Posted June 22, 2009on:
The Mitsubishi Galant is an automobile manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors since 1969. The name was derived from the French word galant, meaning “chivalrous”. There have been nine distinct generations, and cumulative sales now exceed five million. It began as a compact sedan, but over the course of its life has evolved into a larger mid-size car. Initial production was based only in Japan, but since 1994 the American market has been served by vehicles assembled at the former Diamond-Star Motors (DSM) facility in Normal, Illinois.
The first generation of the car, initially known as the Colt Galant, was released in December 1969. Three models were available, powered by the new ‘Saturn’ engine in 1.3 (AI model) or 1.5 L (AII and AIII) configurations. A 1.6 L version came the following year. The design was dubbed “Dynawedge” by Mitsubishi, referring to the influence of aerodynamics on the silhouette. Initially only available as a four-door sedan, a two-door hardtop variant was added in 1970, offering the unique stylistic feature of being the first Japanese production passenger car with full side windows and no side pillars. It became Mitsubishi’s first car to be sold in the United States in 1971 when the Chrysler Corporation, the company’s new partner and stakeholder, began importing the car as the Dodge Colt. It was also sold in Australia alongside the larger Chrysler Valiant models, in four door form as the Chrysler Galant.
From 1970, a fastback coupé model was developed, the Galant GTO. Fashioned after contemporary American muscle cars, the hardtop GTO was available with a choice of three 4G32 ‘Saturn’ engines, and was available until 1975. The nameplate was sufficiently highly regarded in Japan for it to be resurrected for the 1990 Mitsubishi GTO coupé.
The second generation Galant was more widely exported as Mitsubishi’s ambitions grew. It was again sold by Chrysler in many different guises; as the Dodge Colt in the United States, as the Plymouth Colt and Plymouth Cricket in Canada (from 1974), as the Chrysler Valiant Galant in Australia, and in Europe as the Colt Galant.
This model was more curvaceous, influenced by contemporary “coke-bottle” styling, and featured a range of larger ‘Astron’ engines developing up to 125 PS to complement the ‘Saturn’ units. During the second generation, the first Astron 80 engines were introduced using Mitsubishi’s newly developed “Silent Shaft” balance shaft technology for reduced vibration and noise.
The third-generation of the car was introduced in 1976, and was known as Galant Σ (Sigma). In many export markets the car was simply known as the Galant, while the Dodge Colt name continued in America. A wagon variant was available to complement the sedan. In Australia, where the car was built locally at Chrysler’s Clovelly Park plant, it was known as the Chrysler Sigma. A new coupé (two door) was introduced in 1976 to replace the Galant GTO, known in Japan as the Galant Λ (Lambda).
Mitsubishi introduced the MCA-Jet engine with its latest Galant. This incorporated the “Jet Valve”, a secondary intake valve which improved emissions without necessitating the need for a completely redesigned cylinder head.
The third generation Galant was the recipient of the Car of the Year award in South Africa in 1977
Mitsubishi’s fourth iteration of the Galant/Sigma debuted many new innovations for Mitsubishi. Their new ‘Sirius’ engine was offered in turbocharged form for performance enthusiasts, while for economy, an ‘Astron’ 4D55, the first diesel engine in a Japanese passenger car, was also available. A new electronic fuel injection system was introduced on some models of the gasoline Astron.
For the second generation in a row Mitsubishi could claim to be building an award-winning car, as this was chosen as Car of the Year in New Zealand in 1981.
From 1982 to 1983, some of the Australian Sigmas were exported to the United Kingdom with the Lonsdale badge, circumventing the voluntary import quota restrictions adopted by Japanese manufacturers. However the car was unsuccessful, and for 1983 and 1984 it carried Mitsubishi Sigma badges in the UK before imports were discontinued.
The wagon version was facelifted, although from firewall back the vehicle remained the same. Production of the wagon version continued in Australia until 1987 when it was replaced by the new Magna.
The two door coupé was also redesigned for 1981 and was sold through 1983. The fourth generation was known as the Mitsubishi Scorpion in Australia, and the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Sapporo in the United States.
The fourth generation sedan and coupé were both slightly larger than the third generation cars. Additional emphasis was given to ergonomics, aerodynamics, and safety. Shoulder room, leg room, and head space were all increased, and the trunk was slightly enlarged for more luggage capacity. The interior was made quieter with additional carpeting and other acoustic dampening materials and a double-thickness front bulkhead.
A fifth-generation model shifted to front-wheel drive for 1983 as a four-door sedan and hardtop (with different styling). This formed the basis of the widened Mitsubishi Magna in Australia for 1985, the same year in which Mitsubishi won Bild am Sonntag‘s Das Goldene Lenkrad (Golden Steering Wheel) award in Germany for the Galant and Wheels’ Car of the Year for the Magna. This generation was also sold as the Mitsubishi Sigma until 1990 in the United States, and in New Zealand, where it continued on as the V3000 from 1988 to 1992 with a 3.0-litre V6 engine.
Export trim levels were often engine-specific, depending on the market: GL models were offered with either 1.6L or 1.8L engines, GLS models (GLX on certain markets) had 2.0-litre engines (badged 2000 GLS) and Diesel versions had a 1.8-litre turbodiesel engine. The diesel model did not have a trim level, it was simply 1800 TD.
In 1987 the same platform was used for a sixth-generation model which adopted taller, rounded styling. This generation won the Car of the Year Japan award in 1987 and the GS model became Motor Trend‘s Import Car of the Year in 1989. This Galant began American sales in 1989 side by side with the Sigma.
