Carrying the distinct honor of being Mitsubishi's longest and best selling car, the Galant has been in production since 1969. It has sold through nine generations throughout its forty-two year history and has continued to stay current through the latest advancements in comfort, fuel economy, reliability and safety. The cumulative sales has exceeded five million sales during its lifespan. The Galant started out as a compact car in 1969 before evolving into a mid-size sedan. Derived from the French word galant, the name means 'chivalrous' and is an apt descriptor for this sporty little sedan, which eventually grew into a larger mid-size car. Originally the production was based only in Japan, but since 2004, some assembly has been done at the former Diamond-Star Motors facility in Normal, Illinois.
The Colt Galant was the name given to the first generation of the car. Debuting in December of 1969, the Colt was produced at a new Mitsubishi Japanese dealership called Galant Shop. In reference to the heavy use of aerodynamics on the silhouette, Mitsubishi called the design 'Dynawedge'. The Galant was created as a competitor to the Mazda Capella, the Toyota Corona and the Nissan Bluebird. At first only a four-door sedan was offered, with a five-door estate and a two-door hardtop variant being added to the lineup in 1970. The hardtop became Mitsubishi's first production passenger car with full side windows and a lack of side pillars. The all new 'Saturn' engine in 1.3 or 1.5 L configurations powered these three models. In September the following year, 1.4 and 1.6 liter versions replaced these configurations, and an even larger 1.7 following in January of 1973.
In 1971 the Galant became Mitsubishi first car to be sold in the U.S. once the Chrysler Corporation, the company's new partner, began to import the model as the Dodge Colt. The Galant was also produced by Chrysler and sold next to the larger Chrysler Valiant models as the Chrysler Valiant Galant. A fastback coupe model, the Galant GTO was introduced in 1970 and ran until 1975. It was reminiscent of the modern American Muscle cars and was offered with a choice of two 'Saturn' engines and the 2-liter Astron 80. The Japanese respected the GTO name so much that it was once again used on the 1990 Mitsubishi GTO coupe.
During this same year the Galant FTO was introduced. A much more compact coupe, the GTO was riding on a chassis shortened by 12 cm. Under the hood was the impressive 4G41 1.4 L engine. The name would also be resurrected once again in the 1990s with the Mitsubishi FTO.
The Mitsubishi brand was introduced to New Zealand with the earlier Colt model in very small numbers. The 1.6L coupe form thought became the first model to truly establish the brand in New Zealand. In 1971 Todd Motors, the newly appointed distributor began selling a small number of Japanese-assembled cars to supplement their mainstream Hunter and Hillman Avenger models. The coupe was assembled first at Todd's Petone factory in New Zealand from 1972 on the Avenger/Hunter line, and eventually at the all- new purpose-built Porirua factory in 1974.
The export of the Galant grew significantly with the second-generation model. Once again Chrysler sold the Galant in numerous forms like the Dodge Colt in the U.S., the Chrysler Valiant Galant, the Chrysler Galant in Australia, the Colt Galant in Europe, and the Plymouth Colt and Plymouth Cricket in Canada.
Todd Motors at Porirua continued to assemble the hardtop 1976 Galant in New Zealand. It now featured a 1,850 cc engine, had much more flowing lines heavily influenced by modern 'coke-bottle' styling. Todd didn't offer the Galant sedan at this point. They were still importing British Avenger and Hunter models and from late 1977 they were planning to assemble the larger Galant Sigma sedan and wagon range. To complement the Saturn configurations was a range of bigger 'Astron' engines that developed up to 125 PS. Utilizing the marque's newly developed 'Silent Shaft' balance shaft technology to reduce sound and vibration was the first Astron 80 engines.
1976 brought with it the third generation of the Mitsubishi Galant, dubbed the Galant Σ (Sigma). Though in various export markets the car was simply referred to as the Galant. The Dodge Colt sold in the U.S. was no longer known as a Galant anymore, it was now a Mitsubishi Lancer. The Galant wagon version was vended with the Dodge Colt label in both the US and Canada. The car was manufactured at Chrysler's Clovelly Park plant in Australia where it was known as the Chrysler Sigma. Following the buyout of Chrysler Australia by Mitsubishi, it gained the name Mitsubishi Sigma. The Austrian version included a 2.6-liter 'Astrong' four instead of the 1.6, 1.85 and two-liter engines commonly found in other export markets.
During this year the Galant GTO was replaced with a new two-door coupe known in Japan as the Galant Λ (Lambda). In the U.S. this coupe was marketed as the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Sapporo from 1978 until 1980. This newest Galant featured the MCA-Jet engine for Japan along with other emissions-controlled markets. This engine incorporated the 'Jet Valve:, which was a secondary intake valve that greatly improved emissions without the need for a brand new redesigned cylinder head.
