American Curbsiders, imagine that all the best-selling cars of the 1980s vanished off of your local roads. Ford Tempos, Chevrolet Cavaliers, Honda Accords, all gone. Now, for some of you in snowier climes, that’s not too hard to imagine. But for those who live in more temperate locales with little (or no) snow and the associated road salt, it’s a bit more difficult to visualize. So consider how peculiar it is to see a once-common car disappear from the roads, only to then unexpectedly see an example years later.
I still see plenty of Australia’s best-selling cars of that decade: the Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore, Ford Laser and Toyota Corona, to name a few. But one consistent Top 10 seller that has vanished almost entirely is the Mitsubishi Sigma.
This wagon is the first Sigma I had seen in years. Maybe I’ll get lucky and the Curbside Classic/Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon will cause me to notice a few more. Or maybe these cars are almost extinct, and soon a Sigma sighting will be only referred to as an “alleged sighting”, like someone who claims to spot a Tasmanian Tiger.
Spotting a Sigma GSR would truly be astonishing. I don’t recall even seeing these when I was a kid.
If I’d spotted a Sigma sedan, I’d probably have most American Curbsiders scratching their heads as it was never offered in North America. The wagon is still a little obscure, but it was offered in North America from 1978 until 1981 as the Dodge Colt Wagon, despite being larger than and unrelated to the other Colts in the stable. The wagon did a much better trade here than in the US, being locally-assembled, well-priced, and popular with families and fleets; the sedan was similarly successful. The final body style on this platform was the coupe, which Australia received as the Sigma Scorpion and North America saw as the Plymouth Sapporo and Dodge Challenger.
The Sapporo/Challenger were gone from North American showrooms after 1983 but lived until 1985 in Australia. The wagon was the last Sigma variant to go, selling alongside the new FWD Magna until that car’s wagon variant was introduced. By 1987 it had been nipped and tucked numerous times – although it never received quite as extensive sheetmetal changes as the sedan – and it was looking rather dated. The revised, raised roof was practical but made these look utterly dorky. Suffice it to say, the Magna Wagon was a breath of fresh air and sold just as well as the popular Sigma.