In 1991 Mitsubishi Motors Company complete a new assembly facility at Barcelona, Venezuela being the Galant one of the first produced models. It was sold until 1994 under the ZX, MF, MS and MX names, which indentified the various levels of equipment and transmission.
The Sigma designation disappeared with the 1990 model. A new hardtop liftback model was added in 1988, called the Mitsubishi Eterna. This generation was also sold in Canada as the Dodge 2000GTX and Eagle 2000GTX. Sales ended in 1992.
A limited edition based on the GTi-16v model was introduced in 1989, modified by German tuning company AMG (now owned by Mercedes-Benz),with mildly uprated engine (172 PS (127 kW; 170 hp)) and unique bodykit, alloy wheels & leather interior.
The sixth generation was also the first to see the introduction of the VR-4 variant, which was the basis for Mitsubishi’s participation in the 1988–1992 World Rally Championships. The Galant’s 4G63 two litre DOHC turbocharged engine and 4WD transmission was later adopted for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution with little modification, and would remain in production for fifteen years.
A new Galant debuted in 1992 (model year 1994 in America), available as a four-door sedan and five-door liftback (sedan only in America). A Japan-only hardtop derivative called the Mitsubishi Emeraude was also launched in 1992. This generation marked a substantial change in suspension design, switching from struts to double-wishbones in front and from a beam axle to multi-link in the rear.
Because the Lancer Evolution was now Mitsubishi’s homologated rally car, the seventh generation VR-4 became a less overtly sporting vehicle, eschewing the old four-cylinder engine in favour of a smoother two litre V6 twin turbo. The four wheel drive transmission was retained.
Production in the United States began on May 24, 1993 when the first seventh generation Galant rolled off the assembly line in Normal, Illinois. In 1994, a slightly upgraded GS version was available with a 160 hp (120 kW) twin cam engine, speed-sensitive steering, rear stabilizer bar, and an available manual transmission.
The seventh generation Galant, also known as the Mitsubishi Eterna, formed the basis of the Proton Perdana.
The eighth-generation 1996 model continued the 1992 design themes but a station wagon (known in Japan as the Mitsubishi Legnum) was added. The liftback was deleted. This model won the 1996–97 Car of the Year Japan award. Despite being superseded in the US from 2003, it remained on sale in other countries until 2006.
This model was also produced in Barcelona, Venezuela, at the only Mitsubishi plant in Latin America. At the beginning, the Galant was marketed in that country under the MX and MF names in 1997 and 1998 (Featuring a manual or INVECS-II semi-automatic transmission respectively), then kept the Galant name until the end of its production in 2006. Although the equipment options were limited, the VR-4 appearance package was offered in that market.
The American market Galant, introduced on July 7, 1998, graduated to the US Environmental Protection Agency‘s mid-size class. The front suspension switched from double-wishbones to struts, though the rear was upgraded with a stabilizer bar standard on all but the base DE model. ES, LS and GTZ models were offered with a 195 hp (145 kW) V6 engine, the 6G72 3.0 L, mated to a standard 4-speed conventional auto. Another difference from Asian and European models was lack of ABS, which was only installed on 3.0 L model.
Mitsubishi opted to further develop the technology in its range-topping VR-4, which was now powered by an enlarged 2.5 L V6 twin turbo. The car featured either a conventional 5-speed manual or INVECS-II transmission . Some models were also fitted with the same advanced active yaw control (AYC) as the Lancer Evolution, to give it greater agility than would be expected of such a large vehicle. Finally, as with the rest of the range, the VR-4 could now be had either as a Galant sedan or as a Legnum station wagon.
In some Asian markets Mitsubishi offered a 2.0 L MIVEC version of the 6A12 naturally aspirated V6 engine, badged as the “Galant 2.0A”. Output was placed at 200 hp (150 kW) and 147 lb·ft (199 N·m) of torque. The larger 2.5 L 6A13 was more common in the rest of the world.
In 1998 the company introduced the Mitsubishi Aspire. Externally identical to the regular Galant, the new model name denoted the newly-introduced gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines.
The United States has had the sedan-only ninth-generation PS platform model since October 15, 2003. It was announced at the 2003 New York International Auto Show in April for the 2004 model year, following the exhibition of the SSS concept sedan at the North American International Auto Show three years before. The ninth-generation United States-sourced model is available for sale only in a few regional markets, namely North America, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine and Arabia. Russia began sourcing its Galants from the United States from 2006. The Arabian markets began sourcing its Galants from the United States from the 2007 model year.
A size increase resulted in slightly more interior space and a weight gain of several hundred pounds. The 4-cylinder engine, while still 2.4 liters in displacement, upgraded from Mitsubishi’s 4G64 design to the newer 4G69 design, resulting in a horsepower increase from 140 to 160. Likewise, the V6 jumped from a 3.0-liter with 190 hp (140 kW) to a 3.8 with 235. All North American Galants gained 4-wheel disc brakes but lost their rear stabilizer bar.
A Ralliart version joined for 2007, finally upgrading the V6 to a class-competitive 258 horsepower (192 kW) while also adding a firmer suspension, front strut tower bar, rear stabilizer bar, and 18-inch (460 mm) alloy wheels. For 2008, the trimming of models left the Ralliart as the only V6 model, and the Galant skips the 2008 model year in Canada, only to return in 2009 with the facelifted model.
Mitsubishi also assembles and markets a modified version of the ninth-generation Galant in Taiwan. Taiwan was one of the first regions outside the Americas to market the vehicle, when the Galant Grunder (now known simply as Grunder) was launched in December 2004 with a unique front end. In addition, this model is also sold in the Philippines as the Galant 240M using the 2.4 liter MIVEC engine. It is also sold in China.