Mitsubishi 3000GT: Spotted

Some cars are brimmed with so much tech that you have to wonder if anything inside them will work in a few years time. Just look at smartphones; they have a tendency to become laggy and unresponsive in just a couple of years. Will scrap yards of the late 2020s be filled with mechanically sound cars written off for a completely failed dashboard infotainment system or unresponsive active suspension technology? It's a scary thought.

It's also not a new one. People have been nervous of complex cars for years and with good reason. Scare stories about used cars worth less than the cost of fixing a complicated electrical gremlin are legion, after all. But not all high tech models fit the bill. Take the Mitsubishi 3000GT, for example.

When this low-set Japanese two-door arrived in 1990, it was stuffed with digital kit. That it had four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering made it seem advanced enough, but it was the electronically controlled suspension, active aerodynamics and digital climate control screen (with colour graphics!) that left it looking like a car from the next century. And yet Japanese build quality was such that even with a gazillion things to go wrong, most remained faithful to their owner.

It's a shame then that the 2+2 model never quite captured the hearts and minds of customers in the same way the Honda NSX did. Sure, the 3000GT looked a bit like someone described a Ferrari to the designer over the phone, but it had exotic hardware, with a twin-turbocharged 24v 3.0-litre providing the muscle to that intelligent, digital chassis setup. Of course that made it heavy, too, meaning that it could never hope to rival Honda's mid-engined supercar where it counted.

In fact, despite being quick in a straight line - it used 280hp to hit 60mph in 5.7 seconds - it couldn't have been more of contrast to the NSX. The 3000GT felt lazy around corners with a numb variable steering system and the dynamic balance seemed to prioritise understeer over enjoyment. Truth be told, it was a bit unwieldy on a British B-road. Which is a shame.

Think then of the 3000GT as less of a performance car and more of a well-equipped luxury machine dressed in exotic clothing. Driven at seven tenths it was effortless and comfortable, and with all that kit to play with it felt like a premium machine. It needed to be, of course, with a list price of around £42,000, which made it pricier than a Porsche 968 was in the mid-90s.

Today, however, when cars like this are bought less for their driving dynamics and more because of nostalgia, coolness and investment value, the Mitsubishi is looking increasingly appealing. Which is probably why someone has gone through all the trouble of importing one from Japan to offer it as one of the cleanest available in the UK market.

Our latest Spotted is a fresh import with "low mileage" - although the advertiser declines to report exactly what that means - aside from saying the car is in "superb condition". Just look at the underside - with no British road salt to have graced its bottom there's little more than a couple of rusty bolts. An investment opportunity? For anyone who first encountered the car while holding a Playstation controller, the sentimental value alone might make it worth the £9k asking price.

2,972cc, V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power(hp): 280@6,000rpm
Torque(lb ft): 315@2,500rpm
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1997
Recorded mileage: One to check!
Price new: £42,000 (1998)
Yours for: £8,991

See the full ad here

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Comments (36) Join the discussion on the forum

  • jzakariya 06 Dec 2018

    Loved these at the time, Dodge sold them as the Stealth in the US. I prefer the look of the non-facelift models though. The facelift to the front lights just isn't as cool as the originals.

  • Loplop 06 Dec 2018

    One of the few vehicles that always seemed cooler on Gran Turismo rather than in the flesh.

    Wonder if the later VR4 models with the big pie rack on the back are any better in the twisties...

  • theholygrail 06 Dec 2018

    Have often been tempted by these, they do look quite good value really. But a bit tacky-looking IMO. Ended up buying an unmodified imported 90s Supra which was fast and extraordinarily comfortable but ultimately not in the least sporty, disappointingly.

  • 406dogvan 06 Dec 2018

    2 of the most amusing jobs I've done were on one of these...

    The first had a misfire - not difficult to find and fix (they may have computers galore but they still have distributors!!)
    The owner had stored a lot of spare parts in the boot of the car - we were to use whatever we needed.
    The owner had also fitted a large wing which bolted to the rear wings so you literally could not open the boot more than about 4" to access said parts!!

    The second had recently had a gearbox overhaul and wouldn't shift correctly - I spent a while with the HUGE amount of online specs/manuals (the existence of these as Dodge Stealths increases knowledge about them enormously) which included the "never gets boring" diagnostic methods of "sticking paperclips in sockets"
    I eventually found that 2 of the harness connectors were identical (same shape/key/colour) and were simply plugged-in the wrong way around ;0

    Never a dull day with a 3000GT - the 'space age' dash is lovely ;0

  • Iamnotkloot 06 Dec 2018

    A good looking thing but they were slated for their dynamic failings back in the day (EVO use to slate it on a regular, humorous basis) - I guess the stodgy steering and soft suspension can be fixed but at what cost?

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