CC Capsule: 1985 Mitsubishi Mighty Max Sport – Unpopular in the Heartland

1986 Mitsubishi Mighty Max Sport c

I just counted. Of the 149 posts I’ve written for Curbside Classic, a full 15% of them are about trucks, or vehicles based on truck platforms. That’s a huge proportion. It’s not that I’m a big truck fan – I just photograph the old vehicles I find. I live in Indiana, you see. Hoosiers have loved trucks since before loving trucks was cool. And starting in the late ‘70s, we started loving compact Japanese trucks. It was not an easy transition for us here in the made-in-‘Murica breadbasket. But these things were just so tidy and practical that we finally couldn’t resist. I think that our slow acceptance of little Japanese trucks eventually made it socially acceptable for us buy Japanese cars. Oh, but listen to me go on. This should be about this Mighty Max.

1986 Mitsubishi Mighty Max Sport a

Because these were uncommon choices. While small Japanese trucks never sold in numbers to rival the F-150 and C-10 back in the day, when you saw one, 90% of the time it was from Datsun or Toyota. Datsuns owned the market at first, but Toyota chipped away at it steadily and finally came to dominance. Meanwhile, Isuzu/Chevy, Mazda/Ford, and Mitsubishi/Dodge/Plymouth duked it out for third place. Together, I’m sure they didn’t sell in numbers that would make whoever was in second place at the moment even break a sweat. (Maybe it was different where you lived. Maybe my memory is faulty; such is the nature of memory. But that’s how I remember it.)

1986 Mitsubishi Mighty Max Sport e

I found this truck parked in front of a Yats where I was meeting a colleague for lunch. I spent the summer unemployed, so I was meeting a lot of colleagues for lunch or coffee or drinks to catch up and see if they knew anybody who is hiring in my field. It’s how I found the gig I started the first of August. I walked out the front door and there sat this old Mighty Max in full CC condition. And by the way, if you’re ever in Indianapolis, find a Yats and have lunch. It’s delicious. And man, this post never really was about this particular truck, was it? Even today, a Mitsubishi truck can’t get a lot of love in Indiana.

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