While we Curbivores prefer our classic cars to be of the curbside variety, some cars are so rare that they can only be seen at a car show, which is why the Car Show Classic category was created. Case in point: The featured car I spotted at a recent show is one of the last unmolested first-generation Mitsubishi Eclipses. While you can still see plenty of these cars prowling the streets, you are highly unlikely to see on the street this original and pristine.
The first generation 1990-94 Mitsubishi Eclipse (along with its Diamond-Star siblings Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser) proved to be exceptionally popular with GenX’ers back in the 90’s. I should know: Being of Generation X myself, I seriously considered getting one back in the day. These cars were also darlings of the motoring press, routinely winning comparison tests and making regular appearances on Car and Driver’s 10-Best List.
The appeal of these cars is easy to understand: slick hatchback styling, hood so low that a blister was required to clear the engine’s timing chain cover, available high-powered DOHC engine as well as (then) exotic options like all wheel drive, turbocharging, and ABS. Couple this with a low starting price of around $11,000, with all but the hottest GSX model stickering for under 20 grand, and you have a recipe for success.
The Diamond-Star triplets were even more prized as used cars: They were highly sought after by the Fast and Furious tuner crowd in the 90’s and 00’s, with easily overboosted turbocharged engines and a healthy supply of aftermarket performance and appearance parts. As a result, many of these cars got used up by owners in search of cheap speed, much like Novas, Camaros, and Firebirds did a generation earlier.
Our featured example is a GS Turbo model, second only to the mighty AWD GSX in the Eclipse lineup. Indeed, the fact that it has a turbocharged engine and five speed manual transmission makes its survival that much more impressive.
What it does have is just over 11,000 miles since new, and the freshest interior I’ve seen in a Diamond-Star car for many years. That mileage, by the way, works out to less than 500 miles per year since it was new.