Review

1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT/Stealth VR-4

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1999 mitsubishi 3000gt vr-4

Nostalgia is big business, so old movies get remakes and old cars get reunion tours. Mitsubishi was smart and capitalized on the hype by reviving the 3000GT/Stealth VR-4.

The only high-end Japanese sports car to use a front-wheel drive chassis, the VR-4 benefited from a twin turbo iron block that was shared with everything from the New Yorker to the Diamante.

Drivetrain

In the 1990s, Mitsubishi took a gamble on something unique when they launched their 3000GT. The car was a radical departure from their more mainstream Eclipse and Starion models. Its bold looks were backed up with heavy technology including a 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and four-wheel steering.

Mitsubishi made less than 300 of them for 1999, and this one stands out in its eye-catching Caracas Red paint with tan interior. It has a clean title and a reported service history with the seller.

This VR-4 has a pair of upgraded turbochargers that increase the factory power to 320 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque. The engine also features Mitsubishi’s MIVEC variable valve timing system. It was paired to a six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. The VR-4 was the most powerful version of the 3000GT and competed with technological forerunners like the Acura NSX, Toyota Supra, and Dodge Stealth.

The VR-4’s all-wheel drive system and twin turbo V6 give it blistering acceleration, but the car’s hefty weight makes it prone to understeer when pushed hard. Even so, driving it is a joy. Twisting the key and watching the tach rise to the 7,000-rpm redline is an adrenaline rush. The car’s high top speed means you can wring it out on public roads without fear of a visit from the local constabulary.

It’s easy to see why the 3000GT VR-4 has become an icon of Japanese sports cars. With its muscular 320-horsepower twin-turbo V6, all-wheel drive, and awesome ’90s styling, it’s a true sports car. Its a shame Mitsubishi didn’t make more of them.

Nostalgia is a big business in the automotive industry, with old movies getting remade, bands going on reunion tours, and car makers bringing back hallowed nameplates like the NSX and GT-R. But the 3000GT hasn’t had much of a revival, perhaps because Mitsubishi is in deep financial trouble and doesn’t seem interested in making cars that leave a lasting impression. That’s a shame because the VR-4 is a fast, rare, and unique car. It’s a sports car that should have more fans than it does.

Exterior

The VR-4 is the most powerful Mitsubishi 3000GT ever produced and was only built for a few years, so finding one of these rare coupes in good condition is a rare treat. It features a muscular 320 horsepower twin-turbo V6, all-wheel drive, and awesome ’90s styling. The seller reports this specific example has only a few minor modifications and a clean Carfax history.

The Japanese automaker released the 3000GT in 1990 as a 2+2 seating grand touring sports coupe to compete with the likes of the Mazda RX-7, Nissan 300ZX, Acura NSX, and Toyota Supra. It was also sold under Chrysler’s Dodge brand as the Stealth in the United States.

This particular model is a 1995-3000GT SL Spyder that has a retractable hardtop and is finished in eye-catching Caracas Red with tan leather interior. According to the 3000GT/Dodge Stealth VIN database on 3SWiki, this was the last 3000GT VR-4 imported into the United States for the 1999 model year.

With only 287 examples imported, this is a desirable and collectable last-year model. The exterior is in excellent shape with a few scuff marks, but no major damage to report. It is equipped with 18-inch chrome plated alloy wheels, automatic climate control, four-wheel steering, and a Pioneer head unit. The seller has reported some minor modifications to the engine, including an ACT clutch kit and newer head gaskets.

Inside, the tan leather seats are in excellent condition and show minimal wear. The driver’s seat has adjustable bolsters and there are three gauges on the central dash. The steering wheel has a unique layout with radio controls on the bottom and cruise control buttons on top.

Driving a 3000GT is a fun experience. Its grip is prodigious and there’s plenty of power for anyone willing to push it to its limits. The suspension is tuned for handling and the cabin feels incredibly spacious for a sports car. It’s a great car to take to a Sunday show or attack your favorite back road on your own. The seller has a clear title in hand and this rare Japanese sports car could be yours for the right price.

Interior

Whether you’re cruising to a Sunday show or tearing down back roads, this is an amazing car. It might not have the prodigious grip of some modern sports cars, but it’s still a blast to drive. The engine has a nice rumble, and watching the tach swing to its 7,000 rpm red line is always a treat. The steering wheel feels like you’re in a racecar, with a firm, yet never harsh, feel to it. And those 18-inch chrome wheels are a great fit.

The VR-4’s 320-hp twin turbo V6 is quick to respond to your inputs, and the all-wheel drive system gives it a high top speed that’s hard to match. This car is so cool, and it deserves to be treated as such.

If you’re looking for a 90’s icon to restore or just enjoy as-is, this is the car. It’s fast, fun to drive and has a ton of style that will make people turn their heads. It’s also a very comfortable car, so it can be driven daily.

The first generation Mitsubishi 3000GT was built from 1990 to 2000. It was known as the GTO in Japan and the Dodge Stealth in North America. This car is one of the technological forerunners of its time, and it competed with other models such as the Acura NSX and Toyota Supra.

The second generation Mitsubishi 3000GT was introduced in 1997, and it kept the twin-turbo, 320-hp powertrain. This car was a little larger than its predecessor, and it also offered new headlights and a revised front bumper. This car was produced until 2000, and it was a competitor to the Honda S2000 and the Ford Mustang GT.

The third generation Mitsubishi 3000GT was updated for the 1999 model year, and it retained its twin-turbo, 320-hp performance. Its exterior was refreshed with a new front bumper and a rainbow-shaped, combat-style wing. This was the last 3000GT/Dodge Stealth made in the United States, and it was a great way to finish off an iconic model. This example is finished in Glacier White Pearl with a tan leather interior.

Performance

The VR-4 was the flagship of Mitsubishi’s performance lineup in 1990, replacing the Starion as the company’s top-tier sports car. Like rival models from Nissan, Toyota and Honda, it was a big and beautiful GT that packed cutting edge technology. The 3000GT featured a powerful DOHC 24-valve V6 with twin-turbos, all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering. It also had a tunable exhaust and active aerodynamics, which helped it to run quicker than the competition when blasted down a back-road by a skilled driver.

In fact, it was the fastest front-wheel-drive car of its era and a formidable competitor against rear-wheel-drive sports cars. Its 320-horsepower twin-turbo engine was mated to a six-speed manual transmission and had all-wheel drive.

As a result, it could blast from 0 to 60 in 5.80 seconds and reach a top speed of 159 mph. Its EPA-estimated fuel economy was 18 mpg in town and 24 mpg on the highway, which is not bad for such a high-performance car.

While the VR-4 was a capable performer on the track, its great mass tempered its handling abilities in tight corners. Its rear wheels often drifted during hard cornering, and its heavy brakes had a tendency to dive under power at frantic speeds. Despite its shortcomings, the 3000GT remains one of the most compelling Japanese sports cars of its time.

In its later years, the VR-4 saw a couple of facelifts and lost some of its gimmickry. The tunable exhaust was dropped in 1994, ECS was eliminated in 1995 and the active aero bodywork disappeared in 1996. Nevertheless, the VR-4 is still a fun and impressive sports car that looks as cool today as it did when it was new.

While it is not as desirable as a good example of the 1991-96 Dodge Stealth, which is mechanically identical to the VR-4, any unmodified VR-4 is an interesting piece of automotive history that you can enjoy on a Sunday drive or at the local car show. So grab a front passenger seat, crank up the tunes and enjoy this Mitsubishi’s version of the ultimate halo car.

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