1982-85 Mitsubishi Starion JA-JB - Club Classics Around $30k

By: Mark Higgins

mitsubishi starion mitsubishi starion

When turbocharging engines became the rage in the early 80s, Mitsubishi was ‘Johnny on the spot’ with its angular 2+2 GT Starion coupe


1982-85 Mitsubishi Starion JA-JB 

It wasn’t with us for long, just five years from 1982 to 1987 (JA1982-84, JB 84-85 & JD 85-87)and didn’t sell in huge quantities, but was considered ahead of its time in some ways with its single turbocharger bolted to an electronically fuel-injected 2-litre single-cam engine producing 125kW and 245Nm.

The Starion’s rear-drive platform included MacPherson struts up front and a four-link independent, coil-sprung rear plus an optional limited-slip differential that together endowed it with a sense of sporty handling. It also had disc brakes at both ends but the package was let down by its vague recirculating-ball steering.

The angular theme infiltrated the interior which was considered bland and the colour-coded plastics brittle and shiny. It also lacked much room for rear seat dwellers, but was comfy enough up front. A novelty was the door-mounted seatbelts.

Coinciding with the arrival of the Starion was a resurgence in production car racing and it was in this arena that the blown Mitsubishi shone.

Race ace Kevin Bartlett led Mitsubishi’s first Bathurst assault in 1984 followed by the Australian Touring Car championship in 1985. Bartlett once claimed that given the budget and development time, the Starion could have been a genuine rival to the Ford Sierra Cosworth.

In the era of Group A touring cars the Starion placed fifth outright at Bathurst in 1987 and scooped up the Australian production car title the same year.

The urban myth has the name Starion as a Japlish attempt at the word Stallion. Not so, say Mitsubishi folk, who claim the name blended the words "Star" and "Orion".

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