QOTD: What's Your Favorite Diamond-Star Motors Crapwagon?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd whats your favorite diamond star motors crapwagon

Earlier this week in TTAC’s always entertaining Slack chat, Adam Tonge suggested (without sarcasm) how the B&B might enjoy discussing the market entrants of the Diamond-Star Motors company and picking favorites. Shortly after this discussion, the very DSM Plymouth Laser we saw in yesterday’s Rare Rides fell right in my lap, and this all seemed like destiny.

Of the varied selection, which Diamond-Star Motors vehicle is your favorite?

How about some history? It all started back in 1970, when Chrysler first invested in a 15-percent stake in Mitsubishi. At the time, Mitsubishi was looking to expand its offerings worldwide through cooperative alliances, primarily via captive imports (like the Dodge Colt).

Cut to the early ’80s, and Chrysler is shifting all sorts of Mitsubishis through its dealerships — 110,000 in circa 1982. Mitsubishi sees an opportunity, and begins opening more Mitsubishi-branded stores to move product themselves.

However, at this time (voluntary) importation quotas were in place that restricted the number of Japanese cars each manufacturer could import. For every Mitsubishi sold, a vehicle was deducted from the importation allowance of Chrysler. This wouldn’t do.

In 1985, the two companies formed Diamond-Star Motors. After the state of Illinois threw some benefits their way, the alliance decided to install a new manufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois. Annual capacity was 240,000 vehicles, and the plant was up and running in 1989.

Other milestones in the history of the cooperation are worth mentioning. Mitsubishi purchased Chrysler’s interest in 1991, and Chrysler sold its remaining equity to Mitsubishi in 1992. In 1995, the enterprise was renamed Mitsubishi Motors Manufacturing America (MMMA).

After Chrysler no longer had any jointly-produced models in the factory, Mitsubishi’s independent offerings gradually faded away. In 2012 the plant would start production of the Outlander Sport — its final model. In 2014, the plant produced just 69,000 vehicles from its 240,000-unit capacity, and 2015 saw the announcement that Mitsubishi would end all remaining vehicle production in North America. The final 300 workers who’d stayed behind to shut down the plant had their last day in May of 2016.

The Illinois plant produced many models over all those years, and we’re counting anything produced there as a DSM even if it was made after 1995. Here’s your list:

Mitsubishi Galant (1994-1996)

Mitsubishi Galant (1996-2003)

Mitsubishi Mirage sedan (1990-1993)

Eagle Summit sedan (1990-1993)

Mitsubishi Mirage (1994-1996)

Mitsubishi Mirage (1997-2002)

Chrysler BD

Mitsubishi Eclipse (1990-1994)

Eagle Talon (1990-1994)

Plymouth Laser (1990-1994)

Chrysler PJ

Mitsubish Eclipse (1995-1999)

Eagle Talon (1995-1998)

Chrysler FJ

Chrysler Sebring (1995-2000)

Dodge Avenger (1995-2000)

Chrysler ST-22

Chrysler Sebring (2001-2005)

Dodge Stratus (2001-2005)

Mitsubishi Eclipse (2000-2005)

Mitsubishi PS

Mitsubishi Eclipse (2005-2011)

Mitsubishi Galant (2004-2012)

Mitsubishi Endeavor (2004-2011)

Mitsubishi GS

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (2012-2015)

There it is — over two decades of American-made Japanese goodness. What’s your favorite?

[Images: Chrysler, Mitsubishi]

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2 of 67 comments
  • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on Dec 14, 2017

    Had a Eagle summit sedan. Literally the most reliable car I have ever owned. Not much else good but damn that thing never broke. PLus $100 for a set of tires was nice. For pure visual appeal a 2nd gen Talon would be my choice. I had two friends with first gen Eclipse GSX. Great cars. Still have part of the one I was riding in when it flipped into a ditch (side trim piece)

  • Flipper35 Flipper35 on Dec 14, 2017

    Um, the Avenger pictured is the one based on the JS platform.

  • Slyons My guess is they keep the 2.0 liter they have now with minor tweaks, and shoehorn in the 48V mild hybrid system that just debuted in the CX-90. Should allow for all the regular fun of wringing out the 4 cyl and bump the fuel mileage up at least a couple points. I don't think we'll see a major evolution of the drivetrain until the next next model (NF?).
  • 28-Cars-Later " as long as internal-combustion engines exist?"So... forever until society collapses, rebuilds, and then the Hunger Games begin?
  • Jeff S It would be a neat project but the 6k should include the parts car.
  • Kcflyer Why oh why does every manufacturer slop the roof so much on vehicles that are supposed to be utilitarian? Especially a three row people mover. Let the rear roof square off like an old volvo wagon for cripes sake! And get off my lawn. And don't give me the mpg noise. I'd happily give back a couple mpg for some utility in a "utility" vehicle.
  • Varezhka KISS, just like Miata always has. No exotic powertrain options, a simple 2L NA with MT with similar power output as Mazda3 and CX-30 would best match the car; as much as I have always dreamed of a rotary powered RX-5.That said, the Miata that I actually liked and driven the most was NC. It was just practical enough and comfortable enough over long distance that I can actually use it as my DD/road trip vehicle without losing the lightweight nimble feeling. ND as nice as it is lost some of that IMHO.The only other thing I'd like would be the new MazdaConnect which is so much nicer, and a less angry face.