I often think about the Mitsubishi GTO. It’s a car I used to like a lot, and really, how could I not?
The sports car packed a 6G72 3.0-liter V6 engine in either naturally aspirated or twin-turbo guise, was offered with a choice of manual or automatic transmission, had AWD and 4WS and even active aero. The GTO was so laden with technology it was a tad on the porky side of the spectrum when it came to kerb weight, but it made up for that through its attractive and sleek coupe design. It was in production in Japan from late 1990 all the way through to early 2001, and when I moved to Japan in 1993, the GTO was the first police sports car I ever saw.
I’ve come across a few modified examples in the years since, but they’ve never really been too crazy. The only exception to the rule was the 900hp Pit Road M time attack car I photographed before I even joined the team here at Speedhunters.
While Mitsubishi had the 300ZX, Skyline GT-R and Supra in its cross hairs when it designed and built the car, the GTO was never as popular as the other JDM greats of the ’90s. It was a tougher engine to work on for starters; not only was it packed with a ton of electronics there was hardly any space in the engine bay to do much. To this day I still think the car was better suited to the US market where it was sold as the 3000GT (and the Dodge variant). The long, straight stretches of road stateside would have simply been eaten up by the GTO; this was not a car made for the technical touge passes of Japan.
GTOs are such a rare sight on the streets of Tokyo these days, and it was this recent spotting that brought about the idea for this post. I’d love to hear your opinion on the GTO, and better still see some images of any examples you guys have owned. You never know, there may even be some examples out there we’d be interested in featuring.
Dino Dalle Carbonare