Rare Rides: The Luxurious 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante Wagon
We featured the predecessor to Mitsubishi’s American flagship last year — a little Sigma sedan that happened to one of the cheapest Rare Rides ever shown. Today we take a look at the car that came after Sigma: the Diamante.
And it’s the rare wagon version.
Overlapping the end of the Sigma’s life were two distinct models serving as its replacement. On the lower end was the new Galant, which was roughly the same size as the Sigma. The new flagship for Mitsubishi in North America was the more expensive and luxurious Diamante, which was quite a bit larger than the car it replaced.
Mitsubishi needed to step up its offerings abroad after it being surprised by the introduction of the Acura Legend in 1986. The brand had no global car to compete with the Legend, nor anything from the upcoming Lexus and Infiniti brands. Enter Diamante.
There were three body styles, two of which were sold in North America. The most familiar version is the sporty frameless-window sedan (not a true hardtop), which was built in Japan. There was also a more traditional sedan with three windows on each side, a taller roof, and slightly altered front and rear clips. That version was for Europe and the Australian market. Australians called it Magna, and built it domestically. The Magna was used as basis for the North American Diamante wagon, which was designed and built by Mitsubishi of Australia.
The wagon followed the sedan version to North America a bit late. Sedans went on sale for the 1990 model year, but wagons didn’t show up until 1993. While the Japanese market Diamante had available all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, world-first adaptive cruise control, and various engines and trims, North America received much more straightforward offerings.
There were two trims: base (later ES) or LS, and power was always to the front wheels via an automatic transmission. Base models had a standard 3.0-liter V6 that produced 175 horsepower, while upmarket LS versions had a dual-cam version of the same engine for 202 horses. Base models weren’t shy on equipment, but LS was required if buyers wanted alloy wheels, leather, or a sunroof.
A refresh took place a year after the wagons arrived, with new rear lamps on the sedan, satellite audio controls on the wheel, and a passenger airbag. Unfortunately for Mitsu, the refresh didn’t help move the Diamante. The rather expensive sedan and wagon were off the radar of most buyers. The wagon was dropped after 1995, as did all consumer sales. For ’96, the sedan was still available, though only to fleet customers. The relative product flop didn’t put Mitsubishi off, though, as a new Diamante arrived for 1997. Not that the second album went particularly well, either.
Today’s Diamante wagon is a 1993 example, and with all its equipment and leather trim is definitely an LS. With 134,000 miles, it looks nearly pristine and asks $2,995. It’s located in Orange County, which is slightly south of Downtown California.
H/t to commenter ciscokidinsf, who put today’s Rare Ride on Twitter.
Inside Looking Out on Mar 21, 2020
Beautiful car. I always liked them because of design being more elegant than Toyota/Honda/Nissan/Mazda. Used ones were pretty cheap in Germany compared with German cars. Still do not understand why they were not popular in US. It's the car made for American tastes.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- 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.