Friday, January 13, 2017

The Forgotten Challenger: 1983 Mitsubishi Scorpion

Mitsubishi is the automotive equivalent of colonialism. Chrysler took their often somewhat strange local models and Americanised (or Australianised) them, put their own brands' badges on them, and dragged themselves to revival, just in time to release the Neon. Badge engineering might've saved Chrysler in the dark days of K-Cars, but it did Mitsubishi no favours - they're at death's door. The best forgotten of the lot was the Plymouth Sapporo/Dodge Challenger twins, sold Down Under as a Mitsubishi from 1980. Find this 1983 Mitsubishi Scorpion for sale in Somerton Park, SA, for $3,800 AUD ($2,840 USD at the time of writing) via gumtree.

 
What's in a name? Well, often a lot of history, prestige and recognition. It seems as though Chrysler forgot that ten years earlier, the Dodge Challenger was a muscle car teenagers lusted over and parents feared. At least the Scorpion's got RWD? It had a convoluted life in Australia too, going from being a Chrysler Sigma Scorpion, to just Chrysler Scorpion, and finally what we see here. The original name betrayed the coupe's origins from the Galant - the same car the Sigma was based on.


This specific example is in amazing condition, with the seller claiming one owner until last year - and it shows. The 80s interior is resplendent in brown and the exterior seems to have no major blemishes either - note the alloys; despite Mitsubishi's best efforts, square wheels never did quite work.


Powered by the 2.6L Astron engine that Mitsubishi used in just about everything in the 80s, the Scorpion was a reasonably quick car for the era. Coupled to a 5-speed manual, as it should be, this car is sportier than its origin story might make you believe. While the Sapporo/Challenger remained unloved in the US, the Scorpion was a well respected car in Australia, but it was eventually overshadowed by the new-for-'82 Starion.


See another forgotten victim of badge-engineering? Email us attips@dailyturismo.com

Michael is a teenager who's been obsessed with cars since he was able to talk, but has no ability in mechanics whatsoever. His daily driver is a manual transmission Nissan Maxima - the Australian Infiniti I30.

1 comment:

  1. Brings back memories. Had an 81 Challenger back in the day and, although the name was a sacrilege, it was a decent car. It was well-optioned and had decent performance for a 4-banger. I took it from about 10k miles to around 150k when it met it's demise via a cracked head - common problem on the 2.6L.

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