo. It is a wicked beast for sure, and he swears by them. Of course, his is touting the 4g63 (again with turbo).


  • avatar

    Friend of mine had one of these…hauled a massive telescope out to the dark site with it once a month. Great car, if not exactly “cool”. He put well over 150k on it before some major engine trouble killed it. Replaced it with a used Chrysler minivan which he drove until his own engine trouble got him. Good times in that car..geeky, astronomical good times that I will never forget.

  • avatar

    Wow, the last one i saw was about a year ago and it was a burgandy reddish colour… was way past its prime as it sounded dreadful haha

  • avatar

    I see there is one for sale on e-Bay. Strange looking vehicle.

  • avatar

    Thank you so much for this article and the trip down memory lane.
    I have a red 95 Eagle Summit Wagon with 157,000 miles I bought used about 8 years ago. It’s still my daily driver and I love this car. I’m thinking of having it wrapped and detailing it to be like a new car again. It has a 5 speed standard and is great on gas and zips around like a sports car. Only thing I would add to it would be a sun roof and maybe find someway to suppress the road noise as it is a bit noisy on the highway. All in all it has been well worth the $2000 I paid for it 8 years ago and now it’s 20 years old and really a great car still.

  • avatar

    Anyone hear know somebody that might be interested in a Summit or two? I have a 1994 wagon that’s teal, front wheel drive & a 1993 wagon that’s red & AWD.

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