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Guilty Pleasure: First-Gen Mitsubishi Diamante


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Guilty Pleasure Mitsubishi Diamante

After honoring a Chrysler-badged Mitsubishi in last week's Guilty Pleasure feature, I decided it was time to go back to Japan for real, with a genuine Mitsubishi-branded product. Strange how some cars never make much of an impression, though they lingered in the marketplace for quite a while; the Mitsubishi Diamante is such a car. We've all heard of the Diamante, of course, but do you notice them on the street? I have a vague recollection of some early-to-mid-90s gangster rapper— was it Ice Cube?— bragging about the Diamantes rollin' on the ave, but other than that I can't think of a single cultural reference for Mitsubishi's flagship of the era.

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Guilty Pleasure Mitsubishi Diamante

I have a real soft spot for Japanese luxury cars of the early-to-mid-1990s. Infiniti, Lexus, and Acura were still relatively new marques, clawing North American market share from the big Germans and the Detroit luxury brands in spite of their novelty. With the Japanese Big Three behind them, though, cars like the Q45, LS400, and Legend had a much easier path to American showroom success than Mazda's 929 and Mitsubishi's Diamante... and this is why I can't help but love the big Mitsu. Poor forgotten flagship, with its front-drive V6 and goofy '63 Pontiac-influenced grille! I've owned a 929 and thought it was a very nice car, but it really took the sight of an ill-handling, lime-green Diamante plowing dirt at the '10 Southern Discomfort 24 Hours of LeMons to make me say Yes! I must get me one of these cars! I've decided my next daily driver will be a 1990s Japanese luxury sedan, and at the moment the Diamante is at the top of my shopping list.

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Comments (2)
  1. The Diamante was off the mark, but I admit that I was quite tempted by the Galant VR-4, which featured a manual-driven 2.0L turbo and all-wheel drive under its Camry-like body. It was a plausible sleeper or Q-car as they say in England.
     
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  2. Stay away from this car. The valve guides in the 3.0 L V6 were worn out by 50000 miles and just about every one of them smokes worse than any diesel you've seen. The same engine went into the Chrysler minvans of those years. Ask any owner about how bad they burn oil and Chysler did NOTHING for US!
     
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