Specifications

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Summary

The Mitsubishi GTO is a front-engine, all-wheel/front-wheel drive grand touring/sports car manufactured and marketed by Mitsubishi from 1990-2000 over a single generation. Manufactured in a three-door hatchback coupé body style in Nagoya, Japan, the 2+2 four-seaters were marketed in the Japanese domestic market (JDM) as the GTO, and globally as Mitsubishi 3000GT. In North America, it was sold both as the Mitsubishi 3000GT (1991–1999) and the Dodge Stealth (1991–1996), a badge engineered, mechanically identical captive import. As a collaborative effort between Chrysler and Mitsubishi Motors, Chrysler was responsible for the Stealth’s exterior styling.The marketing variants were all based on Mitsubishi’s Sigma/Diamante and retained their transverse mounted 3-liter, 24-valve V6 engines and front-wheel-drive layout. The GTO’s engines were naturally aspirated or with twin-turbochargers and were also available with active aerodynamics (automatically adjusting front and rear spoilers), four-wheel-steering, full-time all-wheel-drive and adaptive suspension.Mitsubishi marketed a retractable hardtop variant, which were engineered and converted from coupé models in California by ASC, and marketed as the GTO Spyder or VR4 Spyder for model years 1993-1995. These were the first fully automated retractable hardtop marketed since the 1959 Ford Skyliner.The JDM model took its name from the Galant GTO, a two-door hardtop coupé marketed by the company in the early 1970s, which in turn took its name from the Ferrari 250 GTO, short for Gran Turismo Omologata which signified that it met motorsport homologation regulation.

Overview

Following the successful showing of the Mitsubishi HSR and Mitsubishi HSX concept cars at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi unveiled the new GTO as a 2+2 seating grand touring car in order to compete with the Mazda Cosmo, Nissan 300ZX, Subaru SVX, and the Toyota Supra. They resurrected the GTO name, and the car went on to serve as Mitsubishi’s flagship for the remainder of the decade. Despite the cachet of the badge at home, it was marketed as the Mitsubishi 3000GT and as the Dodge Stealth outside Japan; the company was concerned that connoisseurs would object to the evocative nameplate from the highly regarded Ferrari 250 GTO and Pontiac GTO being used on a Japanese vehicle. Each was built on the same production line at Mitsubishi’s plant in Nagoya, Japan. Its Japanese introduction coincided with the softening Japanese economy, subsequently known as the “bubble economy”. JDM GTOs were marketed at Mitsubishi’s Car Plaza retail chain, with JDM buyers paying additional annual road tax as well as elevated taxes for being classified as a large car by Japan’s exterior dimension regulations. A Dodge Stealth was scheduled as a 1991 Indianapolis 500 pace car, until the United Auto Workers (UAW) rejected it because of its Japanese rather than US-manufacture. A prototype of the Dodge Viper was substituted in place of it. Still used as a backup pace car, eventual race winner Rick Mears received a Dodge Stealth for winning the race and dealers sold pace car replica editions, as the Viper did not begin production until later that year.

