I was going to do a post about the second-generation Mitsubishi Chariot. Honest, I was. It hasn’t been covered on CC, really – North American readers might know it as the Expo, folks in other parts of the world may have encountered these as the Space Wagon – and I guess it deserves its fifteen minutes of CC fame. But as luck would have it, I found one that had these improbable fender mirrors. And now, that’s literally all I can see on this damn thing.
Lightning quick history, just to get our bearings: these 7-seaters replaced the original Chariot / Space Wagon in May 1991. On the JDM, only the 2-litre Sirius 4-cyl. was available, but tother markets could get smaller variants of it. It was available with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed auto driving only the front wheels or all four. Our feature car is an early-model AWD manual trans MX, i.e. the top of the line.
OK, so on with the main event. What’s the deal with that pair of fat antennae on the front end? Who thought that was a good idea? Not Mitsubishi, most probably. With a sloping hood and a high seating position, devising fender mirrors is a recipe for an aesthetic disaster.
Not much to say about the interior. The best seats are in the back, anyway. And this is too early a model to feature the odd and fun “Chrystal Light Roof Specification” – essentially a slightly domed translucid top – or any of the other cool stuff these could be optioned with (especially the high trim versions) later in the production run, which lasted until 1997.
Perhaps the original owner, disappointed by the lack of optional extras available on his swanky new Chariot, ticked the one box he shouldn’t have – the one that said “gargantuan vertical wing-mounted mirrors.” People did that on occasion well into the 2000s, even though they were no longer mandated by law from 1983 onwards.
But that was usually done on larger saloons. I’ve seen them on the odd Toyota Crown. Or on this Corona I wrote up a while back (above), for instance. Some folks were obviously incapable of letting go of the old-style mirrors. Most taxis still sport them to this day, and certain chauffeur-driven cars (e.g. Toyota Century) kept them well beyond 1983, but the overwhelming majority of standard-issue cars switched to door mirrors and never looked back (har har).
They look slightly off on those cars too, but on the Chariot, they’re just next-level weird. I’m sure the Mitsu Chariot mark 2 will have its proper CC someday. But this particular one will not do. Sorry, Space Wagon, those appendages make you look too alien to be taken seriously.