Mitsubishi Galant Λ (Lambda)
1982 Mitsubishi Sapporo 2000 GSL
Overview
ManufacturerMitsubishi Motors
Also calledMitsubishi Eterna Λ (Lambda)
Mitsubishi Sapporo
Mitsubishi Scorpion[1]
Chrysler Sigma Scorpion[2]
Chrysler Scorpion[3]
Colt Sapporo
Dodge (Colt) Challenger
Plymouth Sapporo
Production1976–1984
Body and chassis
ClassMid-size
Body style2-door hardtop/notchback coupé
LayoutLongitudinal front-engine, rear-wheel drive
RelatedMitsubishi Galant
Chronology
PredecessorColt Galant, Galant GTO
SuccessorStarion (Japan)
Galant/Eterna Σ hardtop (Europe)[4]

The Mitsubishi Galant Λ (Lambda) is a two-door, four-seat hardtop/notchback coupé built by Mitsubishi from 1976 until 1984. From 1978, it was exported under various names; such as the Mitsubishi Sapporo in Europe and South America (named for the Japanese city of Sapporo, which was considered to have positive international connotations after having hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics[5]), the Dodge (Colt) Challenger and Plymouth Sapporo in North America and Puerto Rico, and the Chrysler Sigma Scorpion,[2] Chrysler Scorpion[3] and later the Mitsubishi Scorpion[1] in Australia. It was also sold as a Sapporo in the United Kingdom under the Colt brand.

For the 1987 model year, Mitsubishi resurrected the Sapporo name for their Mitsubishi Galant Sapporo. However, this version was an unrelated front-wheel drive, four-door sedan.

History

Mitsubishi Galant 1.6 SL (The Netherlands)

Introduced in Japan in December 1976, the Lambda was described not as a coupé but a "personal luxury car", as Mitsubishi already had the Lancer-based Celeste coupé in its line-up. It competed in Japan with the Toyota Crown, Nissan Cedric, Nissan Gloria, and the Mazda Cosmo coupes newly introduced to Japan. In Australia, the car was imported from Japan as a flagship model of Chrysler Australia's successful Sigma range.

Mitsubishi Galant Λ (Lambda) - 1st gen
1976–1980 Japanese-market Mitsubishi Galant Lambda
Overview
ManufacturerMitsubishi Motors
Production1976–1980
Powertrain
Engine1.6 L 4G32 I4
1.8 L 4G62 I4
2.0 L 4G52 I4
2.0 L 4G63T turbo I4
2.6 L 4G54 I4
2.3 L 4D55 turbodiesel I4
Transmission5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase2,515 mm (99.0 in)
Length4,510 mm (177.6 in)
Width1,675 mm (65.9 in)
Height1,330 mm (52.4 in)
Curb weight1,035–1,105 kg (2,282–2,436 lb)
Mitsubishi Galant Λ (Lambda) - 2nd gen
1981 Mitsubishi Sapporo 2000 GL
Overview
ManufacturerMitsubishi Motors
Production1980–1983
Dimensions
Wheelbase2,530 mm (99.6 in)
Length4,650 mm (183.1 in)
Width1,700 mm (66.9 in)
Height1,355 mm (53.3 in)
Curb weight1,148–1,205 kg (2,531–2,657 lb)

Styling

In the mid-1970s, smaller personal luxury cars were a growing trend.[6] Pursuing this market segment, the Lambda/Sapporo featured frameless door glass, canopy vinyl roofs, velour upholstered interiors, wheel covers with whitewall tires, and numerous power assists.

In 1980, the second generation featured styled steel wheels with blackwall tires, less chrome trim and interior courtesy lights, a fuse box with fuse built-in test light and under seat as well as console storage —' and a radio antenna incorporated into the trunk lid.

The wheelbase and bodywork were lengthened with a revised roofline while remaining within the Japanese Government dimension regulations. Revisions offered increased shoulder room, front and rear leg room, headroom and trunk capacity[7][8] — and merited a new chassis code, shifting from A120 to A160.[7] The shifter was moved closer to the driver, and ventilation was improved. The interior provided additional carpeting, acoustic dampening materials, and a double-thickness front bulkhead.[8]

Mechanicals

Japanese-market Mitsubishi Galant Lambda GSR Turbo

The Mitsubishi Galant Lambda was available with a variety of engines, including diesel, several normally aspirated gasoline engines, and one of the earliest applications of the long-running turbocharged 2.0 L 4G63T engine in the top GSR model which also featured independent rear suspension. It was available in the North American market in one basic configuration, which combined the GSR's close-ratio transmission, a live axle rear suspension, and a larger engine. Rear disc brakes and alloy wheels were available together as a package. Other US options were minimal; air conditioning, cassette player, automatic transmission, cruise control, power door locks, power mirrors, power windows, and a moonroof.[9]

The American, Australian, and Japanese-market 2.6 L Astron engine helped introduce Mitsubishi's then-new Silent Shaft balance shaft engine technology, which minimized the inherent vibration of a large four-cylinder in-line engine. Japanese buyers were liable for more annual road tax for selecting the 2.6 L engine over the smaller engines. The US version also featured a "Jet Valve", a small secondary intake valve that improved emissions by enhancing swirl in the combustion chamber, allowing for utilizing of a leaner fuel mixture. A similar engine without the Jet Valve was available in Mitsubishi-built trucks and the Canadian versions of the Sapporo/Challenger. It was also used in many Chrysler K-cars and their derivatives.

