Not Sold Here: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV

Today’s edition of “Not Sold Here” features this Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV GSR that I recently spotted at Highline Autos Cars and Coffee in Arizona.

The Lancer Evolution arrived in North America in 2003, but it was already well-established in Europe and Asia since its debut in 1992. The Lancer Evolution has a long history of track racing, hill climb, and World Rally Championship wins, including four consecutive WRC Driver’s Championships from 1996 to 1999.

The Evolution IV was produced from 1996-1998, with a total of 13,134 units built. There were 12,193 units in GSR trim and 941 units in RS trim, according to a post on Lancerregister.com.

On the exterior, the front is dominated by two oversize fog lights set low in the front bumper. The large front mount intercooler, hood vent, and single NACA duct on the passenger side give the car an aggressive look.

A front lip spoiler and side skirts hint that this is no ordinary sedan, and the massive rear wing confirms it.

The car has a gray interior with red inserts on the sport seats and door cards. A Momo leather steering wheel and white-face gauges round out the interior of this Japanese sport sedan. Being that this is a Japanese import car, the steering wheel is on the right-hand side.

Power comes from a 2.0L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine making 276 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed manual gearbox was the only transmission offered.

This car shows its original 16-inch OZ Racing F1 wheels wrapped in Dunlop Direzza ZIII tires. It looks to be a nice, clean example of a Lancer IV, which you don’t see very often in North America.

Importing vehicles that are 25 years old or more means that the vehicle is NOT bound to the 2,500 mile per year limit under the “Show or Display” law of 1999. That law only applies to vehicles that are less than 25 years old and with no similar make or model certified for sale in the U.S.

Because of this, there have been a lot of quirky Japanese cars popping up in the U.S. lately, such as the Honda Beat, the Toyota Sera, and countless Nissan Skylines.

I think it is neat that we are starting to see more of these unique cars appearing in the U.S., and I was glad to have crossed paths with this Japanese sport sedan.

1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible

Driving home from work, I caught sight of a rather unusual car: a Toyota Paseo convertible. I couldn’t recall ever having seen one before.

As it turns out, the convertible model was introduced in the U.S. in August 1996 and the Paseo was discontinued in 1997. That means the Paseo Convertible was a one-year only car for the United States. According to Wikipedia, the convertible models were never offered in Britain or other markets. Continue reading

Mitsubishi Diamante VR-X: Clapped Out Japanese Luxury

The U.S. auto market is among the most competitive you will find anywhere in the world. Throughout the age of the automobile, there have been many cars which were notorious for their failure in the market. The Ford Edsel, Chevrolet Corvair, the Ford Pinto, the Yugo, and even the DeLorean DMC-12 became famous for their lackluster sales. These names are known to those who are not automotive enthusiasts.

But for every widely-publicized flop into the North American car market, there are many more cars which sell poorly and disappear from dealerships without anyone even noticing. Cars like the Lexus ES250, Peugeot 405, and the Chrysler TC by Maserati for example.

Today I present another one of these low-production import cars: the Mitsubishi Diamante VR-X. Continue reading

Not Sold Here: 1990 Toyota Sera with Super Live Sound System (SLSS)


Welcome to Not Sold Here, the series where we look at interesting cars which were never sold in the United States market, but have made their way to American soil. Today’s feature car is a 1990 Toyota Sera, a sporty, compact car from Japan. About 15,941 vehicles were produced during the five year production run from 1990 through 1995. All models were equipped with a 1.5L engine producing 110 horsepower and 98 ft-lbs of torque, with either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual available. The Sera is noted for its numerous unusual features and options.

The most prominent feature of the Sera is its butterfly hinge doors, which open outward and upward instead of in the conventional fashion. Gordon Murray, designer of the legendary McLaren F1, credited the Sera as his inspiration for the F1’s similar styled butterfly doors. The three-door hatchback has seating for four, though the backseat is quite small.

Another unusual feature of this particular Sera is its paint color. The car was offered in 11 different colors. There were of course standard colors such as black, gray, red, and blue, but there were also less traditional colors like turquoise blue, burnt orange, and greenish yellow, which is what this car has. I really couldn’t imagine a color like this selling well in the U.S. market.

Continue reading