Mitsubishi Starion

1983 Mitsubishi Starion: The Mitsubishi Starion is a two-door, turbocharged four-cylinder rear-wheel drive four-seat sports car that was in production from 1982 to 1989. It was also marketed in North America as the Conquest under the Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth names; both the Starion and Conquest came to an end in 1989. Mitsubishi's entry in the lucrative Japanese grand tourer class in the 1980's, the Starion is considered to be one of the originators of the modern Japanese turbocharged performance automobile genre, and the first to use electronic fuel injection.

The Starion used a traditional front-mounted engine with rear-wheel drive layout. Many came with a limited slip differential and anti-lock brakes (single channel, rear wheels only) as standard features. The entire chassis was derived from the previous high-performance variant of the Mitsubishi Sapporo or Mitsubishi Galant Lambda sports coupe, with a MacPherson strut suspension and swaybars that were fitted to front and rear.

Engine capacity differed between markets. American customers received the larger SOHC Astron G54B 2.6 L engine. Most markets received the SOHC 2.0 L Sirius 4G63 engine, subsequently featured in DOHC form in later Mitsubishi sport compacts such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Both the 2.0 L and the 2.6 L produced roughly the same horsepower, the larger 2.6 L did have a slight torque advantage and the 2.0L had a higher redline. Reporters of the time considered the 2.0l to be peaky and exciting, while the American market 2.6l had plenty of torque, but was less rewarding. Both engines featured computer controlled fuel injection and turbocharging, the first Japanese production vehicle to do so. After 1987, European Starion models were also fitted with the 2.6 L engine, as was the GSR-VR for Japan. The move to the 2.6 L in all markets was spurred by emissions restrictions around the world tightening to meet the American standards for lead in fuels. Reviews during the change were negative as many felt the car was slower, for most of these markets this was the case as the engine change also coincided with a move to the heavier body style.

Horsepower varied between 150–197 hp (112–147 kW; 152–200 PS) depending mostly upon the turbocharger that was fitted, the presence of an intercooler, and whether the 8-valve or 12-valve head was used.

The last of the leaded petrol Starion EX's sold in New Zealand had 8 Valves, an Intercooler and 225 hp (168 kW). They also featured a TC06 turbo and an Viscous Limited Slip Differential.

A naturally aspirated version known as the GX was also built for the Japanese market, however production ceased in 1983 due to low sales figures. The Starion GX had no power windows, no air conditioning, no independent rear suspension, no fuel injection and did not have power-assisted steering.

Seating was a 2+2 arrangement, although the rear seats are not too suitable for large adults. The front seats were adjustable for lumbar, angle, knee support, position and featured variable-angle side-braces.

One of the more unusual features was that the seat belts were located in the doors for the driver and front passenger. '87 and later American models featured electrically operated seat belts. The cars were also some of the first to use automatic climate control. Newer models also featured power windows that remained powered up to 30 second after the engine was turned off.

A five-speed manual transmission was standard in most models, however, an automatic transmission was sold as an option in some markets.

Constant upgrades to the model included the addition of an intercooler, 5 lug wheels replacing the four-bolt wheels it had inherited from the rear wheel drive Mitsubishi Galant Lambda, rear power train changes from 4 to 6 bolt axles, various fuel management upgrades and upgrades to the transmission. The "best" year is often debated, For US market cars the debate is most often between the '86 and '89 models. 89's have more developed fuel management and stronger running gear. 86's are lighter, somewhat simpler to modify and have non-motorized seatbelts. 87-88s are similar to 89 in most respects and can be easy upgraded to 89 specs.

Towards the end of the models US run a widebody could be bought with a "Sports Handling Package" or SHP equipped. This was made up of adjustable front and rear struts and 1 inch wider wheels (up from 7/8 the 8/9 fronts and rear). The SHP was only offered during the 88 and 89 model years. The package can be retro fitted to earlier widebody cars.

The drag coefficient was around 0.32; although quite angular, the aerodynamics were quite efficient for the era and around the average for a modern hatchback. It outperformed the Mazda RX-7 and the Nissan 300ZX upon its release.

Notable upgrades include MPI (Multi-Port-Injection) consisting of standalone engine management (programmable computers) to control individual fuel injectors, 1 per cylinder vs. the stock two injector system. Two injector systems were non sequential firing (83-86) or primary (idle injector) and secondary (Boost injector) sequential firing (87-89).

Source: Wikipedia, 2012

Mitsubishi Starion