Junkyard Find: 2004 Mitsubishi Diamante LS

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Mitsubishi began selling cars with its own branding in the United States in late 1982, introducing three car models and a pickup as 1983 models. We had an extensive range of Mitsubishi models to choose from for quite a while, including a credible luxury sedan known as the Diamante, but those days are long gone. Today's Junkyard Find is one of the very last Diamantes sold here, now residing in a Denver car graveyard.

Our own Corey Lewis has written the definitive history of the Mitsubishi Diamante as a four-part Rare Rides Icons series, going all the way back to the original Sigma. Before continuing here, you'll need to read the whole series first: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.

Having read all four episodes, you now know that 2004 was the final model year for the Diamante in North America, and that only 4,379 examples were sold here that year. Are those paltry sales the result of Mitsubishi's puzzling major refresh of the body for '04, which made the car look like a bloated Lancer?

As you know from having admired the discarded 1994 Diamante Wagon we saw last June, the long-roof Diamantes were sold here for the 1993 through 1995 model years and they were built in Australia (the sedans were built in Japan). When the second-generation Diamante appeared here as a 1997 model, all production took place in Australia.

There was a time when Mitsubishi dealers in North America offered just about every kind of car and light truck for sale. In 1990, for example, American vehicle shoppers looking at new Mitsus could check out the Precis, the Mirage, the Eclipse, the Galant, the Sigma, the Van/Wagon, the Pickup and the Montero. Hell, I drove a Mitsubishi Fuso box truck for a job a couple of years later.

Our current century has been a cruel one for Mitsubishi in North America. The legendary Montero disappeared from our continent after 2006. The Lancer finally got the axe after 2018, while the Galant disappeared here after 2012. Just about every reviewer laughs at the current Mirage (I think it's a perfectly serviceable little car for the price) and the Outlander is all about easy financing.

The Diamante was largely forgotten by the early 2000s, but it was a legitimate competitor for the Lexus ES 300 for a couple of years a decade earlier.

The MSRP for the 2004 Diamante LS (which was the top trim level, after the VR-X and ES) was $27,619, or about $45,791 in December 2023 dollars. While the Diamante was no longer a believable rival for the Lexus ES by that time, the '04 ES 330 listed at $31,725 ($52,598 in today's money).

The engine is a 3.5-liter 6G74 V6, rated at 205 horsepower. The hot-rod VR-X got an additional five horses. The only transmission was a four-speed automatic, which was a bit old-fashioned for 2004 (though the final four-speed-equipped new cars sold here were 2020 models).

This car appears to have been in very nice condition, inside and out, when it arrived in its final parking spot. Why is it here?

Did anyone ever sit back here?

It appears that its final owner left it parked with missing or expired registration in an apartment parking lot or on the street in an HOA-oppressed neighborhood and the car got red-tagged and towed.

Was it a runner? We can't know.

Are you in? Few were.

The Australian-market version of this car, the Magna, was available with all-wheel-drive.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

2004 Mitsubishi Diamante in Colorado wrecking yard.

[Images: The Author]

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Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Jan 06, 2024

    Another great example of why HOAs suck the big one...

  • 3SpeedAutomatic 3SpeedAutomatic Yesterday

    I was a Mitsubishi fan boy at one time. But something went wrong turn of the century. IIRC, a California design studio was established and some of the most weird styling was slapped on vehicles. Then the Koreans breezed into town and ate into the the sales of the lower volume (Mitsi, Suzuki, Mazda) Japanese brands. The rest is history. 🚗🚗🚗

  • Jkross22 The contrived, forced, overproduced jokes and antics were fun 15 years ago, but it's been the same thing over and over since. The last few years of Top Gear were heading this direction and the 3 were phoning it in. They should have either done something completely different and tried something new. Instead they played it safe.
  • SCE to AUX "...identified during our rigorous validation process"Not so rigorous, if they ended up on dealer lots. 🙄
  • Ras815 Their naming scheme is almost as idiotic as having a totally separate Polestar brand for EVs that look exactly like...de-badged Volvos. But you can tell it came from the same idiocy.
  • Dukeisduke "The EX naming convention is used for the automaker’s new and upcoming EVs, the EX30 and EX90."Only upcoming when they can figure out the software.