Mitsubishi in Japan founded a dedicated dealership sales channel to market the Galant and other various vehicles in 1978. In New Zealand Todd Motors originally assembled 1.6GL, 1.85GLX and two-liter GLS sedan models, with the GLS received a five-speed manual transmission as standard with three-speed auto as an option. Unfortunately the earlier models were famous for collapsing atop the passengers' heads due to their conventional rod-suspended headliners developed locally to meet local content rules, and were replaced quickly by new glued-in molded foam lines. Eventually the range was updated to add the wagon, and it deleted the 1.85-liter engine. In 1977 the third generation Galant became the recipient of the Car of the Year award in South Africa.
The fourth generation of the Galant, dubbed the Galant Σ/Eterna Σ, was introduced with a host of innovative features for Mitsubishi. These options included the all-new 'Sirius' engine available in turbocharged form for performance lovers. It featured 145 PS for Japanese market models and 156 PS for the export models not held back by strict emissions standards. The very first Turbodiesel engine available in a Japanese passenger car, an 'Astron' 4D55 was offered for economy models. This generation wasn't typically offered with a naturally aspirated diesel engine. At the 1980 Paris Motor Show the first 2.3 Turbo D was debuted. Some versions of the gasoline Astron engine featured a new electronic fuel injection system. Most export markets marketed the car as a Galant, though Australia dubbed it the Mitsubishi Sigma.
Once again Mitsubishi built an award-winning car and the recipient of the Car of the Year in New Zealand in 1981. Once again the cars were locally assembled with 1.6 and 2-liter engines along with a choice of trim and transmissions. Wagon variations continued to be carried over in the old body style but with a new nose and interior.
Compared to the previous generation models, the sedan and coupe were moderately bigger in size with bigger emphasis given to safety, ergonomics and ergodynamics. The cars gained more leg and shoulder room and more headspace. The trunk also gained more space for luggage room. The inside of the Galant was much quieter thanks to additional carpet features and various acoustic dampening materials and a double-thickness front bulkhead. The wagon model was modified slightly and continued in Australia until 1987 before being replaced by the new Magna.
A few Australian Sigma models were given the Lonsdale badge and exported to the U.K. in 1982 and featured the carried-over 2.0 or 2.6-liter locally made inline-four engine. Unfortunately the Sigma didn't do well in in England and for '82 and '84 it sported Mitsubishi Sigma badges in the UK before the imports were eventually discontinued.
For 1980 the two-door coupe was revamped and continued on sale through 1983. The domestic Japanese market kept the Galant Λ/Eterna Λ label. In Australia the fourth generation of the Galant was better known as the Mitsubishi Scorpion, and as the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Sapporo in the U.S.
In 1983 the fifth generation of the Galant arrived on the scene with the biggest update being the shift to front-wheel drive as a four-door sedan and a hardtop with updated styling. This would be the model that the 1985 Mitsubishi Magna in Australia would mimic. For 1985 Mitsubishi won the Golden Steering Wheel award in Germany for the Galant. It also won Wheels' Car of the Year for the Magna. The Mitsubishi Chariot replaced the station wagon. Utilizing Bosch's ABS system, the Galant became the third Japanese car to implement four-wheel anti-lock brakes.
Export models generally featured engine-specific trim levels. The GL Models were available with 1.8 or 1.6-liter engines, while the GLS models came with 2.0-liter engines. The Diesel versions featured a 1.8-liter Sirius turbodiesel engine.
The Japanese market featured a very similar lineup to the Galant dubbed 'Eterna'. This model featured only very slight differences from the Galant in appearance and equipment. Japanese equipment levels featured more attractive names like Super Saloon, Super Exceed, Super Touring, most luxurious Royal and GSR-X. The Super Exceed sedan and the VR hardtop models were the top models for Japan and were powered by the 200 PS turbocharged and intercooled 'Sirius Dash 3/2 valve' engine. This engine was incredibly economical in operation and would switch between two and three valves per cylinder to combine high top-end power with low-end drivability.
In 1988 the fifth generation was phased out to make room for the all-new sixth generation. In Australia the car continued to be produced as the TM-series Mitsubishi Magna. The hardtop range stayed in production until 1990 when it was replaced by the Sigma. Until December of 1999, Mitsubishi had a taxi-spec sedan that was fitted with a 1.8-liter LPG engine that was used for Japanese commercial use.
Marketed under a variety of names like 'Galant Σ' or 'Eterna Σ' (Sigma) in Japan, 'Sapporo' in Europe, and just plain 'Sigma' in the U.S., the hardtop sedan bodywork was used in export markets. Unlike its Japanese market counterparts, the sedan received a six-window design. Sales in the U.S. started in the fall of 1988 and continued until 1990. These models were offered with a 3-liter V6 or 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in the export. Sharing the same engines with the Mitsubishi Debonair limousine, the Japanese domestic market offered the hardtops with 2-liter fours, or the smaller 2-liter V6 6G71 engine from 1986.
