Mitsubishi may be better known today for its hybrid crossovers but don’t forget that the firm has some really credible performance machinery in its back catalogue – including of course the fast and furious Lancer Evo series and the frantic FTO, a favourite of the grey import years.
The 3000GT is one of the firm’s largely forgotten heroes and was in concept Mitsubishi’s answer to cars like the Honda NSX, Mazda RX-7 and the Toyota Celica Supra.
A four-wheel drive halo model for the brand, it was something of a technical showcase, packing all of Mitsubishi’s then-current technology, including four-wheel steering and clever ‘active aerodynamics’ – in reality an adjustable spoiler.
Under the sleekly tapering nose was a typically Japanese performance powerplant for the era in the shape of a 24-valve V6, rated at 223 bhp in normally-aspirated form or a hefty 300 bhp in twin-turbo trim – the only engine offered in the officially imported UK cars.
In its home market, the car was marketed as the Mitsubishi GTO, but worries over the European reaction to the pirating of the famous Ferrari tag resulted in the ‘O’ being dropped, although many Japanese-market examples have since found their way here.
As a performance tool, the 3000GT was well regarded and I remember sampling one back in the day when its refinement and sheer speed were deeply impressive. Ultimately though, the Mitsubishi badge simply lacked the kudos to carry a £35,500 car in the notoriously badge-conscious British market though and less than 300 are now on the road.