Junkyard Find: 1988 Mitsubishi Precis
The Hyundai Excel had a Mitsubishi engine, and so some obscure tenet of badge engineering mandated a Mitsubishi-branded Excel so it might drive on the same roads as Plymouth-branded Mitsubishis.
This was the Mitsubishi Precis, a car that was so stunningly bad and such a poor seller that this one is the first and only example I have ever seen in all my years of crawling through wrecking yards.
That makes it one of the rarest cars … in the world.
Hyundai makes good cars now, but the early Excel was about as bad a motor vehicle as you could buy in the mid-to-late 1980s (and I include the Yugo GV in that assessment). This one managed to get the odometer into the six-figure range, which makes it one of the most reliable first-gen Excels ever manufactured.
Americans had bought Mitsubishis since the Dodge Colts of the early 1970s, but you couldn’t buy a vehicle with Mitsubishi badges until the 1983 model year. Perhaps the Mitsubishi top brass felt that the Precis would give all those new dealerships in the United States another subcompact to sell alongside the Mirage.
68 horsepower. Yes, 68.
With the automatic, this car would have been hilariously slow even by the tolerant standards of 1988.
According to this schmaltzy ad, the car’s name is pronounced “PREE-ciss.”
[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]
Yetibiker on May 29, 2016
My first car was a 1989 Hyundai Excel with 40k miles and a 5 speed for $800 in 1998. I had my dad take it for a test drive. He felt strongly that I should buy it, so I did. It was such a pile. 68 horsepower and I remember a speed run downhill with a good tailwind got me up to 78 mph and the tach (which I pulled out of a better equipped model in a junkyard) was stuck at an insurmountable 3400 rpm. It had sizable rust holes in the rear quarters, which I used to duct cool air through dryer vent across my cheap "Sunday!SundaySunday! Amp that would constantly cut out due to overcurrent. . I put a big sticker in the back window that said "Honk if anything falls off" and cruised the ave like the kids in cooler cars.
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