History of a 3S

From 3SI Wiki

With the engine idling, there is a little more than a soft, baritone rumble coming from the four chromed exhaust pipes. Ease the shifter into first gear, and the six-speed transmission responds with reassuring precision. Press down on the accelerator and experience total exhilaration. Both intercooled turbochargers emit a shrill hiss, and 320 horsepower pours into the full-time all wheel drive system. Enormous 18 inch wheels and 245/40 Z-rated tires dig into the pavement, the suspension tenses and the 3000GT VR-4 launches off the line. Sweep into the first turn, and the same-phase four-wheel steering generates breathtaking stability. The steering wheel is alive with information about the road. Your confidence soars. Accelerate out of the turn, and all wheel drive with two limited-slip differentials creates unyielding traction - you power out of the corner with riveting control.

On the open highway, the Active Aero (tm) system automatically adjusts the front air dam and rear spoiler, leveraging the wind for even more stability - without increasing aerodynamic drag. Electronically controlled shock absorbers immediately adapt to changing conditions. At cruising speed, pull the shifter back into sixth gear. The engine settles down into an easy rhythm. The suspension relaxes, and the 3000GT VR-4 slices through the atmosphere. Effortlessly. The 3000GT VR-4 must be driven to be believed." - 1995 3000GT Sales Brochure

Putting the power to the pavement is the name of the acceleration game. The Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 has 320 hp, much less than the Jag and Lightning, and the same power rating as the Mustang Cobra. So what gives the Mitsubishi the advantage over them? Traction.

Despite its credentials, the 3000GT can trace its lineage to a little-known car called the Starion. A rear-wheel drive car, the Starion was initially conceived as competition for the Nissan Z cars of the 1980's. The Starion when released was a technological wonder for it's day, and sent many rivels back to the drawing board to create turbo cars for their line-ups. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, so when Mitsubishi began planning for the car that would become the company's replacement for the Starion, they literally started with a clean sheet of paper.

However, before the first line was drawn, some basic marketing decisions were made about the new car. Drawing in part on the marketing strategy made famous by General Motors founder Alfred P. Sloan, Mitsubishi decided the new car would be offered in multiple stages of tuning and equipment. This was especially important because Mitsubishi would be sharing the new car with its close U.S. partner, Chrysler. Although the car would be designed and build in Japan, it would also be available at Chrysler's Dodge dealers under the name Stealth. And Chrysler was insistent that a basic-level vehicle should be manufactured and sold for a price of just under $17,000.

The 3000GT,Created in 1990, was designed as Mitsubishi’s Flagship car. Powered by a 2972cc Engine(181 CU.), the 3000GT was designed to showcase Mitsubishi’s Engineering Powers to the World. Starting with its Aerodynamic Design, and a Monsterous 6 foot wide stance, the 3000GT incorporated Electronically controlled Exhaust, Anti Lock brakes, Electronically controlled Suspension, and Computer controled Active Aero Spoiler and front air dam. The top of the line 3000GT(the VR-4 incorperated Full time all wheel drive and all wheel steering, but these toys came a price.... weight. To Power this near 2 Ton Monster, Mitsubishi incorporated a Twin Turbo charging system to an already Powerful 2972cc Engine, the 6G72. Even with its extreme weight, the 3000GT VR-4 is still capable of a top speed of 155MPH(non-turbo, 148MPH), and unlike its competition, the VR-4 is very stable at its top speed.

For the 1994 Model year, Mitsubishi redesigned the exterior of all models of the 3000GT. In place of Retractable headlights, were more powerful Projector lights. In addition to the styling enhancements, the 3000GT VR-4 also benefited from higher boost which Increased Torque by 7 foot-lbs, and increased Horsepower by 20lbs. The 5 speed gearbox was replaced with a 6 speed setup to keep the vehicle in it's powerband more often. Passanger side air bags were also added to increase the vehicles saftey, As well as the VR-4 gained larger front rotors and 2-piston rear calipers.

In the 1995 Model Year, the 3000GT line-up was enhanced with the addition of the 3000GT Spyder. The Spyder is the ultimate touring vehicle. At a cost of $62,000 dollars, the Hard top converted 3000GT was not cheap, but was a technological phenomenon. The spyder was one of the first fully automated Hard top convertibles ever built. The SL version was powered by a 6G72 Engine coupled which was only availible with a 4-speed automatic. For the Performance fanatics, the VR-4 Spyder Continued with its Twin Turbo engine, and its AWD 6-speed manual transmission. Although the vehicle was very expensive, the Spyders were equiped with 17X8.5 inch chrome wheels, instead of the 18X8.5 inch wheels that came standard on 1995+ 3000GT VR-4s.

In 1996 the 3000GT VR-4 lost its Active Exhaust system, and Computer controled Suspension. The Non Turbo also went from 222HP to 218HP after adding a EGR system to meet tigther emissions laws.

The 3rd redesign of the 3000GT came in the 1997 Model year. Minor Cosmetic Changes were made to the exterior. Active Aero was removed, and replaced with a large HOOP like wing which followed the lines and curves of the body better, and the Front Fascia was redesigned to give the 3000GT a more aggressive look. The VR-4 Lost its active exhaust, suspension and other parts to loose 67 pounds, quite impressive. Despite the cost savings of these parts, the VR- still cost $46,230. In the 1997 Model year, the base model 3000GT(originally a 222HP DOHC 6G72 Motor) was replaced with a less powerful more afordable SOHC 164 HP engine. Much more affordable than the previous base model 3000GT's. The SL retained the 222HP DOHC motor.

Mitsubishi knew the 3000GT's days were numbered. They decided for the 1999 Model year the 3000GT's looks had to change. The front bumper was changed to a more agressive, sports car look, the headlights also changed to match the new bumper. The Sail panels behind the windows were changed to remove the fake window in place since 1991. The "hoop" spolier was repalced with a large "combat" style wing that is often cited as "love it or hate it."

Mitsubishi quit production of the 3000GT in the 1999 Model year.