By on June 25, 2018

1995 Dodge Stealth in California wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsChrysler started selling Dodge-badged Mitsubishis all the way back in 1970, then built plenty of Mitsubishi products in North America under the Diamond-Star Motors flag later on. The Mitsubishi GTO (sold as the Mitsubishi 3000GT and Dodge Stealth on this side of the Pacific) was built in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, and was one of the more interesting sports cars of the 1990s.

Here’s a 1995 Stealth R/T, photographed in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.

1995 Dodge Stealth in California wrecking yard, bumper badge - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsIn 1995, you had three flavors of Stealth: base, R/T, and R/T Turbo. This one is an example of the mid-priced Stealth.

1995 Dodge Stealth in California wrecking yard, engine - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsPower levels were getting pretty good across the industry by the middle 1990s, and this car came with a 222-horse version of the extremely widely-installed 6G72 3.0-liter V6.

1995 Dodge Stealth in California wrecking yard, gearshift - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsA six-speed manual transmission was standard, but that didn’t mean most American buyers wanted three pedals. I see plenty of 3000GTs and Stealths during my junkyard journeys, but few of them have manual transmissions (strangely, the only one I had photographed prior to today’s Junkyard Find was in a Reykjavik junkyard). I’ll need to document more of these cars, since I think they’re interesting.

1995 Dodge Stealth in California wrecking yard, speedometer - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSo close to 200,000 miles, but not quite there.

1995 Dodge Stealth in California wrecking yard, interior - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis one didn’t seem very banged up, given the high odometer reading, so it’s a safe bet that it just wore out after 23 years of California commuting.


The narrator pretty much spits on the ground when he utters the words “Nissan 300ZX Turbo.”

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33 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1995 Dodge Stealth R/T...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I saw R/T and got excited! R/T turbo is the one we want.

    A little depressing to know that today, at best this thing would be a sedan, and more realistically it would be a crossover. But honestly, a sedan with 4WS does a pretty good impression of a shorter wheelbase coupe.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I was behind a 3000GT Saturday and then spotted another in a parking lot later in the day. Kind of a big deal for me as you just don’t see them up here very often. I’ve got fond memories of Mitsu and DSM. I haven’t seen a Starion/Conquest in probably 20 years.

    • 0 avatar
      RangerM

      For me, the Starion/Conquest is the more desirable simply for being rear wheel drive.

      The 3000GTs and all the clones were front wheel drive (except for those equipped with AWD). Owners never liked admitting that.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Oh man, the last of the “fat” Mitusbishis. Or, the last of the good Mitsubishis before the fall…

    A buddy of mine bought the twin turbo version in 1992, once he made it big in the industrial chemical sales game. It replaced a 1984 Buick Skyhawk sedan, of all things. It was a sweet ride when new, but our lives took us in different directions and we only reconnect occasionally. I don’t know whatever happened with/to the car, by the time we saw each other again, the Stealth was gone, replaced with a couple of VAG products. I guess that’s what growing up does to you.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    It’s sad what happened with Mitsubishi. They were one of the coolest Japanese makes.

    I worked at an oil change place in highschool and there was a regular that used to come in with a Galant VR4.

    This was back in the early 90s.

    Honda/Mazda/Toyota/Nissan didn’t make any sedans that cool at the time.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I used to love the 3000GT and hated the Stealth for one specific reason.

    The spoiler.

    For some reason, the Stealth has this weird spoiler mounted at the base of the rear window, instead of at the rear of the trunk lid.

    It. Just. Looked. Odd.

    Then again, I always did prefer the Mitsubishi version of the Eclipse to the Eagle or Plymouth versions.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Agree about the spoiler. That one difference kinda soured me, too.

      I guess that’s styling and I’m sure plenty of people with money (customers) thought otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      Well, for what it’s worth, I loved the spoiler just behind the window of the Stealth R/T Turbo. Mostly, I loved the high mounted taillights, that rolled over horizontally to the top surface of the hatch lid.

      However, the two times that I test drove them (once a Stealth Turbo, and later a Mitsu 3000GT VR4), I felt the car to be too heavy and ponderous.

      I ended up buying a Supra Turbo the first time, and an Audi TT the second time.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I saw one of these last week – a rare sighting – as I was driving to work. It smelled of burning oil (I was right behind it) – but didn’t see anything coming out of the tail pipes.

