By on September 8, 2015

00 - 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon Junkyard Find - Photo by Murilee Martin

1993 wasn’t a great year for the station wagon in the American marketplace; the final Volvo 245 came out that year, minivans and SUVs were kicking hell out of wagon sales as families decided that each child required a thousand pounds and/or 150 cubic feet of gear for any trip, and nobody seemed aware that wagon versions of everything from the Sable to the Camry were available for sale.

It’s easy to forget that the not-so-hot-selling Diamante had an even slower-selling wagon version back then, but I was reminded by the sight of this one in a Northern California wrecking yard.
07 - 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon Junkyard Find - Photo by Murilee Martin

The 6G72 V6 engine went into an astonishing variety of vehicles during its production run dating back to the Muromachi period, from the Proton Perdana to the Chrysler’s TC By Maserati to the worst car in 24 Hours of LeMons history.

02 - 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon Junkyard Find - Photo by Murilee Martin

This car made it past 200,000 miles.

09 - 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon Junkyard Find - Photo by Murilee Martin

It was tough for Mitsubishi and Mazda and the other smaller Japanese marques to compete with Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura when it came to the dollars of American car shoppers considering Japanese luxury machinery, and luxury wagon shoppers tended to gravitate to the German dealerships. How many Diamante wagons are left on the road today?

 

 

So many patents!

 

For some reason, Mitsubishi fired the company that made the brilliant James Bondian Cordia ad a decade earlier and went Full Schmaltz on their home-market Diamante ads.

 

You’d think that Mitsubishi would have emphasized some of their more futuristic vehicles of the time in their Diamante ads.

 

The US-market Diamante wagon was built in Australia, where it was sold as the Verada. Great for boat towing in harsh weather!

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75 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante Station Wagon...”


  • avatar
    BDT

    Wagons are back, we just call them “CUVs”.

  • avatar
    319583076

    “Diamato” Appalling lack of observance.

  • avatar
    agroal

    Mitsubishi’s decision to rout a radiator hose across the center console area ultimately doomed Diamante sales.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      No way. Please elaborate!!!

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/04-1993-Mitsubishi-Diamante-wagon-Junkyard-Find-Photo-by-Murilee-Martin.jpg

        lol!

        the 12v v6 wasnt too impressive… also fairly high consumption but low compression gets that

        also typical cheese and glass auto boxes in them

        thing is they put 24v v6’s in them which made them quite quick, the fwd chassis didnt do it any favors though

        if you want to hear a story of woe, google ‘mitsubishi 380’… it precipitated the death of an industry

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    This was a fairly handsome vehicle when new, but I remember that many of them came equipped with hubcaps, even though it was a somewhat pricey automobile. I think that may gave turned off many of its potential higher-income customers.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    decent looking, good sight lines, simple to wrench on, there was a fair bit to like about these. however within a short time that simplicity became a bane as it was viewed as unsophisticated technology in a short period of time. mitsu never did keep up with improvements and always sold on price. eventually that perception kills interest.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “simple to wrench on”

      Eh, a transverse V6 will never be THAT fun to work on. That intake manifold will have to come off to get at the back row of spark plugs. Inevitably, taking that manifold off on a car of that age will cause all sorts of vacuum-line related issues, best to just replace them all with new silicone line preemptively. Nissan’s VQ30 in the 95-99 Maxima is well thought out in that sense that a) it uses a timing chain that isn’t known for any issues and b) intake manifold is designed with clearance for sparkplug access.

      • 0 avatar
        EAF

        Aside from the lack of “access” to the rear plug wells, I would agree with Redwagon in that this engine was simple to work on, much easier than the VQ IMO.

        The Honda J series is the easiest transverse v6 engine that I have ever wrenched on.

        Anyway, I still see the sedan version of this Diamante around and 200k+ miles is the norm. The only serious problem I can recall with these engines, and all Mitsu engines of this era, was oil consumption thanks to terrible quality valve stem seals. Not a terribly difficult fix.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Sturdy cars that were Mitsubishi’s answer to the Acura legend, Toyota Cressida, Mazda 929, and Nissan Maxima. My brother’s friend had one, mostly trouble-free car with a high quality interior that was par for the course in the early-mid 90s upper-echelon Japanese offerings. Motors and transmissions go the distance, I can only really see a neglected one being put of out commission by a snapped timing belt or a totally ignored cooling system. Later Australian built cars lost the “quality” vibe, and in general signaled Mitsubishi’s decline in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think (in typical Mitsu fashion) the overall trim bits weren’t up to expectation. I can’t ever recall seeing a Diamante or other Mitsu item in good trim condition.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think there is a hidden variable in that all of the Diamantes/Galants/Montero Sports you see driven around by this point are being driven by people that prioritize their next pack of Newports over vehicle upkeep. The 98-03-ish Galant is easily the most handsome midsize car of its era, but you never really appreciate that fact when you only see them with half a bumper missing and rolling on black steelies.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Haha, I get what you mean. But I was meaning even back in the day, back in middle school when I was noticing cars and these were maybe four years old – still ratty!

