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What Was So Bad About the 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT That ‘Fast & Furious’ Scrapped It?

You might remember the Mitsubishi 3000GT. It was a good-looking coupe with all-wheel-drive capability and three trim levels. Not only that, but this cool car also almost appeared in the first Fast & Furious film. 

So why didn’t the Mitsubishi 3000GT make it into the beloved action franchise?

The 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT

When you think of sports cars, you probably imagine impressive speed, precision handling, and sleek styling. Some automakers’ sports cars uniquely appeal to car enthusiasts. 

The 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT was a sharp-dressed car at the time. But looks can only get you so far. 

According to Edmunds, the two-door coupe had three trims: base, SL, and VR-4. For the 1999 model year, the 3000GT boasted updated front and rear styling. And the top-trim VR-4 got a snazzy real spoiler. 

The front-wheel-drive base model offered an underwhelming 3.0-liter V6. Producing 161 hp and 185 lb-ft of torque, the engine was only slightly more potent than the base Eclipse’s motor. Unsurprisingly, the 3000GT didn’t meet most sports car fans’ need for speed.

The engine in the FWD SL was a 3.0-liter twin-cam V6 harnessing 222 hp. But with its weight, the Mitsubishi 3000GT wasn’t the quickest car to reach 60 mph. However, when negotiating turns and stopping, it turned in an excellent performance. It also came with antilock brakes, leather upholstery, and a power sunroof.

Top-of-the-line AWD VR-4 models boasted a twin-turbo V6 with impressive torque. But, again, the 3000GT’s weight negatively affected its otherwise exciting acceleration. VR-4 models didn’t corner or brake like the midrange SL, either.

The first ‘Fast & Furious’ film

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Fast & Furious producers considered using the 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT in the original film. Craig Lieberman — a self-described “gearhead” and the technical adviser for the franchise’s first few movies — said in a recent video on his YouTube channel that the 3000GT appeared in an early version of the script. 

The Mitsubishi 3000GT met the producers’ needs: It suited the character, could perform action sequences, and fit into the film’s “meager $2 million budget,” Lieberman said. It also hewed to their rule of using only new cars sold in the United States. And they chose not to use Italian supercars or European models because the movie was about the Japanese tuner scene in America. “Everything else had to be ruled out,” he explained.

In the film’s opening scene, Paul Walker’s character, Brian, drives a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Originally, the script called for a 1999 3000GT. In the scene, an antagonist punches out the car’s glass roof in the desert. The 3000GT model with a targa top would’ve worked great.

However, it didn’t pan out. Producers needed four of each model. Their limited budget allowed them to rent vehicles from owners. But none of the 3000GT models that showed up at casting calls impressed the filmmakers.

The good and the bad

The 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT wasn’t perfect, but there was also plenty to like about it. Yes, it was pricey at the time, had a less-than-stellar base engine, and offered questionable performance, Road & Track reports.

But others, including the folks at MotorWeek, thought it was an impressive sports car, particularly the VR-4 model. They loved the 3000GT’s stability and handling on the track. On regular roads, the VR-4 offered a high-quality ride with its posh cabin and adaptive suspension.

MotorWeek liked its acceleration and didn’t think its heft was a huge factor in its performance. For the era, VR-4 models were advanced, boasting adaptive suspension, AWD, and aerodynamic design.

If only the Fast & Furious producers had found four of the same model that met their expectations, the 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT could’ve been a movie star.