Until 1990, the ultra lush hardtop range was offered as Mitsubishi's most well appointed model in most export markets until the Sigma/Diamante replaced it. In Japan it continued to be sale as the Eterna Sigma following an update in May of 1989. The hardtop was available in Japan after this makeover with a 1.8-liter four at the bottom of range, and the large 3-liter V6 in the top 'Duke' version. The European market Sapporo was introduced at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show with the big 2.4-liter 4G64 'Sirius' four-cylinder that produced 129 PS at 5,000 rpm.
In New Zealand Todd Motors assembled the original 1984 cars with 1.6 and 2-liter engines. The 2-liter engines featured an automatic option and three trim levels. The top-of-the-line SE version came with salmon colored velour upholstery and a variety of electronic gadgets that included a digital dashboard, cruise control, speed-dependent intermittent wipers and automatic climate control with the brand's first factory-fit air conditioner. In 1985 the salmon and brown interior was replaced with a deep red interior. The Galant-based Magna was still available next to the sixth generation Galant in the form of the unique-to-NZ V3000 range in New Zealand, with a 3-liter V6, remaining in production until 1992. This model was developed to give Mitsubishi New Zealand a six-cylinder family car that could hold its own in comparison to the Holden Commodore and the Ford Falcon and had the capability to tow boats and caravans.
The sixth generation of the Galant featured a more rounder, taller styling, though it kept the same platform. This generation was the proud recipient of the Car of the Year Japan award in 1987. In 1989 the GS model became Motor Trend's Import Car of the year. In 1989 this Galant entered into American sales alongside the Sigma.
In 1991 the Galant range experienced a slight facelift that included new grilles and other updates. Mitsubishi Motors Company finished a new assembly facility at Barcelona, Venezuela in 1991, with the Galant being one of the first models produced. Until 1994 the Galant was sold under the ZX, MF, MS and MX names, which distinguished the various levels of transmission and equipment.
With the 1990 model, the Sigma designation faded away. In 1998 a new hardtop liftback models called the Mitsubishi Eterna was introduced. In Japan the Eterna was only sold at a specific retail chain called Car Plaza. In Canada, this generation of the Galant was marketed as the Dodge 200GTX and Eagle 2000GTX. Buyers tended to prefer a traditional sedan in North America, so the five-door liftback version wasn't offered. In 1993 sales ended.
In 1989 a limited edition based on the GTi-16v model was introduced. German tuning company AMG modified the model with mildly uprated engine and a special bodykit, full leather interior and alloy wheels. The 1986 Debonair also received the AMG appearance treatment. New for this generation was the introduction of the VR-4 variant, which became the foundation for Mitsubishi's participation in the 1988-1992 World Rally Championships. Eventually the Galant's 4G62 2-liter DOHC and 4WD transmission were adopted for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution with only minor modifications. It would remain in production for fifteen years. A sporty alternative to the normal Galant range was a similar model to the VR-4, the Mitsubishi Galant Viento and Super Viento. They featured the higher output 1.8i DOHC 4G67 and a 5 speed manual transmission. The model also came with the VR-4 interior, updated bumpers without side skirts, grille design, optional two tone body paint, clear indicator lens covers, air conditioning, rear windscreen wipers, full electrics, spoiler and alloy wheels as standard.
The seventh generation of the Galant was introduced in 1992 and was also called the Mitsubishi Emeraude and the Mitsubishi Eterna. On May 24, 1993 the first seventh generation Galant rolled off the assembly line in Normal, Illinois and U.S. production began. This model was available as a four-door sedan and five-door liftback with the sedan only available in America. Also this year was a Japan-only hardtop derivative called the Emeraude, which was French for Emerald. A slightly modified GS version was introduced in 1994, and was offered with a 160 hp twin cam engine, rear stabilizer bar, speed-sensitive steering, and an available manual transmission. This seventh generation formed the basis of the Proton Perdana.
Suspension design was a big design update for this generation. The front was switched from struts to a multi-link structure that featured two lower arms and one upper arm. At the rear a beam axle was swapped out for a newly designed multi-link system. These designs would carry over to the second generation Eclipse and its sister vehicles. The seventh generation VR-4 became a less obvious sporting vehicle and featured a smoother 2-liter V6 twin turbo instead of the old four-cylinder engine. It kept the four-wheel drive transmission. The Lancer Evolution became Mitsubishi's homologated rally car.
