Junkyard Find: 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer OZ Rally Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 2002 mitsubishi lancer oz rally edition

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!

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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.

  • Keith Maybe my market's different. but 4.5k whack. Plus mods like his are just donations for the next owner. I'd consider driving it as a fun but practical yet disposable work/airport car if it was priced right. Some VAG's (yep, even Audis) are capable, long lasting reliable cars despite what the haters preach. I can't lie I've done the same as this guy: I had a decently clean 4 Runner V8 with about the same miles- I put it up for sale around the same price as the lower mile examples. I heard crickets chirp until I dropped the price. Folks just don't want NYC cab miles.
  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.