  • avatar
    seth1065

    over 200 K is pretty impressive when you consider how many owners this car more than likely had.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    The mileage doesn’t surprise me. This was a well cared for car that the buyer felt never had a true replacement. A Japanese midsize wagon (nearly full size by Japanese standards) after 1993 is a unicorn. So if you find something you like and they never make another one, I guess you keep it going, repair costs be damned.

    I had another unloved Mitsubishi wagon in the form of a 2004 Lancer Sportback LS. Bought for 5k under sticker after sitting for a year, I needed a small wagon for business and it fit the bill. 77k miles in 2.5 years and only in the shop once or twice for mechanical problems, both minor ( and one caused by me). I was hit from behind at a light and it totaled the car, even though it was in pristine shape for the miles. Mitsubishi depreciation is killer. But as good as it was, the cheap interior and awful seats had me hating it and wanting it to go away before it was hit.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The most worthy successor to this would be a 1996 Camry wagon XLE with the 3.0L V6. Better acceleration and more room than the Mitsubishi, but less sporty handling.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      “Japanese midsize wagon (nearly full size by Japanese standards) after 1993 is a unicorn.”

      The Accord Wagon, Subaru Legacy Wagon, and Camry Wagon all lived past this, and were all equal or larger in size. 1997 for the Accord, and 1996 for the Camry, and the Legacy Wagon lasted until 2007. And of course you can still get an Outback “wagon” today.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        And, except for the Outback, they each sold about 12 copies a year.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        No V6 in Accord or Subie, Wiki lists the Diamante as 6 inches longer than either and Diamante as a full size, so there’s probably a bit more room in the Mitsubishi. The only true successor, as gtemnykh suggested, was the Camry wagon. Perhaps this person, since it appears to be a one or two owner car ( no stickers, not totally trashed in usual 5th owner Mitsu fashion) just liked this car.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          That’s fair enough, didn’t realize the Diamante Wagon was so long. Course I’ve never seen one next to something else, so that’s part of the problem, ha.

          FWIW, I’ve always felt Subaru has under-engined their cars. Needs moar cylinders. (Not that the 3.6 V6 is competitive or good at any point past 1995, because it’s not.)

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Subaru’s 6 cylinder is a boxer 6 “H6” by their terminology. The original one was a 3.0L in the very rare XT6, followed by a 230hp 3.3L mill in the poor-selling SVX. They got more mainstream finally doing service in upper-trim second generation Outbacks(00-02), 3.0L making 217hp, not too bad for the era but lagging behind the Accord’s and Altima’s 240hp mills. The current 3.6L with 256hp is almost universally regarded as being a bit of a slug that gets mediocre fuel economy, at least they retuned it to run on regular in the past year or so.

            One big plus of Subies “H6” motors is that they somehow avoided all of the headgasket issues the 4 cylinder EJ25s are so well known for.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I should have known you’d just know the history, given Subaru’s association with mandatory AWD!

            I don’t know that I have seen more than one XT in life, and I bet it wasn’t a 6! Don’t think I’d wanna mess with something so old and rare later, either. They had such a crazy dash and wheels though.

            The 3.3 is the parent of the current 3.6, yeah? Those Outbacks were always LL Bean or what have you, and always stand out to me with their nice wheels and H6 logo on the grille. Where the H6 version Outbacks the only ones available with that big black grab bar at the back? Seems like I see that option rarely.

            When I was shopping old Subarus for a while, I tried to focus in on H6 ones, but with the prevalent rust + limited original supply it was nearly impossible. Gave up on the idea eventually, hence my current AWD sedan as solo car.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        i dont think the 1st owner would be willing to take the depreciation hit and trade in after only 3 years, but i know what youre saying.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t forget the Mazda6 — available with V6 power and a manual until 2008.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      The seats in the Sportback Ralliart are much better. My (2) problems with my Sportback are that they only came with an automatic transmission and (related to that) the fuel economy is truly horrendous. But the car has been stone reliable for me. Granted, there are way too many folks that ask me what I think of my “Volvo.”
      There was a time when Mitsubishi had some truly decent stuff. These aren’t those days…(says the one-time owner of a 1978 Plymouth Arrow/Mitsu Celeste).

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I owned a Diamante (sedan), likely the same period as the one above. It was a great car and I never had even a minor issue with that car. Sold it after a few years and I think 130k on the odometer. That was back when Mitsu could make good cars.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    It looks like a Buick with an Oldsmobile front end. That couldn’t have helped sales.

