Rare Rides: The 1989 Mitsubishi Sigma - Excellent Parts Availability Guaranteed
Luxury, elegance, Mitsubishi: Three words that sound just right in a singular sentence. Similarly, one sedan expresses all three of those words in a magnificent way. It’s a very rarely seen Mitsubishi Sigma, from 1989.
The car you see before you wore several different names throughout the world, and indeed more than one within North America. Sigma was Mitsubishi’s largest sedan offering throughout the world — aside from the Japanese domestic market, where it offered the executive-class Debonair (a rebadged Hyundai Grandeur by the Eighties).
Always a showcase for what the brand could accomplish in technology and innovation, the fifth-generation Sigma entered production in 1983. In most markets it wore some form of a Sigma badge, joined here and there by Galant, Eterna, and Sapporo nomenclature. This generation was the first example of a front-drive Sigma, as Mitsubishi adopted such a drive train across all their passenger cars by the end of the decade.
As with many Japanese offerings of the time, the conservative sedan body was accompanied by a more sporty hardtop version. Globally, a staggering 11 engine choices were available, along with automatic transmissions of three and four speeds, as well as a Twin-Stick eight-speed manual and a standard five-speed. In Japan only, a VR trim employed a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder boasting a technology called Cyclone Dash 3×2. Depending on throttle inputs, the engine switched between two and three valves per cylinder on the fly, promising economy and power. Intriguing!
The North American market received only the hardtop sedan body style, which featured a more glassy look via its six-window greenhouse. It debuted locally for 1988, and for a single year was called Galant Σ, which was assuredly pronounced “Galant Eee” by people in the Midwest. By 1989 Mitsubishi saw the error of its ways and renamed the model to Sigma. The name changed accompanied new swirly design alloy wheels.
Mitsubishi realized power, simplicity, and ease of driving were key selling points to people other than the Québecois, so all North American Sigmas received a 3.0-liter V6 engine and a four-speed auto. A short-lived offering, the Sigma was finished by 1990. Mitsubishi then split its lineup.
The model seen here overlapped its last few years of production with the more modern sixth-generation Galant, which was a cheaper and less complex offering. Galant was already on sale, and would continue unabated through 1994 in its contemporary form, while the Sigma name vanished from Galant in all markets. Sigma buyers (however many there were) transitioned instead to a new offering at Mitsubishi, the Diamante. More suited as a luxury competitor, Diamante provided an additional 10 inches of overall length compared to its predecessor Sigma. And BMW styling to boot.
Today’s Sigma is very rare, very clean, and has copiously ruched velour. With 131,000 miles and a transmission solenoid issue, it asks just $1,595.
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- Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
- Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
- ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
- FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
- FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.