Mitsubishi Starion Owners Club U.K. Colin Blower Page

24 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Mitsubishi Starion Owners Club U.K. Colin Blower Page
Mitsubishi Starion

Lurking in Essex was the most serious challenger to the four-wheel-drive supercars that were dominating world championship rallying in 1984.

It’s not a Ford — though it was under development just a few miles from the former World Champion’s lair.

It is, of course, a four-wheel-drive, 350 horsepower version of the Mitsubishi Starion, being developed for group B international competition by a team including Alan Wilkinson — an engineer whose rallying credentials are second to none. He came to Team RALLIART via Ford’s competition department, Toyota Team Europe and Audi Sport UK, where he was responsible for their very successful Quattro. With permanent four-wheel-drive and a 2-litre turbocharged engine, the Starion Rally is a very far cry from the sort of car Mitsubishi first used with success in international rallies.

That was the diminutive 1 600cc rear-drive Lancer, driven to victories in the 1974 and 1976 East African Safari rallies. The same machine was also driven to five victories on the gruelli ng Southern Cross rally in Australia by marathon master Andrew Cowan , who also won the African Bandama rally in it in 1977 and himself achi eved a third and two fourth places on the Safari rally, in Lancers again.

Despite their successes on these e vents, Mitsubishi had never made a serious assault on world rallying until unveiling the Starion Rally.

Few J apanese companies had done so, in fact, for it was a European orientated sport with complex regulations which were open to a great deal of subtle interpretation by knowledgeable team managers. And with the advent of the Group B supercars, it became a massive commitment in investment and high technology.


The 4WD Starion started its competitive life with a class win on this event — taking the ex-perimental class for non – homolagated cars.. It was the Starion’s potential for the future which was more exciting. The car first appeared at the Tokyo show late 1992.

It is a shortened, lightened version of the rear-drive Starion turbo.

It runs on the same, 96ins wheelbase as the standard car but, overall, it is nearly 6ins shorter because the nose has been chopped back to take a full set of standard headlights in-stead of the normal car’s flip-up type. Th e normal rear-drive of the Starion has been converted into all wheel-drive by the relativly straight forward method of introducing a Pajero transfer box, with uprated I nternals,behind the normal transmision. This takes the drive sideways to a second propshaft that goes forwards to the front wheels: torque is permanently 50 / 50 front/rear.

In the Starion’s favour as well as its weight distribution, the engine can be mounted well back in the car to even up front/rear balance — unlike the Quattro which is restricted by a configuration that has to keep the engi ne right up in the car’s nose, ahead of the gearbox and driveshafts.

Mitsubishi Starion

Getting the weight down to a minimum has been an important objective in the Starion’s design and as a result the car uses carbon-fibre reinforced plastics for the propshafts, sumpguard and lower arms of the all-independent strut and wishbone suspension. Virtually all the exterior body panels are in glass-fibre and plastic, too; bonnet, tailgate, door skins, wings, bumpers and spoilers. The objective- was for the eventual homologated rally car to weigh in at around lOOOkgs — which would make it lighter than an Audi Quattro.

The mechanical specification of the Starion 4WD Rally was very much a large part of Alan Wilkinson’s job, to develop a competition configuration for the car that can then be used for the 20 evolutionary models the company needed to build to gain Group B homologation.

During its early development the Starion used a version of Mitsubishi’s two-litre turbo engine, with intercooler and computer controlled fuel injection system. But the goal was 350bhp using the Sirius Dash engine that Mitsubishi announced at the 1983 Tokyo motor show. This engine features a special three valves per cylinder head with two inlet valves for each cylinder—one operates all the time and the other is electronically controlled to come into operation only over 2500rpm.

It i s said to provi de good top end performance without having to sacrifice power at the lower end of the rev range, and would be coupled with inter-cooled fuel injection and electronic ignition cum engine management to provide that Quattro-rivalling horsepower.

Official Group B homologation of the Starion Rally would have come in time for the team to make its debut in world championship rallying with a two car entry on the 1984 Lombard RAC Rally in November. Unfortunatly, this never happened due to the deaths of several spectators drivers, which resulted in the F.I.A. banning ALL Group B cars from Rally competition.

Very rare footage of the 4wd car in testing. Please wait while this short video clip loads.

Mitsubishi Starion
Mitsubishi Starion
Mitsubishi Starion
Mitsubishi Starion
Mitsubishi Starion
Mitsubishi Starion
Mitsubishi Starion
Mitsubishi Starion
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