Beginning in 1980, Japanese versions were available with electronic fuel injection, or a new 2.3 L Astron turbodiesel engine.[10]

The suspension was revised for the 1980 model year (the second generation), with improved geometry in front and an all-new four-link rear suspension. The turbo models were introduced, of which some came with independent rear suspension (as later applied to the Starion).[11] The second generation also brought variable-assist power steering, which provided increased assistance at low speeds and less at higher speeds.[12] It was also slightly bigger, with increased foot room, headroom, and luggage space.

The Galant Lambda GSR was a predecessor to the more sporting Mitsubishi Starion based on the same chassis and drivetrain. The Starion continued the rear-wheel-drive Galants' model codes, being called the A180, while the new front-wheel-drive Galants started afresh from E10.[11]

North America

See also: Dodge Challenger § Second generation (1978–1983)

Front-view of a first generation Plymouth Sapporo
Rear-view of a first generation Plymouth Sapporo
1982 Dodge Challenger (unmodified example of second generation of the Mitsubishi-based Challenger)

The car was marketed in North America as a captive import of the Dodge and Plymouth divisions of Chrysler. The cars differed only in minor details such as taillights, interior trim, and available colors. Although mechanically identical, the Dodge Colt Challenger was positioned to appeal to the performance segment, while the Plymouth Sapporo targeted the luxury market. The earliest Dodge Colt Challengers were only available in a two-tone silver/charcoal paint to enhance its sportier nature. For the 1979 model year, four more color combinations became available.[13] Equipment was complete for the time, with remote opening trunk, electrically controlled exterior mirrors, map lights, crushed velour seats, etcetera. The larger-engined cars included four-wheel disc brakes as standard; both engines were available with a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic.[14]

As in other markets, the Challenger/Sapporo received all-new bodywork for the 1981 model year. Originally a 1.6 L four was also available, but the second generation North American market cars only received the 2.6 L inline-four with balance shafts and 105 hp (78 kW).[8] The Dodge versions became simply the Dodge Challenger after 1981, dropping the "Colt" part of the name. An electric sunroof was also new.[8]

Although the car received generally positive reviews, it was unsuccessful in the United States. The Challenger and Sapporo were discontinued after the 1983 model year to make way for the products of the newly formed Chrysler-Mitsubishi joint venture, Diamond-Star Motors, as well as the entrance of Mitsubishi into the American market under its name. The same platform and 2.6 L engine under the Challenger and Sapporo were continued through 1989 as the Conquest sports car.

References

  1. ^ a b Green Book Price & Model Guide, March-April 1984, page 68
  2. ^ a b 1978 Chrysler Sigma Scorpion sales brochure (Australia), www.tocmp.com Retrieved on 1 June 2014
  3. ^ a b Chrysler Scorpion 2.6 advertisement, Chrysler Australia, Australian Playboy, February 1980
  4. ^ Facts & Figures 2005 Archived 2007-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, p.26, Mitsubishi Motors website
  5. ^ San, Kevin; Bird, David (July 2008). "Challenging Times: Mitsubishi's Forgotten Captive". Japanese Nostalgic Car. 1 (2). DCB Media: 46–47.
  6. ^ Koscs, Jim (6 October 2017). "American aspirationals: In the 1970s, Detroit made middle-class luxury personal". Hagerty. Retrieved 24 March 2024.
  7. ^ a b San and Bird, p. 48
  8. ^ a b c d Hogg, Tony (ed.). "1981 Buyer's Guide". Road & Track's Road Test Annual & Buyer's Guide 1981 (January-February 1981): 92.
  9. ^ "1983 Plymouth Sapporo Luxury". carprices.com. 2004. Archived from the original on 13 October 2004. Retrieved 24 March 2024.
  10. ^ "Mitsubishi Galant". Mitsubishi Motors South Africa. Archived from the original on 4 April 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  11. ^ a b San and Bird, pp. 49-50
  12. ^ "Mitsubishi Scorpion GJ/GK/GL". Unique Cars and Parts. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  13. ^ Road & Track's Road Test Annual & Buyer's Guide 1979, Greenwich, CT: CBS Publications, January–February 1979, p. 92
  14. ^ "Four Sports Coupes", Road & Track's Road Test Annual & Buyer's Guide 1979, Greenwich, CT: CBS Publications, p. 32, January–February 1979