When it comes to cars, we expect them to be named to be evocative and suggestive of their missions in life. More than once in a while, though, a model name misses the mark, and this was certainly true for the Dodge Stealth. There was little quiet or covert about its loud styling or performance image. Considering this was banned from being the Indy Pace car in 1991 due to its Mitsubishi origins, the other definition of stealth, describing secretive, dishonest, or cunning behavior or actions, might have been more applicable.
With a 300 horsepower twin-turbo V6, 4 wheel drive, 4 wheel steering, 4 wheel discs (15 inch rear, 16 front with four piston calipers), electronically-controlled suspension, and a sub-five second 0-60 time, the R/T model had the bonafides to do lead leaps at the Brickyard, even if its country of origin was not the USA. One wonders how things would work today, now that a “Camry” has invaded NASCAR. Maybe Lido should have gotten permission to make a special run at the Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, IL, and swiped the 3000GT’s active aero assists along with it.
This is a decidedly tamer post-1994 base model with its projector light front end. Despite the fact that came with a 161-horsepower 3 liter V6 borrowed from the bread and butter minivans to move 3000 pounds around, it still had all the styling gadgetry of its much more impressive brother, which the stylists probably thought would put you in the mood to imagine yourself at the controls of a F-117 Nighthawk.
They even provided a “cockpit inspired” dashboard to help you along that road (my shots did not come out, a shame as the interior on this twenty-year-old example is pristine).
But alas, the rear does look a bit ponderous in this base model, despite the full-width taillights. The effect of having the wide body, suggestive of a supercar like the Honda/Acura NSX, combined with taillights that look like they were pirated from a Dodge Intrepid does not do this car any favors.
The twin-turbo R/T models got a different rear end, but either way, the wide-bodied Stealth was a short-lived car, fading away after 1996, much like the Chrysler-Mitsubishi partnership would ten years later. The car lived on as the Mitsubishi GTO/3000GT until 2001, when it was put to rest. But this Stealth still plies the streets of Memphis, bringing back memories of the Clinton Era when the Pentastar and the Three Diamonds were still entwined in their toxic relationship.
Related reading: 1994 Mitsubishi 3000GT SE
I agree. As attractive as the car is, it’s hardly worthy of the name “Stealth.”
Only seen the Stealth once or twice when I was a London bus driver and a blue one was at the Roehampton terminus.
There were quite a few battered Mitsubishi versions fell into the hands of UK boy racers and were horribly butchered with cheap body kits and big wheels and rubber band tyres but it’s been a long time since I saw one
I used to buy dress shirts from a wholesale mens clothing shop whose owner had one of these, it was an early 1991 or so black on black leather Stealth, non-turbo, manual, he owned it since new, loved it to death, put about 280,000 miles on it, one day, he was pulling into the parking lot and he put a picture window in the block. He looked like the saddest human being on earth staring at the growing puddle of shiny black that was growing under the car. I don’t remember what he got to replace it, he had great deals on monogrammed tailored shirts….
He broke a connecting rod and windowed the block just pulling into the parking lot?
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but it must have been while coming down the street, I don’t know what he did, he was middle aged guy and seemed like a careful driver, he looked like Gabe Kaplan from Welcome Back Kotter…..I guess it was just, “its time”.
I remember him pulling up and the car making a massive racket.
Where was this? I ask because I work two doors down from what used to be a clothier whose owner owned a Stealth. It sounds like the kind of thing that would happen to Don.
Miami. I don’t remember his name being Don though, it’s been like 12 years since.
I always thought the Stealth R/T was a cool car, especially for its day, despite the Mitubishi origins. There was a dearth of real performance cars at the time this came out, especially performance Mopars. The Stealth isn’t a car I would want to own, but I’d sure like to take to take one for a spin.
A friend of my dad’s actually has a Stealth R/T with a stick, but it’s apparently been parked in his garage for quite awhile. It developed an engine problem, likely electrical, and he’s never found anybody that could successfully diagnose and fix it.
The Mitsubishi is like being with a beautiful woman on a sunset beach in Bali. You never forget it. I have #8 of the VR4s and several of the remarkable SLs. Way undervalued today and a blast to own and drive. I am not dead yet:)
Jana, I see we have the same trademark– the bicycle in the corner of the shot. As for the car itself, you make a good point about the name. It should have been called the Mitsubishi LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! That Dodge Stealth is not a stealth Dodge. In fact, they dodged stealth by making it very obvious and noticable…
These were loosely related to the sixth-gen Galant chassis, correct? That means that platform wound up stretched and shrunken accordingly to fit the needs of the Eclipse/Talon/Laser, the Galant, the Diamante and this, its perhaps most overextended permutation.
