Last time on our Diamante coverage, we learned about the near-luxury sedan’s somewhat delayed introduction to America. In the two-year translation from a Japanese market car to an American one, Diamante lost the majority of its interesting and advanced tech features and adopted a cheaper suspension design. Today we’ll find out what happened when Mitsubishi pitched the new and de-contented Diamante against the Lexus ES 300.
Today is the third installment in our coverage of the Mitsubishi Diamante, the Diamond Star brand’s only luxury offering ever sold in the North American market. Part I introduced us to the Diamante via the Sigma. That fancy hardtop Galant gave way to the Diamante in 1992, based on an extended length Galant platform. The second-generation hardtop sedan and its wagon counterpart were finished for 1995 on dealer lots, though fleet buyers (which fleets though?) had a Diamante available to them in 1996. In 1997, Mitsubishi was back with an all-new Diamante and aimed even higher than it had before.
In Part I of our Rare Rides Diamante coverage, we talked almost exclusively about our subject’s predecessor, the Sigma. Alternatively called Galant Σ, it was a hardtop luxury version of the standard Galant offered in the US market. It was dated when it arrived, too small, and not differentiated enough from the Galant to warrant its high price. U.S. customers mostly ignored it, and Canadians never knew it existed since they didn’t receive any Mitsubishis until 2002. Headed into the Nineties, Mitsubishi had no upscale sedan offering at all in North America, as the Galant was the firm’s largest car. That changed in 1992 with the arrival of the all-new Diamante.
Rare Rides Icons has featured much Japanese sedan content lately, including the mid-Eighties sedan mainstays and most recently a series on the luxurious and conservative Toyota Cressida. However, there’s a mainstream Japanese brand (or two) yet to be included in our sedan considerations. One of them is Mitsubishi, and today we’ll discuss the only true upmarket product the company ever offered in North America. It’s Diamante time.
You may recall the brouhaha surrounding the Ford Bronco hardtop, a piece of the SUV that held up the initial rollout of the much-awaited model before causing a recall thanks to odd wear patterns. Specifically, certain roof units had a manufacturing deficiency which caused them to discolor and expose a honeycomb pattern after being subjected to particular levels of water and humidity (read: everyday conditions for some types of customers).
Now, it appears Ford is done like dinner with the issue, electing to destroy every single hardtop collected through the recall.
Today’s Rare Ride was the ultimate display of Germanic automotive wealth in the early Nineties. Always rarer than its sedan brother, the SEC was the S-Class with two doors and no pillars.
Let’s check out a hardtop from the arguable height of modern Mercedes-Benz engineering.
Fiat’s 124 Spider roadster doesn’t offer a complex “retractable fastback” like its Mazda MX-5 platform mate, but it looks like the brand isn’t satisfied offering only a soft-top version of its roadster.
There’s a new Spider crawling its way towards a Geneva Motor Show debut, and this one dons a very different hat than its siblings.
Those who know me well — the lucky souls who’ve plumbed the deepest depths of my dark psyche and returned alive — know my strange and beautiful lust for 1970s land yachts. It needn’t be seen as a weird kink. I mean, who doesn’t like vast swaths of interior room, pillowed velour, and a narcolepsy-inducing ride? Weirdos, most likely.
If two sad, motherless puppies ever crawled their way to my doorstep, shivering and scared, I’d immediately rename them Brougham and Landau, and I don’t care who knows it.
As full-size cars shrink in popularity, the cues of those past Interstate barges — padded roofs, opera windows, flip-up headlights — are nowhere to be seen in today’s automotive landscape. Another common feature of those overstuffed rides, one that rose to prominence in the heady 1950s and met its death before the end of the 1970s, currently occupies an endangered micro niche.
I’m talking about the missing B-pillar. Yes, the alluring and illustrious pillarless hardtop.
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