OK, I’m going to run out a couple reviews here over the next day or so, just so you can see what they look like. Week One still runs through the 27th, so if you see your car pop up… congrats! You can’t submit another until after then.
This first review will also show you that you can score points in more than one category.
1983-1988 Mitsushita Kuruan G-Lusso
A venerable nameplate, the 1983 redesign of the Kuruan is the focus of our attention in today’s blog.
The Kuruan’s history dates back to 1956. Aimed at the growing high-end vehicle market during Japan’s post-war economic recovery and boom, Mitsushita found many buyers looking for a comfortable and prestigious car. While enjoying strong sales numbers at home, Mitsushita didn’t quite have the same success abroad. Still, small export markets emerged for the Japanese automaker and their luxury model, particularly the US in the mid 1970’s.
The 83-88 Kuruan was, in its home market, a full-size luxury car. In America, it was an intermediate, though still quite lavish in its appointments, particularly in top-trim G-Lusso.
Full four-wheel disc brakes were still a novelty at the time, but were found on this trim, along with automatic climate control and lighting, and power adjusted, wool-upholstered seating.
The 4J-SS25T straight-6, twin-cam motor under the hood cranked out an impressive 230 horsepower using newly-available mid-grade Unleaded fuel, pressed through a limited-slip rear via a 5-speed manual transmission. Many Americans, having just gotten used to Unleaded in general, weren’t familiar with the need for a higher grade, and early G-Lussos gained a reputation for pinging and premature failure. This did not help Mitsushita’s image in those days, particularly as economic conditions in the 80’s weren’t conducive to forcing people to pay extra for proper fuel.
In retrospect, and with greater appreciation for the quantum leap forward that Mitsushita was attempting to present, we can now see the full glory of the Kuruan G-Lusso. And while a few people still hold on to their aging luxury cars, showing them off with quirky pride, they are now mostly sought out for motorsports purposes. Because of their factory lean-burning tune and advances in fuel mapping technology, it’s pretty easy to get one to put out 31 more horses with simply swapping out the wastegate, adding an intake and exhaust kit, and changing the fuel tune to be a bit richer. A task that can be accomplished in one afternoon with some basic tools, a laptop, and a hacked ECU. Throw on a set of 215/55/16 Z-rated sport tires (Which, incidentally, fit on the stock rims with zero clearance problems), and you’ve got yourself an instant rabid beast.
Because of the great tuning potential, transmission, and top-end performance capability, Kuruan G-Lussos are actually pretty highly sought after for those running retro classes in club racing, usually at top-notch road courses like Watkins Glen or Mid-Ohio. There are also growing numbers who use this model in the ever-growing sport of drifting.
Whatever your fancy, the 83-88 Mitsushita Kuruan G-Lusso represents the confluence of luxury and sport, and we are richer for having them reach our shores, even as unappreciated as they were at the time.
Mainstream - Retro Motorsport: High (Currently 1st place)
Mainstream - Drift: Low (Currently 1st place)