Makes you wonder why if Dodge got the 2000 GTX in Canada why we only got the Stealth in the US.
I can remember running across the fact that it was based off the Galant doing the research, but couldn’t go back and find it again.
I think it’s somewhat of a loose association, anyway. After all, when you wind up with a different, much larger engine and a curb weight up by several hundred pounds, you’re dealing with a very different car. I’m sure the engineers at Mitsu knew a transverse FWD wasn’t ideal for this kind of car and adapted the Galant platform accordingly. And while it wasn’t that great in this guise, it worked rather well in a lighter form with the 4G63.
Well, the engine was essentially the transverse Mitsubishi 3.0 V-6, which wasn’t offered in the Galant of that generation (it was in the next, though), but was used in the contemporary Diamante. I suppose you could argue that the Eclipse/Talon/Laser were cut-down Galant coupes and the GTO/3000GT/Stealth was a cut-down, wide-body Diamante coupe. In fact, the JDM Diamante was available with AWD, so the comparison isn’t quite as out there as it might sound.
The platform was pretty seriously compromised for supercar duty, which is why I assume they threw so much high-tech stuff at it that they could have debuted it at Toy Fair instead of on the auto show circuit.
When Mitsu OZ tried to make a 4WD Magna they had to use the JDM Galant 4WD floorpan.
I remember how annoyed I was when Mitsubishi brought out the AWD Magna and Verada (Diamante to you) a few years after we bought our Verada. I wish it had been available when we bought ours! They were never common cars though: I suspect most buyers couldn’t see the benefit in our climate.
Yeah — the 3000GT/GTO was essentially a successor to the Starion, which was based on an earlier Galant. Viewed in that light, these cars suddenly make a little more sense, I think.
When these came out, it was easy enough to spot the Viper design cues in the front grill/air dam area, instrument panel and rear end styling. Just don’t recall seeing many on the road back in their heyday. Seemed overly complicated compared to the tried and true Mustang, Camaro and Firebird competition. Nice try, though.
I had a friend in colllege who had the 3000GT version. Had everything but the 4 wheel steering I believe. I transferred to a different school a year or so after he got it, so I don’t know about the long term reliability of it, but it was a pretty sweet car. I always thought the Stealth was redundant.
The R/T version is still one of my favorite cars of the 90s, and ironically I was never a super huge fan of the 3000GT(I would argue that in comparison to the Mitsubishi it is more stealthy). Sadly these used to be EVERYWHERE(well, the base models mostly) but they all seem to have disappeared, and it was one of those few cars I didn’t mind seeing too much of. The only things I disliked about them were the super frumpy trim and details on the non-R/Ts, as well as the aforementioned intrepidesque taillights. I also liked the early ones with the pop-up headlights much much more than the projectors with the goofy looking dots.
I Always thought these should have been called the Challenger. The styling fit right in with the 4th generation Camaro and SN95 Mustang of the day, and it’s not like they hadn’t used the name on a Mitsubishi product before. But then again Dodge seemed to be trying their damnedest to bury old nameplates in the 90s so maybe that was their reasoning.
The funny thing with the name Stealth though is that these were used on the short lived, super cheezy TV show Viper, in which Chrysler supplied most of the cars for(making for a very unrealistic society lol) and the bad guys used black Stealths for their heists. I thought this show was awesome when I was a kid but in hindsight I watched it for the cars, not the acting or plot lol
This is the first gray one I can recall. Every one I ever saw seemed to be red or black. But maybe they came in a whole rainbow of colors, and I never noticed them because it was a . . . Stealth.
I knew a guy who bought the 3000 GT (a red one) right after a divorce. I lost track of him after that, don’t know how it fared over the long haul. I have read stories that these tended to break people’s hearts (and wallets).
Lots of these were red or black, there was the occasional very 90’s green too.
Oh yeah, that teal color. I don’t know if that was available on the turbocharged models — I’ve only ever seen it on the cheaper grades. But yes, that color is the ’90s the way a particular hue of orange is late ’70s.
There was a pretty swank pearl white, and then later there was a funky pearl yellow, similar to the never was Pace Car Stealth. There was a bright blue too? I think.
Surprised that no one has brought up that the Stealth RT Twin Turbo was a used as the Bandits car in a Short Lived Bandit TV series(TV movie?? Mini series?)done by Hal Needham around 1993-1994, no doubt the Stealth Twin Turbo could perform, but its just…..wrong, especially since the Trans Am was still around.