1990–1993 Z16A

Early models were internally designated Z16A and incorporated full-time four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, active aerodynamics with automatically adjusting front and rear spoilers, sport/tour exhaust modes and electronically controlled suspension (ECS). The GTO, 3000GT and Stealth featured pop-up headlights and articulated blister caps on the hood to accommodate the ECS controllers at the top of the strut turrets. The Dodge Stealth featured a signature cross-hair front bumper fascia and crescent-shaped rear spoiler — and did not include active aerodynamics. In 1993 the engine went to a 4 bolt main and a forged crankshaft, some of the early models in 1993 still received the cast crank present in the first years. In the U.S., both the 1991 to 1993 Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo and Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 received the transversely mounted 24V V6 paired with a long ratio 5-speed manual. The base model Stealth was the only model to feature crank windows, without the sunroof it weighted at 3075 pounds or 1395kg. All the other models received electronic windows (automatic on the driver side). Automatic climate control was standard on all turbo models. The Stealth turbo weights 3800 pounds compared to the 3814 pounds of the VR-4. The non turbo 3000gt (with sunroof) weights 3373 pounds and 3200 without the sunroof. Electronically adjustable leather seats were standard on all US VR-4 while the GTO in japan were offered with slightly lighter cloth seats. Magazines from the era praised its brutal acceleration and AWD grip. By 1993 all electronic gadgets were still standard on the VR-4 model, with magazines quoting 0-60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration times ranging from sub 5 seconds to 6.3 seconds and quarter mile times of 13.6-13.9 seconds at 95–98 mph (153–158 km/h) Dodge claims a 0-60 of 4.89 seconds for the 1991 RT turbo models. Only 3000GT models outside Japan could be configured with front-wheel drive rather than all-wheel drive. In Japan, the base GTO SR included all-wheel drive; no front-wheel drive version was offered. The GTO SR had similar power output figures as the US spec 3000GT SL and was offered with a different five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. The transmissions in japanese models NA models had different gear ratios and a different part number. Japanese buyers did not receive the SOHC V6 which was standard on the base model Dodge Stealth and US spec 3000GT starting in 1997. Japanese buyers had the choice of either a naturally aspirated DOHC V6 and twin-turbocharged DOHC V6. In Europe, instead of the TD04-09B turbochargers used on Japanese and US Twin Turbo models, the EU-spec model received the higher capacity TD04-13G turbochargers. While power output is no higher than contemporary market models, these have lower discharge temperatures to better handle the prolonged high speeds possible on the German Autobahn, along with an upgraded transmission. The engine was rated at 286 PS (210 kW; 282 hp); the modifications took time and European models only went on sale in the Autumn of 1992. In 1994, Mitsubishi released a limited edition of what was now the previous generation 3000GT, branded as “Beckenbauer Edition.” Honoring Franz Beckenbauer. All were painted Lamborghini yellow and were equipped with a Remus sports exhaust, OZ Futura rims, a numbered plate signed by Beckenbauer, and a C-net mobile phone system. Only 30 were made, sold through 1995.

1994–1997 Z15A (2WS) and Z16A (4WS)

Facelift models were internally designated Z15A (2WS) and Z16A (4WS) and featured a revised front bumper to accommodate projector beam headlights and small, round projector fog lights. They were unveiled in August 1993 in Japan and gradually made their way to other markets as the earlier cars sold out. Some markets didn’t get these models until 1996, such as the UK. The caps on the hood were replaced with integrated sheet metal blisters, and revised side air vents and rear bumpers were added. The interior was redesigned with dual air bags, a new audio system, and revised air conditioning refrigerant. The engines in the twin-turbo models received an increase to 320 hp (239 kW) and an increase in torque from 307 to 315 lb⋅ft (416 to 427 N⋅m). Japanese models received an increase in torque, but the power rating remained unchanged at 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp). The VR-4 model now included a six-speed Getrag manual transmission with revised gear ratios, especially in lower gears like 3rd which went until approximately 107 mph (172 km/h) (vs the first generation 3000GT VR-4’s third gear which went until 120 mph (193 km/h). Larger wheel/tire combinations were provided beginning in 1995. The base and SL model received 16″ wheels in silver or chrome with 225/55 tires, while the VR4 now had 18″ chrome wheels with 245/40 tires (the Spyder had the standard 17″ with higher profile tires from 1994 to handle the additional 400 lb (180 kg) of weight). With subsequent price increases, features were discontinued: the tunable exhaust was phased out after 1994 model year, the ECS after 1995 model year, and the active aerodynamics disappeared after 1996. This was also when Chrysler ceased sales of the Dodge Stealth captive import, and for the remainder of its life only Mitsubishi-badged versions were available. Chrysler and Mitsubishi worked with ASC to engineer and convert 3000GTs into retractable hardtops, marketed as the Spyder VR4 for 1995 and 1996 model years. In 1995, Mitsubishi’s 3000GT Spyder was available in four color combinations: red with grey leather interior, black with ivory leather interior, white pearl with grey, and martinique yellow with ivory leather interior. In 1996 the 3000GT Spyder was available in red with tan interior, black pearl with tan leather, white pearl with tan leather interior, and green pearl with tan leather. SL Spyders were only available with an automatic transmission while the VR4 Spyder was only available with a 6-speed manual.

