Plumbed for Plumbum: 1985 Mitsubishi Cordia GSR

Mitsubishi was probably at its peak during the 1980s after it bought out Chrysler Australia in 1980. Their Sigma sedan was a popular family car, the Colt an equally popular hatchback, and the Pajero sold well too. In 1983 they added a new model to the range; the Cordia. Unlike much of the range, not many people noticed it, and it remains overshadowed by its bigger brother, the Starion. It deserves to be noticed however, it was the precursor to the successful Eclipse line (which was never sold in Australia), making it a lot more important than its popularity might suggest. Find this 1985 Mitsubishi Cordia GSR for sale in Wetherill Park, NSW for $5,500 AUD ($4,100 USD at the time of writing) via gumtree.

This one is the top specification GSR model. A recogniseable moniker for Evo fans, the GSR had a turbocharger added to its 1.8L four cylinder to raise power to 147hp. This one still runs on leaded petrol, which is surprisingly the more desirable model. Unleaded was mandated in Australia for 1986 models, and the GSR’s power was reduced to 121hp, due to a smaller turbo and less boost.

Today’s example is stock, and looks like it just came out of the factory. Lustrous red paint adorns the ’80s bodywork, as well as tell-tale Turbo graphics on the flank of the car. Stylistically, it is almost a perfect expression of 1980s coupes, which still looks sleek (albeit, dated) today. It’s also got historic plates, which are depressing if you think about them too much.

The Cordia was originally designed as an economy car, and followed the trend of adding a sports model to increase popularity. Sure, it probably didn’t work so well for Mitsubishi, now that this car has been assigned to obscurity. Some of these Cordias were sold with the 2×4 Super Shift manual, which was essentially a 4-speed manual with a 2 speed axle. This example has a traditional 5-speed manual however. 

In the US, the Cordia was one of the first Mitsubishis to be sold as Mitsubishis, instead of Chryslers and Plymouths, along with the Starion, and the even rarer Tredia – a sedan version of the Cordia. The Tredia could also be optioned with the turbo engine, and the Super Shift gearbox, making it perhaps the single strangest sedan of the 1980s.

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Michael is a teenager who’s been obsessed with cars since he was able to talk, but has no ability in mechanics whatsoever. His daily driver is a manual transmission Nissan Maxima – the Australian Infiniti I30.