Rare Rides: The 1989 Mitsubishi Sigma - Excellent Parts Availability Guaranteed

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
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.

[Images: seller]

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 22, 2019

    Automotive design Rule #4: - No directional wheels

    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Sep 22, 2019

      Amen. The first directional wheels I can remember were on the 1984 C4 Corvette. What they did right was make mirror image wheels for the left and right sides of the car. What they did wrong was evident when the Corvettes racing in showroom-stock swapped their wheels from left to right and vice-versa in order to promote brake cooling. They styled the wheels instead of engineering them. Directional wheels are bad unless they look like they're on backwards.

  • Kenwood Kenwood on Sep 24, 2019

    Kind of looks like Giorgetto Giugiaro's work. Anybody know who the designer was?

  • Mncarguy I remember when the Golf came out and all the car magazines raved about it. I bought an early one in the mid level trim, brown with a beige vinyl interior and a stick. I must have blocked out a lot about that car, because the only thing I remember is one day with my wife and infant in the car, the brakes went out! I could use the parking brake and made it home. There must have been other issues (beside an awful dealer who felt like they were doing you a favor even letting you come in for service) because I swore I'd never buy a VW again. I did get a new Beetle and later a Passat. That's another story!
  • Oberkanone The Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge Neon's racing successes - SCCA and elsewhere (allpar.com)Inexpensive racing.
  • Kwik_Shift My brother inherited his work travel 2013 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost to be replaced with a 2019. It is now used as a beater vehicle primarily to take my mother out for shopping/appts, etc. Just right seat height for her to get in and out of.Right now it has 420,000 (HWY) kms still on original engine/turbo/transmission. Impressive, but doesn't mean I'd intentionally buy any Ford EB combination vehicle. I've heard lots of bad things as well.
  • Analoggrotto You forgot something.
  • MKizzy We can pretty much agree at this point that all Ford ecoboost engines regardless of displacement are of trash quality.