  • avatar
    arach

    I am absolutely in love with these cars.

    The worst part about them was the 164 HP SOHC Base version. How do you take a car like that and put a castrated SOHC in the base version? It really ruined it for them.

    The best spot for ownership was the 222 DOHC version, like the one you see above. It was actually quite durable, handled fairly well, and was a joy to drive. All around it was an excellent vehicle worthy of ownership and enjoyment.

    Then what everyone oogled over was the TT. While the 300 HP TT was a blast, it was- and still is- quite expensive to own and maintain. Active steering, active exhaust, and active aero on the VR4 coupled with hard to access engine parts and some complicated electronics really put it more on par with the exotics than something like a vette.

    I never liked the half-moon spoiler on the back of the stealths, and much prefered the 3000gt, but as I aged I began to appreciate the stealths more because they are 99% of a 3000GT VR4 at 80% of the price. A symbol of the rebadged 90s, the thing has Mitsubishi written all over the place. I feel like this car might “summarize” the 90s better than any other car I can think of. It really wasn’t half bad, and while people can point to cars that might have been better in certain circumstances, it really is a great all-around-car.

    Most importantly though, I believe you should judge cars bu their community. The Dodge Stealth / 3000GT community is arguably the best community in motorsports. ( 3si.org ). here you have both intense passion and true savvyness on how to maintain and care for these. Stealth/3kgt owners are a true rarity in this niche of the market, something you don’t get with competitive cars like the 300zx or the Toyota Supra. Yes, the Supra has a lot of fans, and probably “more” fans than the 3S twins, but they tend to be outsiders, and lack loyalty. The 3S twins are largely isolated from overlap with other makers, with dedicated followers that rival followers of cars like Jaguar and Ferrari.

    So while my first gut was, “whats so special about a junkard find 1995 Dodge Stealth R/T”- The middle-of-the-road average stealth, you reminded me what really is special about the 3S twins.

    • 0 avatar
      cimarron typeR

      Big fan here, as Gen X er this was an aspirational car of the 90s,I prefer the 3000GT . I’ve found myself on DSM forums and autotrader looking for a mint VR4. They’re already seeing a rise in values, after FDs, z32 TT, Supras of course. Especially, the big spoiler last generation .

  • avatar
    sirwired

    What’s with the squirt of orange paint on the centers of those snazzy wheels?

    • 0 avatar

      I was about to ask the same question.

    • 0 avatar
      IBx1

      I believe orange paint across junkyard components means they’re no good. The wheels may have cracks that prevent them from holding air.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I’m going to guess and say it’s a way for the boneyard to ask extra $$’s for them.

      In my area, all of the cars in the yard have their wheels stripped off of them and they’re not offered for resale anywhere else. They’re loaded onto pallets and then shipped off site, I’d assume for resale at other locations or on the web, or just scrapped.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Edd China worked on a 3000 GT VR4 recently on Wheeler Dealers. Very interesting car. I’ve always liked their design.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Actually, that was one of the newer shows, and Ant was working on the car (the green VR-4). It didn’t need that much, really: it needed lifters (the replacements have a larger oil passage, which keeps them quiet), which were surprisingly easy to change out with a special tool. Ant also fixed the movable rear spoiler, which just needed a new micro switch, the four-wheel steering, by replacing one of the long hoses with a used one, and got the tunable exhaust working again (the butterfly valve was stuck, and just needed to be freed up). He also replaced the aftermarket short shifter (that looked like it was made in someone’s garage) with a stock style shifter, with new bushings. IIRC, he also removed an aftermarket pop-off valve and got the factory wastegate working again.

      Meanwhile, Mike had an upholstery repair freshen the seats by making some small repairs and respraying some of the leather, and he sourced a set of used OEM chromed alloys to replace the aftermarket wheels on the car.

      I’m always knocking Mitsubishis, but these were some very well made cars.

  • avatar
    kinsha

    Miss Ed China, but still watch the show! I also seen that episode – never realised all the cool options available on those cars.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I like both Edd, and Ant. Ant has a lot of enthusiasm (though not as much as Mike), and he loves diagramming things (like how a transfer case works, for the IH Scout episode) for the viewers who are less mechanically inclined.

