The Mitsubishi Galant: The Only Japanese Car Tuned by AMG
The latest news from Mitsubishi isn’t particularly rosy. Which, given its history, is a shame. Mitsubishi has given us cars like the Lancer Evo, the Pajero SUV, and the Delica van. But there’s one more car you may have forgotten about: the Mitsubishi Galant. And while it didn’t make a good muscle car, the Galant did let Mitsubishi collaborate with an unexpected brand: AMG.
The Mitsubishi Galant AMG’s backstory
Today, although its lineup is being down-sized, AMG is Mercedes-Benz’s in-house performance division. And that’s been the case since the late 80s when it tuned the 190E 2.3-16 sedan.
However, Mercedes purchased AMG in 1999, Motor1 explains, it was an independent entity. Admittedly, like Alpina and RUF, the tuner primarily focused on one brand: in this case, Mercedes. But it occasionally branched out to other brands, Road & Track explains. And in 1989, it partnered with Mitsubishi to tune the Galant.
The 1989 Mitsubishi Galant AMG isn’t the first Mitsubishi with the German tuner’s touch, Jalopnik reports. However, the previous car, the Debonair V 3000 Royal AMG, was basically just a body-kitted Debonair. If it was a BMW, it’d be an M-Sport, not even an M-Performance. The Galant AMG, though, actually received some performance enhancements.
Interestingly, 1989 also saw the release of another performance Mitsubishi Galant: the VR-4. But the two sporty sedans were very different.
Mitsubishi Galant AMG vs. the VR-4
The stock 1989 Mitsubishi Galant’s strongest engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which produces 143 hp and 127 lb-ft, Bring a Trailer reports. The AMG and VR-4 models made quite a bit more.
AMG took the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and fitted it with new pistons, camshafts, titanium springs, and a new intake and exhaust. It also retuned the ECU. As a result, the Mitsubishi Galant AMG develops 168 hp and 141 lb-ft. It also redlines at 8000 RPM. It’s still FWD, but it does have a 5-speed manual.
Compared to the standard sedan, the Mitsubishi Galant AMG’s appearance mods are relatively minimal. It has a wide-body kit, body-colored 15” wheels, and wood interior trim. And, of course, some AMG badges.
The Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, though, is a homologation rally car, which competed with the Toyota Celica GT4 and Lancia Delta Integrale. And like those cars, it has AWD, R&T reports. But that’s not the only difference between the VR-4 and the AMG models.
The VR-4 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which in US-spec develops 195 hp, Car and Driver reports. But elsewhere, it develops 237 hp, CarThrottle reports. Also, unlike the AMG, the VR-4 has 4-wheel steering, 4-wheel ABS, and fully-independent electronically-controlled suspension.
Getting one of your own
Despite the VR-4’s rally heritage—and subsequent tunability—the AMG is the rarer model. Only 500 were built from 1989-1991, split between Type I and Type II variants. They’re roughly identical, with a few minor appearance differences. In contrast, Mitsubishi sold 3000 VR-4s in the US alone, Hagerty reports.
Despite this, the VR-4’s rally heritage and higher performance mean it commands a marketplace premium. Though even so, a well-maintained example can be found for under $10,000. However, the Galant AMG is even cheaper. As of this writing, there is a 1991 model listed on BaT for $6000.
The Mitsubishi Galant AMG is arguably one of the tuner’s most obscure cars. But unlike some questionably-tuned cars on the road, its AMG badges are factory-applied.
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