GTO MR

The GTO MR model appeared in the Japanese market in August 1994. The ‘Mitsubishi Racing’ or MR moniker, has been used in most performance Mitsubishis such as the Lancer Evolution, and usually meant a lighter model. The GTO MR was essentially a lightweight GTO Twin Turbo that deleted 4WS, ABS, ECS and Active Aero, but was mechanically identical to the normal GTO Twin Turbo. Chassis numbers for the MR start with Z15A. This allowed the MR edition to reach a weight of 3637 pounds. The awd system featured in the MR received the same 45% front 55% rear split ratio as the other turbo models.Best Motoring, a Japanese television program about Japanese cars, debuted the 1994 GTO MR in an hour long program where it beat the lighter R32 Skyline GT-R over a mile in acceleration.

Reception

The redesign of the second generation 3000GT was well received, especially the loss of pop up headlights and smoother hood. The Tuneable Exhaust System was phased out in 1995 and the Active Aero was phased out in 1996. The new 6-speed was geared well and paired with the extra horsepower and torque allowed the car to out-accelerate its rivals from a standing start. A notable change was the brake redesign, facelift models received 2 piston rear brake calipers and larger front brakes that showed no sign of fading under heavy use unlike the early models. Braking distances remained similar. These changes made all models lighter, the VR-4 was now 3737 pounds and the SL 3263 pounds. Road tests at the time showed the second generation 3000GT VR-4 to be capable of 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.8 – 5.4 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds at 101 to 105 miles per hour (163 to 169 km/h), making it faster in a straight line than the Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo and Mazda RX-7 Twin Turbo. Though heavy, it could be taken around a track quickly, with noted under steer and a feeling of nose heaviness.

1997–2000 Z15AM

The SOHC engine, previously only available in the base model Stealth, was added to the Mitsubishi range after the Dodge version was discontinued. Slower sales in the American sports car market led to a planned facelift for 1997 being abandoned in favor of minor cosmetic adjustments, including a new front bumper and rainbow shaped arched type wing. The 3000gt’s featuring the single cam engine had a weight of 3131 pounds, noted that they were not offered with the sunroof and leather seats. In 1999, the car received another exterior makeover, including a new aggressive front bumper, headlamps, turn signals, sail panels, and a true inverted airfoil spoiler coined the “Combat Wing” for the 1999 VR-4 to distinguish it from previous models. The 1999 non turbo models kept the arched style spoiler. 1999 was the final year the 3000GT was available in the U.S. market. With sales slowing to a trickle and new side impact regulations looming, production for the Japanese domestic market finally ceased in 2000. A last two cars were sold the following year. In a test by Popular Mechanics the VR-4 ran a 13.44 seconds quarter mile (~402 m) at 101.7 mph (163.7 km/h).

All years Z11A

The Z11A chassis code was used for the 3000GT ES and SL, and the base Dodge Stealth. The Mitsubishis lacked the “twin turbo” writing on the faux windows. The Dodges had different bumpers than the turbo cars. Otherwise the non-turbo cars looked cosmetically like the turbo cars. These cars were front wheel drive and lacked four-wheel steering and active aero. They came with a 5 speed manual (F5M33) or with automatic transmissions. Both the DOHC and SOHC 6G72 V6 was offered in this platform, with the DOHC being the more powerful.