Junkyard Find: 1984 Mitsubishi Starion LE

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 mitsubishi starion le

Many of us laugh at the Starion now, but it was considered genuinely badass by me and my high-school peers back in 1983 or 1984. It looked fast and mean and had the magical-in-the-1980s word “TURBO” on every possible surface.

Of course, it was also a flaky, breakdown-prone money pit, but it took a few years for that to become clear to everyone. Still, Starions show up in self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a battered ’84 that I saw in the San Francisco Bay Area a while back.

It’s not enough to have TURBO badges on the outside of the car. You need TURBO seatbelts as well! If ever a car screamed for the legendary 2″ screen black-and-white in-dash TV, it was the Starion.

Mitsubishi was all about the futuristic technology back then. Thermostat-based HVAC systems were found in hyper-expensive Mercedes-Benzes and the occasional Detroit luxury car (where this feature didn’t work so well).

The 2.6 liter Astron four-cylinder engine went in many Mitsubishi and Chrysler machines during the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, you could get a Chrysler K-car with this engine and “Hemi 2.6” badges.

Wailing guitars, turbo whoosh, a magical princess, and Super Potential!

In New Jersey, the Starion was advertised with scenes from “Cannonball Run II”, and the “turbo seats” get a mention.

Mitsubishi brings The Turbo Age down to earth!

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5 of 37 comments
  • Jim brewer Jim brewer on Oct 19, 2015

    I wanted one when they came out when I was a young buck. Msrp around $17k as I recall, so, not cheap. Back then, all Japanese cars were assumed to be excellent, and if anything, Mitsu was considered more cutting edge than other Japanese cars.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Oct 19, 2015

    Ah, the miserable 2.555L Mitsubishi 4-cylinder! Revered at first, then hated for eternity. They must have shared head gasket technology with their 3.0 V6.

    • See 2 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Nov 19, 2015

      @matador My parent's 88 Dynasty bought new had that engine - and it was billowing blue oil clouds and having random stalls by 80k miles. They learned their lesson on Chrysler, and replaced it with a 94 Grand Voyager. s.s

  • MrIcky It's always nice to see a car guy put in charge of cars instead of an accountant. I wish him well and look forward to some entertaining reveals. I think he and Gilles may be the only industry people that I actually enjoy listening to.
  • Master Baiter It doesn't matter whether autonomous vehicles are better or worse drivers than humans. Companies with deep pockets will find themselves sued over incidents like this. Enough lawsuits and the whole business plan collapses. Cheaper to just put a human behind the wheel.
  • MaintenanceCosts How many dogs are wiped out by human drivers annually?Which type of driver wipes out more dogs per mile? Per trip?Without some context there's not much information here.
  • SCE to AUX I hope the higher altitude doesn't harm his zeal or his career.
  • SCE to AUX Probably a fair price. This is a car I can't own, since it's not made for 6'6" people.