    • 0 avatar
      55_wrench

      It was probably a better car than either of them.

      I have a friend who has owned one of these since near-new and it’s in remarkably good condition, and has treated him very well.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I doubt that it’s better if we’re talking a 3800-equipped car- especially if amenities and comfort are a criterion.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          So sayeth the lord.

        • 0 avatar
          55_wrench

          In 40+ years of driving nothing came close to the 2001 LeSabre for awful seats.

          3800 was a great engine..the rest of the car is trash.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            The seats in my 1995 LeSabre are an absolute dream for being a cloth bucket. Sure, the heated leather seats in my Audi are nicer, but the LeSabre seats seem nice.

            28-Cars-Later knows a lot more than I do, but I thought the final LeSabre was a bit of a quality flop.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Both the final LeSabre and Park Avenues were built with little care or effort. By the end, the interiors had been put on austerity, and there were 50,000 sensors for everything (especially in the PA) which would go bad regularly.

            Both sets of my grandparents had/have final model LeSabres, and there’s always something wrong with them. One set dumped theirs after the transmission grenaded somewhere around 40K miles.

            And they punished GM by replacing it with a Century. Then they replaced it with a loaded Terraza. Yeah, that showed em.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            That’s what I thought. We had a 2000 Impala- what a piece of junk! GM really missed on that era, it seems.

            I’ve always liked Buicks. But, I don’t think I could bring myself to stomach the final LeSabre. The 1990s ones were a much, much better car.

            Sadly, most of the modern cars out there seem to have one problem or another. But, I won’t take a Buick with the expected reliability of an older Audi (Though I’ve done pretty well on that gamble).

  • avatar
    bfisch81

    I remember when MotorWeek reviewed this car back in the day. They made mention a few times that it was Aussie-built and at the time I had no idea that Australia had an auto manufacturing base.

    I always thought these were well styled cars and were much classier looking than a Camry or Taurus wagon of the same era.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That was the exact idea they were going for – “classy.” They knew their customers liked “class” quite a lot. Much in the same vein that Olive Garden is a “classy” restaurant.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Every once in a while I come across facts that make me smack my head, how did I not know that?
    It was only a few years ago when I learned the 9th and 10th gen T-Birds were RWD.
    Same with the Infiniti J30.
    I didn’t know there was a Dodge Challenger in the 80s until I saw one in a junk yard 5 years ago.

    And now, the Diamante had a wagon version sold in the US.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m thinking Mitsubishi was even limiting their offerings to the US back then. I watched a Top Gear review of the version of this car they had in the UK (sedan), the Sigma. AWD and loaded up, firmly in the executive class there, with adjustable suspension and complex electronics.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_Gfdr8orOM

    It was $39,789 in 1990 dollars for that thing, which is equivalent to $72,648 today. x.x

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    BTW, I have seen exactly two Diamante wagons in life (and maybe five Lancer Rally Sport Wagons) and both of them were very bland grey. These things could’ve used a tasteful pearl over light gold or silver two-tone treatment.

    Also, Volvo question!

    Weren’t there several reasons you didn’t want that final-run 240? I was thinking that one model year has several specific parts and trim.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      There are like five add on trim parts and a few custom colors in the “Classic”, the rest of the car is identical. You do in fact want an MY93 because of R134a and electronic fan (only year with both) and the MY93 “Classic” is the most sought after by collectors because it was a limited run of 1600.

      http://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-european/curbside-classic-1993-volvo-240-classic-wagon-so-long-old-friend/

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I really love the final year lace alloys. They tie the look together well. The 240 always looked good in red IMO, especially the brighter red available. A girl in HS inherited her mom’s bright red, perfect 240 when she replaced it with an 850 wagon IIRC.

        http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/01/05/10/06/1993_volvo_240_4_dr_std_wagon-pic-30566.jpeg

        Bet the 240 is still on the road, and the 850 isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The only major difference with the ’93 240 is that it is the only 240 that came from the factory with R134 A/C. ’91s and ’92s were prep’d for it with bigger evaporators and condensors, but still had R12. Which means it is the one you WANT! There are some very minor trim differences inside, but nothing terribly exciting.

      ’95 940s are way more oddball, given they share more of their electrics with the 850 than the 940s that came before.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The last year 240s were the best for the reasons the other guys mentioned, the years that you DONT want are ’79-89 unless if you really need a $500 project car.

      At Corey: The 240s probably still going with bits of its interior warping, the 850 more than likely snapped its timing belt eventually.

      At KR: Imo the turbos were truly strange, no guages or badges to indicate the presence of a turbo. Good years if you want a sleeper!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I dunno, ’88s and ’89s seem to be really good, they are just really freaking old cars at this point! ’86 and ’87 are not as rust resistant, and still have some wire rot issues. ’90 and up are god though.

