A MOD Meet At Mitsubishi’s R&D Lab
Diamonds In The Stars With Motors

MOD 2017, held at Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America’s laboratory in Cypress, California on Saturday was 100 years in the making, and fans of the Japanese automaker came out in numbers to celebrate the milestone.

Given it was way back in 2011 that Speedhunters last took a look at MOD (Mitsubishi Owners Day), I decided it would be a good idea to brave the summer heat and check it out. And I’m glad that I did.


Although it was a centennial celebration, the history of Mitsubishi is far greater when you look beyond the automotive side. Mitsubishi Group of Companies was founded in 1870 by Yararo Iwasaki and started out as a shipping firm. The logo and name stands for Three Water Caltrop, but the word hishi (which gets changed to bishi when spoken with mitsu) also means diamond. That’s why you see three diamonds over three water chestnuts.

In 1917, the company built the first ever series-production automobile known as the Model A, which was based on the Fiat Tipo 3. In 1934, after discontinuing the rather expensive car, the shipbuilding and aircraft companies merged to form Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and three years later they built the PX33. It could be called the predecessor to the VR-4, GSX, and Evolution models we see today as it was the first Japanese-built passenger car with full-time four-wheel drive.


For many of us that grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s in the USA, we saw Mitsubishi as part of the Diamond Star Motor group. ‘Diamond’ fans lusted over the Mitsubishi Eclipse, 3000GT, and the Mighty Max (if you were into small pickups); the ‘Star’ part was the Chrysler side, so we wanted the Eagle Talon, the Dodge Stealth, and the Ram 50. The reality was, they were the same vehicles.


However, even though I know that, the Talon TSI AWD is still the one from that group that I want the most. I liked its body shape more so than the Eclipse, but either version of the AWD cars are still very potent vehicles to own.


The Eclipse/Talon were also the second largest gathering of vehicles at MOD 2017. It wasn’t hard to understand, though, as these cars aren’t exactly rare or expensive. Of course, if there is going to be an Eclipse showing, you know that the ‘Paul Walker Tribute’ car is going to be here. Even when the Fast and the Furious first came out, the Eclipse was already an ageing car, but there’s just something about that body that still looks good today as it did when it first debuted.


Those of you that have known me or have read my stuff in the past, you know I’m a, well, I’m a truck and SUV kind of guy. So, when I headed over to the Montero/Pajero section, I was ecstatic to see the Pajero Evolution on display. We’re not familiar with it here in the US, which is a surprise considering we are a truck/SUV nation. This is a Dakar homologation special and it’s a big departure from the standard Pajero. It came out in 1997 as a response to the T3 class requirements of the Paris-Dakar Rally and features a 3.5-liter, 24-valve MIVEC DOHC V6 with a variable intake system (long runner plenum for low RPM, short runner plenum for higher RPM). It also featured a multi-link, independent rear suspension over the solid axle of the normal Pajero/Montero.


Right next to them were some classic Lancers. The first was this Lancer 1800 GSR with a 4G62B engine, a 1.8-liter SOHC four-cylinder with intercooled turbocharger. This particular car sported a set of original Yokohama Advan A3A wheels along with a few other interesting parts.


Right beside it, however, was a very impressive looking Mitsubishi Lancer A70, also known as the Dodge Colt here in the US.  Dennis, the owner, also changed the front bumper to Japanese Lancer style, which was shorter than the US bumper. However, that necessitated shortening the plastic portion that goes into the front fenders. In Japan, these cars didn’t come with the low-mounted signal light we see here.

These cars came with the 4G32, a 1.6-liter SOHC engine with a single Solex carburetor, though GSR versions of the engines saw dual Solex two-barrel, downdraft carburetors fitted. While the single Solex is working for now, the plans are to change it out for a set of Weber side-draft carburetors, but that will require the relocation of the brake booster and master cylinder to the trunk. Yes, you read that correctly, the description of the setup is very ingenious. A single master cylinder attaches where the old booster and master cylinder were once at, that then sends pressure to a slave cylinder that’s attached to the relocated brake booster. The downside is that there is a lack of feedback – bad for a race car, but not bad enough for a street car.


There are some neat period touches too, like an original set of SSR Mk3 wheels and a state-of-the-art cassette player.

Vendor, Vendor, Give Me The News

One of the companies who’s been to every single MOD has been Road Race Engineering. They are, quite simply, one of the names you just associate with 4G-engines and the stupid amounts of power they can make. This year was no exception and, once again, they brought out their dyno to see which Mitsubishi had the most on this very hot July day.

On display were Dr. Alex Radu’s Evo VI and its Varis bodykit, and also Roy Narvaez’s Hulk Evo VIII, which had the unfortunate fate last year to be on display in pieces after his barrel roll at Pikes Peak. For 2017 however, Roy reached the top before the weather hit to finish 12th out of 22 in his class.


Over at CSF Radiators was this impressive looking Evo IX owned by Sergio Miranda with a custom made, titanium Sheepey Built turbo and wastegate dump that exits out of the hood. The list of parts on it might make it worthy of a future look.


Other than the Marlboro schemed cars that have started to pop-up recently, there is another auto trend I don’t quite get: the itasha car. The Evo X wasn’t as extreme as I have seen them and it was going for a Good Smile Racing team replica, but I still don’t really get it. Though, we did have the American equivalent here with this yellow Lancer.


