Junkyard Find: 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Hunting for interesting junkyard Mitsubishis has become more difficult during the last five years or so, as the Cordias, Tredias, and Sigmas have mostly disappeared, leaving endless fleet-spec 21st-century Galants and Outlanders plus the occasional weird Chryslerbishi.

One of the few bright spots is the Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally Edition, an econo-commuter that looked quick but had a tough time catching Tercel EZs. Here’s one in a Phoenix self-service yard.

I had photographed a couple OZ Rally Lancers prior to today’s Junkyard Find: this yellow ’02 and this yellow ’03, both in Denver. Those two were pretty straight, as was the lone OZ Rally Lancer we’ve seen racing in the 24 Hours of Lemons.

Today’s OZ Rally Lancer is the first I have seen in a wrecking yards still sporting its most special feature: the OZ Racing wheels. Well, just one OZ Racing wheel, in fact.

As is so often the case with junkyard-bound vehicles, this car was rolling on space-saver spares on two corners during its final days on the street.

With the OZ Rally Edition Lancer, you got a decklid wing and some moderately rally-ish body components.

Unfortunately, the OZ Rally was much, much slower than the Evo VII it resembled from a distance. Under the hood and driving only the front wheels, an efficient but uninspiring 120 horsepower engine. At least this car has the five-speed manual transmission.

Like a Corolla, but cooler-looking and less reliable!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Jun 05, 2018

    I had an 04 Sportback LS wagon that was a lot queen with 12 of its siblings, a few were Ralliart wagons. I was buying for a job, so I didn't want the more expensive Ralliart and the 17 inch wheels that went with it. Mitsubishi introduced the 1st gen Outlander, which was mostly identical to a Sportback, just with AWD and a higher ride height, so the wagon never sold at all. Only two years and I heard once only 3500 sales in the US. All wagons had the 2.4/ 4 speed automatic. It was a decent driving car, probably much more so than these 120hp cars. Not terribly efficient, it wouldn't crack 30 on the highway even driven lightly. It had the worst seats of any car I've owned, painfully obvious since I used it as a courier and put 75k on it in two and a half years. It never once let me down mechanically, except when the battery died. I've owned 4 lot queens with over a year of sitting on the dealers lot and they all had battery issues, so I don't blame the car really. It served my needs and when I was rear-ended (hard) by an Impala, it was totaled. I'm glad I spent the extra money on GAP insurance for this one! My sister had an 06 Eclipse GT and didn't suffer with it too much either (and she, does not care for her cars). I won't write-off Mitsubishi when looking at vehicles, but they are not my first choice. Just had an 18 Outlander as a rental and it proved why. It was fine, but there's just so much better out there if you spend a bit more. I did choose the Outlander over a Rogue on the Avis lot and I'm not sorry I did.

  • MoDo MoDo on Jun 05, 2018

    Worked at a factory with a kid that bought a yellow one brand new back in 2002. I'd bet dollars to donuts its also sitting in a scrap yard or is already a tin can somewhere.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.