By on March 20, 2020

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. 

[Images: seller]

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14 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Luxurious 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante Wagon...”

  • avatar

    I really want this one. Is a true survivor. The other reason sales tanked was the mid-90s spat between Japan and USA – which resulted in a brief increase in Tariffs for ‘Designated Luxury Cars’ So the Millenia, The Diamante, The Legend, etc… had increased pricing. This lasted only a few months but the damage was done.

    The LS V6 has also the same engine as the SL in a 3000GT – This is probably the best Diamante generation, with BMW 5 series looks, decent engine and equipment, the next 2 generations of Diamantes were worst cars by comparison. This is the one to buy.

    That V6 will give you trouble passing CA SMOG but it is doable.


  • avatar

    The wagon guys are going to love this. I had forgotten how really nice those Diamantes were. Good price too

  • avatar

    Oh so tasty, heretofore unknown to me.

    Interesting it shows a ‘salvage history’.

  • avatar

    Love that couch-like rear bench that sits nice and high off the ground. Now everyone cares about fold-flat rear seats, so backseat trips mean you’re stuck on a short little bench with your knees in the air.

  • avatar

    Some minor corrections first: US sales started in spring 91 as MY92. Wagons, at least at launch, only came in ‘LS’-equivalent trim but with the base SOHC motor.

    My parents bought one each 92 base sedan and 93 wagon at launch. They were decent steers, and very quiet and comfortable (they still complain that their 7G Accord is a lot noisier) but as was typical of Mitsus of the day (I also had a 94 Galant GS, a Rare Ride of its own) reliability/durability was pretty poor; Mechanicals, paint, trim, electronics, etc. were all really problematic.

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder if Mitsubishi cars and light trucks were done by completely different people? My small sample size of Mitsubishi cars of the period supports your claim, as does a larger sample of contemporary Mitsubishi parts in other vehicles – engines and electronics, mostly.

      On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised by the obvious talent and effort that went into the design and assembly of a 91 L300 Delica I recently restored for a customer. With some exceptions (interior panels), its solidity, materials quality, customer’s perspective of actual in-service reliability, and mechanic’s perspective of Someone-Thought-This-Through, are comparable to a Toyota of the period.

      Maybe they had a strict segregation of engineering staff? The rocket scientists with half-untucked shirts and mismatched socks got assigned to the trucks, while the impeccably dressed frou-frou fashion designer types got the car jobs. The styling of this Diamante’s grill – a BMW E34 owner, I venture it’s one of the best Japanese grills ever – compared to the, ah… (“styling” is a bit charitable) visuals of the Delica, supports this hypothesis.

  • avatar

    Even with an auto I’d buy it. I can say that as my Honda Accord has a six speed manual!

  • avatar

    There was one of these sitting in an alley behind a local computer shop for the first several years I lived in Gallup. Then one day it was gone.

    The only Diamante wagon I’ve ever seen in the metal.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    What a nice car and what a shock at how far Mitsubishi has fallen. Now they build a cheap rollerskate and a bunch of bland me too suv’s that aren’t compelling.

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