Sunday, January 18, 2015

3k: Albecroquette: 1989 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo

In the past year, you've been unwillingly introduced to almost every oddball member of the DSM compact-car family. Almost. Besides the responsible matron with a crippling meth addiction (Hyundai Elantra, 4G63-powered), the androgynous middle child (Mitsubishi Mirage, also 4G63-powered), and the estranged uncle (Eagle Summit with slicks, side-exit exhaust, and yes, a 4G63), there's the square-jawed all-state sports prodigy who showed promise at a young age (winning Car & Driver's 10 Best award in 1989), but nevertheless succumbed to Hollywood pressure and went under the knife. Now with 300 horsepower, this tater tot has all of the beef and none of the filler expected in a modern hot hatch. It also sports a 26-year-old engine with 150,000 miles running 24 psi. And it's less than the price of a high-end refrigerator. Find this 1989 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo for sale in Albuquerque, NM for $2,900 via craigslist.

It's called the Colt/Mirage Turbo, a rare DSM answer to the Volkswagen GTI. All stock, the 1.6-liter DOHC 4G61T (essentially a smaller version of the 4G63) revved to 7,000 rpm, generating 135 horsepower on 12.1 psi of boost. Its redline in 5th gear is 153 mph, or just beyond the speedometer's limits, but now within the realm of possibility for this Mirage.

In typical modified-car fashion, the seller features a laundry list of modifications, yet goes the extra mile by explaining each item's purpose:

1000cc injectors, more air, means more fuel needs to be added

Hmm, that could be problematic down the road.

...Walbro 255 fuel pump, to support the increased fuel demands

Well, this guy has thought of everything! Mechanically, everything is there that should be, with the exception of air conditioning and a de-powered power steering rack. Typically, keeping the hydraulic system requires more steering effort than a dedicated manual steering rack, although cranking the wide-diameter hub in a 2,500-pound car shouldn't be unfeasible.

Aftermarket HIDs, this decade's neon underglow equivalent, are housed in retrofitted BMW projectors. Universal four-lug wheels should have been left behind in 2004 along with the tinted side indicator lights, which join the automatic nanny-state seatbelts on our short list of grievances. It's hard to find fault in a bite-sized hatch with 300 horsepower, manually shifted, and powered by an engine designed to withstand such pressure. 

See another needlessly boosted hatch? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.


  1. I prefer (the looks of) the 85-88 Mirage Turbos, but they are even more rare than this one.

  2. I've always liked these cars and drove an 88 Colt for a while, which I actually really liked. Regarding the car featured, it sounds like it's a live hand grenade that could go off at any moment, most likely leaving the driver and any passengers stranded by the roadside with bits and pieces of the engine strewn down the road. Still, if it's built properly, it could actually be a great driver.

    I've always tried to find out exactly how rare this particular model was, but have never found definitive answers. In 1989 Mitsubishi US sales were around 150,000. How many of those were Mirage Turbos is the real question. And of course, that doesn't even factor in the Dodge Colt Turbo and the Plymouth Colt Turbo. I have the feeling that these were not really rare cars, they were just another case of a car built to a price that was never intended to live much past the warranty. Factor in the fact that the model dates back to 1970 and even survives today...yes, it's rare because you can't find many for sale. But it is arguably not a rare car, based on (likely) production. It will most likely never be a collectible, either.

    For my wagon pals:

    1. Found this on the webz: "...1500 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo / Dodge Colt GTs that were built in 1989..." In the greater scale of things, this isn't all that rare but you certainly wouldn't see a lot of them coming and going when they were new. Now, many are gone so...

      As is often the case, I found the answer to my own question for which I will receive absolutely no street cred.

  3. Just found another source ( that lists 1600 units shipped to North American. Seems like there's little accurate info on these cars. That's a shame. And I haven't come across previous generation turbo production numbers, either. None of my reference books list any specific info, just general totals with no model or edition breakdown. Will keep looking.

    1. There's a VIN registry there that has about 300 cars listed, but it doesn't appear to have been updated since 2008. These cars deserve a better place in gearhead history.

    2. You sir have a lot of spare time on yer hands.
      My idea of rare is not seeing one in a few years... This meets this criteria. And I would like to have it maybe with a little less boost so that I can DD it and still have a light fun car to rip back and forth to work... Or where ever.

    3. I've been told I have OCD on the subject, as well as several others.


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