Mitsubishi Starion: Spotted

Something something something mistranslation of the world 'stallion'. There, now we've got that out of the way, we can move on and discuss the Mitsubishi Starion without fear of such unsubstantiated balderdash rearing its head. (And in case, until now, you believed the above, the truth is that the word 'Starion' is a contraction of 'Star of Arion' - Arion being the horse of Hercules in Greek mythology. So now you know.)

Anyway, we are gathered here today to celebrate this delightful old Starion, which must be one of the earliest left in the UK, given that the car was launched in 1982, which is the exact year from which this example dates. Back then, the Turbo was the entry-level, non-intercooled version, so although its nomenclature sounds promising, it is in fact (whisper it) one of the least powerful Starions you can buy.

But let's not let that spoil our fun, eh? For early, low-spec narrow-body Starions like this one are rare, and to these eyes more accustomed as they are to wide-bodies with the bigger rear spoiler, it looks fantastic; a study in neat angularity and shorn of excessive frippery.

Under the bonnet sits an early version of the legendary 4G63 engine, the same that went on to power Lancer Evolutions of every flavour through the 1990s and 2000s, and even though it lacks an intercooler, it still kicks out 170hp. In a car this light, that makes for some very credible performance figures; think sub-7-second 0-60 time.

The Starion was pretty handy, too. Crisp turn-in and loads of grip made it a pleasure to hustle along, always backed by the punch of that engine; the exception to this being when conditions turned wet, at which point it could become something of a handful. Mind you, the same could be said for several other performance cars of its era, so in this the Starion was not alone.

This example's on for £6,450. Now, that isn't cheap, considering it wasn't so long ago that you could pick one of these up for buttons, but it does look to be a tidy and rare example of a cult classic. So while that price could probably do with a bit of a haggle, given the way 1980s cars are going, it isn't exactly exorbitant.

Besides, look at what you're getting. Dark blue gives the Starion a more sophisticated air than the usual bright red, and looks well with the pale grey leather inside. 96k is a tidy mileage for a car of this age, too, and from the sounds of things it's been well-maintained, the advert boasting of a whopping service history, a full MOT, and a recent service.

In short, this sounds like a very decent - and very desirable - way into 1980s classic motoring; just tidy enough to be truly special while not being so immaculate that it can't be brought out now and again for some fun. Just be prepared for the inevitable 'Have you heard why it's called that?' for the duration of your ownership.


Engine: 1,997cc 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 170@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 181@3,500rpm
First registered: 1982
Recorded mileage: 96,000
Price new: £13,549
Yours for: £6,450

See the original advert here

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (26) Join the discussion on the forum

  • EyeHeartSpellin 26 May 2018

    80's seats #sperm

  • 85Carrera 26 May 2018

    Does anyone actually believe that “star of arion” bks?

    This was their pony car, after all ...

  • Quavers 26 May 2018

    The wide bodied cars look better but only have 153 hp from 2.6 litres.

  • threespires 26 May 2018

    I had one for a while & liked it.
    Good value I think & an unusual alternative to a 924.

  • rallycross 26 May 2018

    When these came out they were a bit of a game changer in terms of performance, they immediately became the car to beat in the Production saloon race series (in the top class they were up against capri v6, bmw 635, rover v8 and these 2.0 Starion's were the quickest group N cars).

    They never sold many, and they suffered from terrible rust. I tried to buy a scruffy one in the early nineties and remember taking it for a test drive on wet roads and it was all over the road with power oversteer at low speed.

    Some photos of Colin Blower and Andy McLennan doing a great job of winning from the front in group N.

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