      Frequently, I approach some job with dread (like when I replaced the spark plugs recently, for the second time, on my Tacoma), but then I think of Ant, who encourages viewers to tackle jobs without worry.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Agreed, dukeisduke. I thought that show would go off the rails without Edd, but I’m pleasantly surprised by Ant. I much, much prefer shows where they *fix* cars to ones where they do “builds.”

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          Another fan here. My one worry is that the show is slowly slipping back into becoming just another Velocity Channel custom car show. I really loved the old episodes where they restored an old car to original.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Guy

      I’ve watched WD since Season 1 (Hard to believe they only had a 1000 pound budget back then). I thought the show would suck after Edd left. Glady, I don’t really miss Edd since Ant has done a great job. I’m glad he’s having success in the USA. Also glad for him that he hooked up with that hot blond from the Flip or Flop show……..

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    A friend had a Mitsubishi 3000 in the early 1990s. He and his wife were thinking about changing to a different vehicle as they needed more interior room. Then the Stealth appeared and the value of the 3000GT dropped considerably. They had a strong dislike for Dodge/Chrysler for some time.
    Another couple I knew had an interesting combo of cars. He had the Mitsubishi Starion and she had a Nissan Pulsar. I thought that sounded like one of those cartoon like Japanese scifi horror films, “Starion Vs Pulsar”.
    I mentioned this to them and they did not get it.

  • avatar
    ciscokidinsf

    I can tell you why the car is in the junkyard – CA emissions testing:

    I had a 3000GT SL with the 222hp engine and 5MT, for 15 years, the last 10 in California – very durable, and when everything is working, very enjoyable. However, my 3000GT failed 3 consecutive Smog checks (every 2 years) and every time it required some work, or the proper monetary motivation given, to help it pass.

    Go figure, the full range Twin Turbo never failed the smog test (I had 2 VR4s) so, dunno why the detuned engine had it tougher to pass Smog.

    Near the 200K miles range, likely the auto transmission would also go kaput. It also was in the ‘death list’ for the first 3 weeks of ‘Cash for Clunkers’ (the Stealth and 3000GT were removed after some recalculation on mpg’s)

    Smaller but annoying things like no A/C and bad window regulators also crop up as problems for these.

    The VR4’s will usually need a tranny rebuild around 100K miles. And they demand a new timing belt at 60K miles. The SL models need it every 80K miles.

    This one seems to be condemned by perhaps a bad tranny, or a failed smog test to hard to fix.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    A friend of mine had one of these. He said it would top 140 miles per hour.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I have only owned one car for less time than the 1991 3000GT I bought a few years ago.

    I bought it on eBay and I’m guessing the dealer was trying to get rid of their lemon lot cars as they listed a bunch of… questionable cars with no reserve starting at $1. I bid on a blue 3000GT and a grey Stealth R/T. The grey one was really nice but got bid past my limit (thank God!) and I ended up winning the 3000GT for something like $1300.

    Its clearcoat was nearly all gone on top, the interior was tattered and in worn out condition, and when I picked it up I noticed white smoke coming from the engine which was explained to me as oil burning off where it seeped out since it had been sitting for a long time. I bought it to learn how to drive stick so I really didn’t care about its condition as long as I could park it on the street and putter around which I taught myself how to go from a stop.

    Turned out the smoke was steam and it was due for its 60,000 mile water pump and timing belt service – the water pump specifically had gone out, hence the steam. It had about 122k miles so it was right on cue.

    I reached out to the dealer I bought it from to see if they would be willing to help me out with the parts price, figuring they wouldn’t. After a couple attempts they offered to take the car back and give me a full refund. I figured I should take them up on it and after a few struggles I got my check and avoided the perils that surely followed.

    So, total ownership of 4 weeks. Second to my “first” ’06 GTO of 3 days

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I have a pair of seats out of one of these in my roadster. They are comfy but need recovered after all these years (registered 1995) with no top but they are in far better shape than the ones in this car.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Oddly enough, I have a nearly brand new leather set of these seats… front and rear… in my attic.

      I wonder if they are worth something now.

      I pulled them out of my 3000gt in… 1996!

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Yes, Emission tests (of the California type, some other States have similar) will often get cars junked. The price of an EGR valve and a CAT(s) can be $1500 or more. If it also needs general maintenance (spark plugs, air filter, timing belt) and fix vacuum leaks, you will quickly hear, “That’s more than the car is worth!”.
    So if it’s on its 3rd-5th owner the car will go to the scrap yard.


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