With that all said, there is one last thing that must be pointed out about Mitsubishi fans. Despite the challenging times with their favorite brand and the brand getting away from the thing that brought them to it in the first place, they are still a diehard and loyal base.

So much so, that there will be a second MOD on August 19, 2017 that will take place on the east coast at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you haven’t been able to attend MOD in the past because you were on the opposite coast, this will be your chance to enjoy Mitsubishi with your fellow owners. Even as a non-Mitsubishi owner, you’ll enjoy it because at the end of the day we all enjoy vehicles.

What’s your favorite Mitsubishi vehicle or memory? Tell us in the comments, or even better – show us.

Words and Photos by Justin Banner
Instagram: jb27tt
Facebook: racerbanner
Twitter: RacerBanner

Cutting Room Floor




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I used to own a 1g talon tsi awd as my winter car and that was just about the most fun winter i have ever had. My friends and I drove the living shit out of that car and it never gave me one trouble. I even two tracked it through the through huge puddles and tons of snow. I am determined to own another someday!

Nolan Christian Lohmann Bjorn

I was hoping to see more Starions but great coverage from MOD. One day I will make it out there.

Airik Keringes

I've gotta admit... Mitsubishi has made some VERY great cars over the years. And I think I'll most miss having a manufacturer that offers such a wide selection of performance levels on a majority of the cars in their lineup. VR-4, GSX, TS-i, GSR, SRT, Evolution, GS-T, RS... all higher performance variants of a base model car. SO MANY options for interior trim level, drivetrain layout, HP level, exterior trim, Turbocharged or NA, 2-door or 4-door, OEM big crazy race wing from the dealer or wingless. Hell, in the 90's you could even pick which Manufacturer badging you wanted (to an extent). Be it Mitsubishi, Dodge, Chrysler, Eagle, Plymouth. I realize they were for the most part just mix and matching bumpers/fenders and sideskirts across the same 3-4 chassis. But most OEM's today do this type of "Badge Engineering" only as an attempt to move a platform upmarket and squeeze a bit more markup out of a buyer. Ahem... Toyota/Lexus... *COUGH* Nissan/Infiniti.


I agree with this to an extent. The 'badge engineering' tactic from Toyota and Nissan (and ford/lincoln, and remember when GM basically rebadged their cars under like 7 different model names?) was and is to promote a more luxurious brand. What you describe above that is what we are missing; performance variants of the base model cars. It's like you can't buy a grocery getter with awd and a turbo now, but you definitely could before.


I'm basically obsessed with Evos and have been ever since I was about 10 and racing them on Gran Turismo. Fell in love with them ever since. Was lucky enough to have a Evo 7 in my family when my brother bought one back in 2010ish. Fast forward to last year when I finally got my own Evo 8 (damn Australian P-Plate restrictions). Drives like a dream!


I wonder if "the wrecker" is street legal... :)


It's the first time I've seen a 'khyzyl Saleem' car that's not a render. Awesome!


Strangely, here in California you only need working lights and to pass a smog check to be legal. You should see the scary stuff that still passes for "road legal" here on a daily basis that weren't intended to look like it.


Favourite vehicle? FQ340 Evo 8/Evo 3 RS


That green one is an amazing machine


Justin!!! Why aren't there more shots of "The Wrecker" and the white lancer with the red wheels, spiked lugs, and subtle vinyl work?!? Those two look super unique! You're killin' me Smalls!


Not the first time the Wrecker has seen coverage and, I'm going to be honest, I didn't even notice the vinyl work until I started editing and kicked myself for not seeing it until after the show. If I see it again, I will get more pictures because it looked pretty good from just that one shot I got.


Hey, it's not like you can't pick up a brand new Evo right now.


Sure do miss my old turbo-swapped 3000GT. That thing was a blast with ~300whp. But, as the Mitsubishi stereotype goes, the darn thing just kept breaking and I couldn't keep up with it financially.

That said, I would, without a doubt, buy it back if the opportunity and finances presented themselves.


Sure do miss my old turbo-swapped 3000GT. That thing was a blast with ~300whp. But, as the Mitsubishi stereotype goes, the darn thing just kept breaking and I couldn't keep up with it financially.

That said, I would, without a doubt, buy it back if the opportunity and finances presented themselves.


I have owned over 10 Mitsubishis. I keep thinking I'll get away from them, it I always end up with another one. On a forum I used to frequent, we called it Mitsuitis. It's when you just shake the undying love you have for the brand.

Currently I have a 1990 Colt with a 4g63 swapped in it. It doesn't run, and has been sitting in my driveway for about 4 months now. I have it for sale, but I keep hoping no one buys it. If I sell it, I'll probably look at getting another Mitsu.


Holy shit that's insane


Wow, please excuse all of my typos.

Federico Barutto

Evos (for 4WD rally pedigree) or Starion (for RWD dorifto)?

James II Ravelo

so happy that a pajero evolution showed up, and thanks for giving it some coverage.

that car is my bucket list car, even above the evo3 (which is my favorite).


I gust got Mitsubishi Lancer rally art I think they are one best car's on market

Spanky McLugnuts

Can anyone else smell crankwalk?


Love that truck.


Really digging the "Wrecker Lancer," kinda reminds me of the Armored Kuruma from GTA V.

Joshua @ Adventure Driven Design

Thanks for the event coverage! We had a lot of fun and posted photos of that Pajero Evo off-roading to our instagram after the event. What a treat to watch that thing rip up the mountainside! For a moment it seemed like a scene from Dakar rally.