I’ve known of two dark green 3000GT’s, but I can’t ever recall seeing a stealth in any sort of green.
A dark metallic green 3000GT just showed up in my neighborhood within the last few weeks and while it doesn’t appear to be a VR4 it immediately jumped near the top of the list of interesting cars in our neighborhood. Really nice looking but then I’m partial to dark metallic green. I haven’t seen any Stealth/3000GTs in probably a decade – I wonder how this one managed to survive and stay on such great condition.
There was a Pearl white with white wheels R/T I occasionally saw around town a few years ago too, I thought that was a nice combo. I think there may have been a dark blue and a dark green metallic available too. Come to think of it actually, I think I’ve actually seen non-red/black Stealths more often than not. 3000GTs are the ones I have NEVER seen in anything but red(I don’t even recall seeing a black one in person)
I don’t know, I think the name is cool for a sports car, and fits this Dodge well. A Toyota Camry certainly is stealthy in nature, but I’d hardly think the name “Stealth” would work on a lifeless 4-door family sedan.
Even if not many bought them, I always liked the Stealth and think its Diamond Star roots hurt its appeal. I’ve actually seen several Stealths in recent weeks. A black one and a bright aqua one.
Ah the one and only Mitsubishi sourced car that has ever caught my eye then and now!
One of the more notable things about the Dodge Stealth is that David Letterman drove one on his commute from his home in Connecticut to NYC. It was the car he was driving when he would be (repeatedly) pulled over by the Connecticut state patrol.
could you elaborate on this? i remember his paul newman volvo “with the puffer” (blown 5.0 Ford) which actually is stealthy. I wonder if he sold the Stealth when the Volvo entered his stable.
These pop up for sale often here in Mitsu guise usually cheap with mechanical issues, they look the part but something tells me its show not go.
I remember that these had an extremely tight engine compartment, like you couldn’t even see the pavement when looking down through the engine bay.
I had a poster of a black Stealth R/T on my bedroom wall for quite a few years in the early 90’s, cool enough to share space with the Lambo Countach, ’57 Chevy, Boss 302 Mustang, and other assorted automotive posters of my childhood. Great-looking cars in their original format (and I still think so today) but the more pedestrian non-turbo models got some questionable details and I think the refresh ruined the look. Never thought the projector lamps suited these or their 3kGT relatives.
I’ve known of a handful of people who have owned the non-turbo cars and they generally were fraught with problems. Can’t imagine the turbo AWD models would have been superior in reliability but perhaps the driving experience made the problems worthwhile?
Well, the critics of that era always ranked these cars toward the back of the pack of the high-tech Japanese GTs (Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo, A80 Toyota Supra, Mazda RX-7). These were sort of the supercars for people who buy based solely on the brochure: Lots and lots of stuff (AWD, viscous coupling center and rear differentials, active aero, active exhaust, adjustable shocks, four-wheel steering, intercooled twin turbos), lots of power, such a deal. The trick was that they weighed almost 400 pound more than an LT1 Corvette and felt it, so they ended up bringing up the rear in most comparison tests and being compared to buying really fancy hiking boots to run a marathon.
I remember that era when all the Japanese sports coupes went all “woweeeeee” with the technology and baloooooooned their price tags in the mid $40K to low $50K and then all promptly died like some sort of ice age came and swept them all away.
They did make some interesting stuff during that time, around 1991 to 1996, these Stealth/3000GT twins, the Twin Turbo 300ZX, Supra(though I was never a fan of the last generation Supras’ styling) RX-7, and at the top of that Parthenon, the NSX. Most of the cars I mentioned didn’t live past 1997, I was surprised that the 3000GT had made it all the way to 1999 after the Stealth was declared DOA in 1996.
Most of those did survive in the home market — barely — for quite a while after they were withdrawn from export markets. I think the 300ZX lasted through 1999, the Supra through 2001, and the RX-7 until about six months before the RX-8 debuted in 2003. Exchange rates killed the export market and the Japanese recession and general collapse of demand for coupes dried up JDM sales, but the companies hung on until they ran into regulatory changes it would have been too expensive to meet.
I forgot to add one to the list, the Subaru SVX!
I know that some lived on in Japan, but they were really intended to go over big here in the US.
Wasn’t the 3.0 V6 in the base Stealth/3000GT different from the “minivan-spec” 3.0L? The cars had a 24-valve head and 20+ more horsepower; maybe the block was the same?