        Never forget that THE overriding design goal of the 850 was that it be cheaper to build and more profitable than the 240. But that said, overall certainly a FAR better car, but much more complex and thus much easier to kill by neglect. They are still all over the place in Maine, 240s are starting to get rareish due to sheer age. hard to kill a tractor, but time does win in the end.

        Only the late ’94 and ’95 940s have the no badge turbo thing. Another oddball is the ’92 745T, which is a 945T except for the old-style 740 seats. I had one of those. And a ’93 965, and ’94 and ’95 945s. And an ’89 745T, and a ’90 744GLE 16V, and a ’90 744T, and a ’90 744, and a ’91 245, an ’82 245T, and a ’76 242. Among others… :-)

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Volvo 940 and 960 wagons were the last true Volvos from my understanding. They run forever.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    I remember renting one of these for a NY to Fla vacation and it was a great long distance cruiser.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    These were absolutely everywhere in Adelaide Australia when I lived there in the early 2000s- they made up almost 10% of the vehicles in the road. I think they were built nearby. Mitsubishi covered a huge price range with these, from the Magna on the low end to the Verada in quasi luxury land to a performance oriented model called VRX.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    and to think that 22 years later, you can lease a CR-V for $200/mo, 1000 down. sometimes the past wasnt all that great.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    For 1993, darn attractive vehicle both inside and out.

    Never saw one of these in the wild.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I had the chance to pick up a ’94 Sedan of one of these that was in great shape, but $2500 seemed a bit much given the age, neat looking if rare cars.

    Oh and it was owned by the sellers Ex for a long time, that could certainly go into strange areas when it comes time to sell.

  • avatar
    thelastdriver

    I’d have one! I’m currently driving a (wrecked) ’94 Camry wagon. With blown airbags, a pretty crunched unibody and a quarter million on the clock I still won’t get rid of it. There’s nothing –to this day– as long that I can sleep in or fit a bicycle without removing wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Honda Element!

      http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VvPU-pwBLZs/TaIaeTYN42I/AAAAAAAAABU/YarKqx_2kQ0/s1600/IMG_0261.JPG

      http://cyclesinlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/MJ5L1961.jpg

      YOU’RE WELCOME!

      • 0 avatar
        jefmad

        SHHHHHH! I want to buy one of those for my son in a year and the values are already approaching ridiculous levels. Don’t want any more people realizing they were a pretty good car.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          @jefmad

          They are good, and very practical! I like the SC version or whatever with the different front clip, and supercharger? I think that’s what I read.

          BUT they get absolutely awful fuel economy, which I can’t quite fathom when the CRV is so efficient. They’re rated 21/24, and from what I’ve read you won’t reach that.

      • 0 avatar
        thelastdriver

        Element isn’t as long as the Camry Wagon. My mom bought one as a replacement for her Corolla Wagon. I’m slightly less than 6′ and can’t stretch out or fit a bicycle in the Element without wedging a wheel (or my head) between the front seats.

  • avatar
    Petra

    Those scroll wheel HVAC controls are wacky. Yet somehow, they’re exactly the kind of questionable design choice you’d expect to find in a 22 year old Mitsubishi.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The other day I happened to see a white 4 dr Diamante in decent shape with aftermarket wheels. It was the 1st time I saw one in a couple of years.

    As far as other wagons offered in the early 90’s the Olds Cutlass Ciera and Buick Century wagons were available until 1996. Quite reliable and easy to wrench.

  • avatar

    There’s one identical to this jutting out of a carport up the major road from my house. The home where the car has sat for as long as I can remember is enveloped on all sides by typical NW Oregon foliage and every now and again I’ll look up to see if it’s still there. On occasion I’ve been fooled to believe it was finally hauled off to U-Pull It by the fact it’s no longer white but green. I think it’s trying to blend into the surroundings but every year it vanishes beneath the moss just a little bit more.

  • avatar
    jhefner

    “1993 wasn’t a great year for the station wagon in the American marketplace; the final Volvo 245 came out that year, minivans and SUVs were kicking hell out of wagon sales as families decided that each child required a thousand pounds and/or 150 cubic feet of gear for any trip, and nobody seemed aware that wagon versions of everything from the Sable to the Camry were available for sale.”

    I found in my father’s photo collection after he passed away a picture he took of Mom being given the keys to the Blue Goose by the salesman. In his description of the picture; he put a date of January, 1996.

    I thought he was off a year; since it is ’95 Taurus; but that may be right. In which case, I bet that saleman was more than happy to have sold off that lot queen to my parents.

  • avatar

    “Please consider.”

    Almost too polite there.

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