CC Outtake: 1978-80 Chrysler Scorpion – The Welcome Wagon

Moving to a new neighborhood is always fun. You become acquainted with an unfamiliar pocket of town, learning its shortcuts, discovering its unique architecture and identifying convenient new places to shop and dine. For us enthusiasts, there’s also the promise of finding intriguing new vehicles adjacent our new abode. I only moved a fortnight ago and I’ve already spotted my first neighborhood Curbside Classic.

This is a Chrysler Sigma Scorpion, also known to Australian Curbsiders in later years as the Mitsubishi Scorpion. Elsewhere, it was badged as the Mitsubishi Galant Lambda, Mitsubishi/Plymouth Sapporo and the Dodge Challenger. Based on the rear-wheel-drive Galant (Sigma in Australia), the Scorpion was launched in 1978 wearing Chrysler badges as Chrysler Australia had been building Mitsubishis in their Aussie factory. The Scorpion itself, however, was not locally-assembled and thus carried a further premium over the humble sedan and wagon. When Mitsubishi bought Chrysler’s Tonsley Park and Lonsdale factories in South Australia, the Chrysler nameplate was dropped and the car became the Mitsubishi Scorpion.

This example, with its slightly fussier front and rear fasciae, is a 1978-80 example. The owner has made some modifications but kept the very period rear window louvers and hood ornament. Scorpions are becoming thin on the ground here, although owing to their greater desirability, they now seem to be just as common as the sedan and wagon that were class-leaders in the sales race.

When I was around ten or so, I went for a spin in a brown 1981-85 Scorpion belonging to a member of my extended family. Sitting in the plush, premium cloth passenger seat and looking at the elegantly-styled dash, I knew I was riding in something just a little special. The car hardly seemed sporty, even through my young eyes and even as the driver aggressively changed gears and took corners at speed. But with their gutsy 2.6 Astron four, these had sufficient get-up and go and appealed to buyers who wanted a Mitsubishi – and that badge has always possessed more equity here than in North America – but to those Mitsubishi buyers who wanted something a bit more special than a Sigma sedan. I’m glad I spotted another Scorpion, and I’m delighted it lives in my new neighborhood.

Related Reading:

CC Outtake: 1978-87 Mitsubishi Sigma – Hugely Popular Becomes Hugely Rare

Curbside Classic Capsule: 1981 Dodge Challenger – That Thing Does Got A Hemi

Curbside Classic: 1978 Plymouth Sapporo – Stayin’ Alive

CC Colt Chronicles Part 4: 1978-1981 Dodge Colt Station Wagon (Mitsubishi Galant) – Looking For A Dart Wagon? Or A Hemi Challenger? Let Me Show You These