The 3.0 was a derivative of the 6G72 V-6 in various other Mitsubishi and Chrysler products and I think the block was largely the same at least from a tooling standpoint. (I assume at least the turbo versions probably got some beefing up in the bottom end, but I don’t remember the details.) The base Stealth actually had the SOHC engine, which wasn’t offered on the Mitsubishi until 1997. That was pretty similar to the one in other models except that it had a higher compression ratio and a bit more power (161 hp SAE).
Thanks for the info!
Although they were technically four passenger cars, the rear seat of the Stealth and 3000GT was unusable. There was, literally, no room for a rear passenger’s legs back there.
2 + 2 amputees.
With the passenger seat as far forward as it would go, I managed to fit into the back of a 3000GT without having to resort to amputation. However, there was also literally no place for my head. I spent the entire ride with my head cocked sideways against one shoulder, as the glass of the hatch provided no extra headroom. I’m not even that tall (5’10”).
Thankfully the ride was short, else I might have needed the services of a chiropractor!
These are cool looking cars, and I remember thinking they were the shit back in high school when they came out. But what a letdown to find out it was nothing but a Mitsubishi in disguise.
The approach here is totally ass-backwards. Mopars–especially Dodge–rely heavily on loyalists, which in turn tend to be enthusiast minded. The same guys who are into Hemi Chargers, 340 Dusters, AAR Cudas, Roadrunners, etc aren’t exactly the type who go for all the whiz-bang tech. It seems a slap in the face to a Mopar gearhead when your brand doesn’t get to work building performance cars in house, but rather re-badges a car designed by the Japanese. Nothing ‘against’ the Japanese, but lets face it, their appeal is high tech gimmickry on one hand, or appliance like dead reliable cars that are nothing more than transportation devices. This is NOT the stuff that gearheads with American tastes will flock to. Truth is, the Daytona platform was a strong contender. In IROC R/T form with the 2.2 Turbo III with the 16V Lotus heads, it would give the Stealth a serious run for its money, and that’s on fwd only. Mitsu’s awd system was rally proven, so it could’ve easily been adapted to a redesigned ‘Tona which would’ve made for a much more viable contender to Mustang and GM F-bodies. Hell, even the Eagle Talon/Plymouth Laser could do 90% of what the Stealth could for less money and its a much simpler platform that is insanely popular with tuners now. Gen 1 and 2 anyway.
As to the Avenger/Sebring twins….well yet another example of how NOT to field a coupe….
Well, it’s not like Chrysler hadn’t been selling Mitsubishi coupes for more than a decade at that point: the 1978–83 Dodge Challenger, the Conquest TSi that the Stealth replaced, and of course the Talon and Laser, which with the Mitsubishi Eclipse were produced by Mitsubishi and Chrysler’s Diamond Star Motors JV. So, Dodge had been selling rebadged Mitsubishi models alongside the Daytona for quite a while.
I think the transverse front drive layout is a much bigger letdown than it being Mitsubishi based, I got over the latter even as a die hard American Muscle boy, but the transverse layout really had me disheartened. The Laser/Daytona certainly didn’t keep my attention with that layout either, and similarly I quite like their styling as I do the Stealth. But other than that styling and the ability to eek out ridiculous quarter mile times with a tweak of the turbo, the Laser/Daytonas weren’t what I’d call stellar performers, and they are noticeably more flimsy than the 3000/Stealth from a structural standpoint. Not only that, I’d much rather have a Chrysler Conquest/Mitsubishi Starion over the Laser/Daytona twins as well, just from the layout alone, and they look better.
You do make a good point about the Eclipse/Talon though, the sports car market was rapidly shrinking in the 90s yet here’s two classes of sports cars from the same makers? Shocking the expensive overcomplicated car lost.
I could’ve been more clear: No prob with Mitsu building a few coupes on the lower end for Mopar. What I was getting at was this was a high profile car for Dodge. It was a weird car that really had no place in the lineup. Too big, heavy and expensive for the tuner set (Daytona and DSM trio had that covered), too complicated, wonky and Japanese-y for the muscle car set, and not quite posh, roomy or comfy enough to be a personal luxury car. It was more in line with the upper end Japanese sports cars at the time, as was mentioned before…but a bit lacking in the performance area.
A better approach would’ve been the Venom concept which was based off of the LHS and actually looked a bit similar. The LHS already used a north/south engine configuration so going rwd would’ve been a snap, awd would be right there. The Mopar 3.5 V6 in dohc 24v form was about 235 hp normally aspirated, so not far off the maxxed out Stealth. Twin turbo THAT….it would’ve split the market also, but in a good way.
