Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo | Unique Cars and Parts

8 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo | Unique Cars and Parts
Mitsubishi Cordia

Mitsubishi Cordia

Introduction

When Mitsubishi’s front-wheel-drive 1.8-litre Cordia Turbo hit the market there was plenty of competition in the turbo hot hatch/sedan market. The list of turbocharged cars available, while nowhere near that available today, was for the time pretty impressive. Forced induction cars included the Saab 900. Porsche 930, Peugeot 505 (avec diesel), Nissan EXA. Volvo 760.

Daihatsu Charade. Nissan Pulsar ET, and finally, from their own stable, the wonderful Mitsubishi Starion .

During the early 1980s it seemed that new force-fed performance cars were powering onto the market at an unholy rate, yet not everyone was convinced of the longevity of turbocharging. The motoring industry – and some in the media – were convinced that turbocharging was a fad. Like Tom Watson, IBM chairman, who said in 1958 I think there is a world market for about five computers – there were plenty who believed turbocharging to be a passing phase.

Turbo Naysayers

Some within Mazda – then and now considered a progressive automotive pioneer – thought the turbo would not hold out in the long run. But perhaps this was partly because they were very committed to the Wankel Rotary. The main Mazda protagonist was Yamamoto-san, who joined Mazda in 1973 and began his career in rotary engine development and motor sports.

For the classic car enthusiast, Yamamoto-san is best known for being the genius responsible for the new lease of life given the Wankel rotary, despite the company’s drift towards turbo useage with its RX-7 and 929 models.

Yamamoto said in the early 1980s that supercharging. and not turbocharging. would ultimately prove to be the more effective and more efficient means of eliciting power and performance from small engines. History would find his theory half right – it seems having both is now becoming the best proposition. But in fairness, Yamamoto’s turbo dissention was virtually a lone discordant voice amoung the Japanese manufacturers.

Nissan and Mitsubishi lead the Nippon turbo charge – even though the country then had a 90 km/h maximum speed limit.

In Europe, the swing to turbos was not as dramatic; apart from thoroughbred performance cars such as the Porsche 930, the Audi Quattro and the Lotus Esprit Turbo. most of the European manufacgturers elected to go the overhead cam and multiple valves per cylinder route. Understandably, the Australian motoring public were slow to accept turbocharging.

Reliability problems from some of the earliest turbo iterations was likely the reason – particularly the after-market bolt on jobs which did have a popular period in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Even some factory turbo cars left a bitter taste in the mouth, such as the Audi 200T and the locally-developed Sigma Turbo.

Mitsubishi Cordia

Mercifully the quality, durability and driveability of turboed cars improved out of sight very quickly – and by the time the Cordia Turbo hit the market most problems were well sorted. And not only was the reliablity far improved, some of the performance issues were also well sorted. For example, the lag had almost disappeared, making a turbocharged car as responsive in traffic situations as a normally aspirated one.

In the case of the Cordia, the characteristic low-rev and off-boost indifference evident in so many older turbocharged road cars was replaced by a willingness to get up and run up to and beyond its maximum power point of 6000 rpm.

There was no trace of the too familiar old-fashioned turbo lifelessness. The Cordia was smooth, consistent and lusty. The boost gauge was active virtually from the moment the driver touched the accelerator.

Peak torque didn’t come on until 4000 rpm, however there was still plenty happening far below that figure. With such a quality driving experience, and even though there was a little trepedation with regards to the cars being released in the then-new turbo era, the Cordia Turbo would chalk up many rave reviews, with rare unanimity from the specialist press.

Competition From Within

While the Cordia Turbo had plenty of competition from other manufacturers, as noted above, there was also competition from within its own showroom. The Starion Turbo was a brilliant car – so why Mitsubishi needed another to add to the stable seemed a little strange. But, to clarify the situation, Mitsubishi positioned their turbo coupes poles apart in pricing and positioning with the (1984 pricing) A$23,862 Starion locking horns with the Mazda RX-7.

Toyota Supra. Nissan Z-car and Alfa GTV6 while the (1984 pricing) A$13,500 Cordia took on the likes of the EXA. Renault Fuego. Honda Prelude, and Alfasud Sprint. As you can see, it was not necessarily a case of Mitsubishi Turbo vs.

Mitsubishi Turbo. Rather, it was a case of an upmarket Mitsubishi Turbo Coupe against one set of competition, and a cheaper Mitsubishi Turbo Coupe against another set of competition.

As far as turbocharged cars went back then, many believed, with plenty of justification, that the Mitsubishi Starion was the best bang-for-buck going. The credentials were impressive. It had rear-wheel drive, a 2.0-litre cross-flow OHC engine with Mitsubishi turbo unit – boost pressure 13.5 psi – and IHI ECI fuel injection producing 125 kW. Its power-to-weight ratio was a commendable 10.1 kg/kW.

Upmarket and carrying plenty of luxury gear such as electric windows, air-conditioning. power steering. and leather-faced buckets. Handling was courtesy of independent suspension. and on the outside there was chunky and heavy styling that divided a lot of opinions – you either loved it or hated it.

Mitsubishi Cordia
Mitsubishi Cordia
Mitsubishi Cordia
Mitsubishi Cordia
Mitsubishi Cordia
Mitsubishi Cordia
Mitsubishi Cordia
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