In 1996 the eighth-generation model was debuted with the 1992 design themes, but with the addition of a station wagon and the deletion of the liftback from the lineup. The station wagon was known as the Mitsubishi Legnum in Japan. This model was the proud recipient of the Car of the Year Japan award for 1996-97. The Legnum was for sale only at a specific retail chain called Car Plaza in Japan. This model was also manufactured in Barcelona, Venezuela at the only Mitsubishi plant in Latin America. The Galant was marketed in Venezuela under the MF and MX names in 1997 and 1998 and featured either a manual or INVECS-II semi-automatic transmission. It retained the Galant name until the end of its production in 2006. The equipment options were incredibly sparse, and it did feature the VR-4 appearance package.
During the summer of 1998 the American market Galant was bumped up to the US Environmental Protection Agency's mid-size class. The rear received a stabilizer bar as standard on all but the base DE models while the front suspension switched from double-wishbones to struts. ES, LS and GTZ models were available with a 195 hp V6 engine, the 6G72 3.0 L, joined to a standard 4-speed conventional auto. The European and Asian models didn't have ABS, which was only installed on a 2.0 L model.
Mitsubishi decided to concentrate its energy on developing the technology in its range-topping VR-4, which was now powered by an enlarged 2.5 L V6 twin turbo. The model came with a conventional 5-speed manual or INVECS-II transmission. Some models came with the same advanced active yaw control (AYC) as the Lancer Evolution, which gave it greater agility than normally expected from a large car. The VR-4 could be purchased as either a Galant sedan or as a Legnum station wagon like the rest of the range.
Mitsubishi offered a 2.0 L MIVEC version of the 6A12a high revving naturally aspirated V6 race engine with a sports ECU engine management module, dubbed the 'Galant 2.0A', or alternately as the VR-M in some Asian markets. This engine was also found on Mitsubishi's midsize sports car FTO-GPX. The output was placed at 200hp and 147 lb/ft of torque. The bigger 2.5 L 6A13 was more common worldwide.
The Mitsubishi Aspire was introduced in 1998. It was incredibly similar on the outside to the regular Galant, with the new name denoting the gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine that was newly introduced.
The ninth-generation of the Galant was introduced in April at the 2003 New York International Auto Show for the 2004 model year. Its introduction followed the exhibition of the SSS concept sedan at the North American International Auto Show in 2000. Since October 15, 2003 the U.S. has had the sedan-only ninth-generation PS platform model. Only a few regional markets offered the ninth-generation U.S.-sourced model for sales; namely the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Arabia and Puerto Rico. From 2006 Russia began to source its Galants from the United States. From the 2007 model year the Arabian markets began to source their Galants from the U.S. Until the 2010 and 2009 model years the galant was also available in Canada and Mexico.
The ninth generation Galant grew in size, which resulted in more interior room in addition to a weight gain of several hundred pounds. This weight gain unfortunately lowered fuel economy. The new engine was an upgrade from Mitsubishi's 4G64 design to the newer 4G69 design, which resulted in a horsepower increase from 140 to 160. The four-cylinder engine still kept 2.4 liters in displacement. The V6 engine increased from a 3.0-liter with 190 hp to a 3.8-liter with 235 hp. The rear stabilizer bar was removed, but all North American Galants gained all-wheel disc brakes.
The 2006 Galant underwent some updates that included a standard MP3 jack, an AC adapter and interior upgrades. The following year the model was restyled with yet another interior upgrade and featured an audio system and navigation system. For 2009 the Galant received a four-cylinder Sport Edition. All models received Sportronic automatic transmission with a four-speed for four-cylinder engines and a five-speed for V6 engines.
New for 2007 was a Ralliart version that took the V6 and upgraded it to a class-competitive 258 hp. This model also featured a firmer suspension, rear stabilizer bar, front strut tower bar and eighteen-inch alloy wheels. The Ralliart was the only V6 model left in 2008. In Canada the Galant skipped the 2008 model year, but returned the following year with an updated model. In California, Maine, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts four-cylinder Galant models were certified as Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicles (PZEV), with a rated engine of 155 hp. For 2007 model year this version of the Mitsubishi Galant went on sale in the Middle East region with a 2.4-liter engine and a 3.8-liter engine imported from the U.S.
CEO of Mitsubishi Motors, Osamu Masuko has hinted that this ninth generation would the final generation to be manufactured in North America. It would be replaced on the MMNA production line in Illinois by smaller vehicles that would be popular in export markets. On August 30, 2012 the last Mitsubishi Galant rolled off the factory line.
Mitsubishi assembled a Taiwan-made version of the ninth-generation Galant in December of 2004. It was known as the Mitsubishi Grunder and featured a very unique front end. It featured a 162 PS version of the 2.4 liter MIVEC engine and four-speed automatic and came in either SEi format or as the better-equipped EXi model. This model is also marketed in the Philippines as the Galant 240M, and in the People's Republic of China as the Galant, by Soueast Motor. In Australian and New Zealand markets a localized version called the Mitsubishi 380 was manufactured from 2005 through 2008 which replaced the Magna line. Sources:
By Jessica Donaldson