These cars were all about appearance (for the most part) but it was an interesting but flawed attempt to issue a FWD based performance vehicle. Pricing was an issue, as well as reliability for the R/T AWD. Having said that, I still own a ’94 R/T which still draws a lot of attention wherever I go—it’s still a looker.
What a nice ride! I still think these are very handsome cars, FWD notwithstanding. Far better looking than most anything comparable on the market today.
I’m looking at a 94 Stealth. RT TT for $7k. 114,000 miles. Clutch, water pump and timing belt replaced in last 2 yrs. is there anything else I should ask about? The guy has had it for the last 11 yrs. bought it from someone in California. Any advise?
From previous post. Thanks.
The 3 Liter V6 aka the 6G72 such as the one in my 3,300Lbs 95 Voyager has 141 HP (according to the brochure) and it is the Chrysler developed 3.8 Litre that makes about 160 HP.
In 2012 that engine was good for about a 10 second 0-60 time, had really good acceleration from from about 35-80ish, and you could not keep up with traffic if the hill was more than a 30 Degree angle.
The version of the 6G72 in the base Stealth had a different cam and I think a higher compression ratio than the version in the minivans and Chrysler LeBaron and made more power, albeit at higher engine speeds.
Thank you for the info. I have heard of people boosting the power of the 6G72 up to 200-300 HP, but the Internet is full of tall tails so who knows if that is true.
Well, the version of the SOHC engine in the Diamante eventually yielded 175 hp (on premium), so 200 doesn’t seem impossible, although it might entail some sacrifices in low-end torque and general civility and I don’t know how durable it would be. Getting 300 hp doesn’t seem likely without turbocharging, at which point it would probably be simpler to transplant the DOHC version.
The Stealth’s non-turbo V6 made 222HP@6,000rpm / 201lb-ft@4,500rpm and had a 7,000rpm redline. I don’t know the exact changes, but it did have a 10:1 C/R vs. 8.9:1 for the version used in most Chryslers from that era.
I just looked this up because I was curious, and I’m actually kinda surprised they got that much power out of it. Even with all the Stealth’s heft, it still would’ve been a pretty fast car for the time… in a straight line, anyway.
The Stealth offered three engines: a hotter version of the SOHC V-6 for base cars, with 161-164 hp; a normally aspirated DOHC 24-valve version with 222 hp (this was originally the base engine on 3000GTs, which didn’t get the SOHC engine until later); and the twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve with 300 hp. The reason the 222 hp engine made so much more powerful than the identically sized engine in so many minivans was that it had twice as many valves, two cams per bank rather than one, a higher compression ratio, different cam timing, and dual exhaust. The two engines had the same displacement and the same basic block, but otherwise they didn’t have much in common.
Back in 2003 or 2005 I saw a Stealth at the Mopar Nationals in Columbus, OH with a 440 swapped into it. The Mopar fathful seemed to like it much better that way. I remember the owner saying that since it was designed as a FWD car there was plenty of room side to side but some firewall and trans tunnel work was needed.
I’ve always had very mixed feelings about the Stealth/3000GT for all the reasons that have been mentioned. I thought the cockpit-style interior was very sweet and dug all the hi-tech gadgetry that went into them, but the consensus from all the car mags at the time was that none of it really prevented them from feeling like a fat pig. They came off seeming much more oddball personal luxury coupe than the semi-exotic Grand Tourer they were envisioned as.
Even though the differences were fairly subtle, I also greatly preferred the 3000GT’s styling to the Stealth’s.
I think they were also seriously hurt by the fact that the DSM cars were shockingly competent in AWD/turbo form. They carried similar styling themes in and out, but looked a whole lot better, handled a whole lot better and were nearly as fast if you were willing to dump the clutch from 6,000rpms – and all for over a third less than a Stealth! When those cars were still new, before all the electrical gremlins and “crank walk” became common knowledge, and the Fast & Furious crowd sullied their image, they looked like world-beaters.
Nobody has mentioned the really strange placement of the rear wing – what’s that about?
There was only the top level awd/4ws etc 3000GT sold here, as mentioned above they were to heavy for decent performance especially when the curves start.
It was what it was; a sporty car that packed a lot quality(for a 1990’s car) features in it. From the 4 wheel steering to the feel of the cabin to the layout of the cockpit, all were designed to give the driver the best possible driving experience.
That said it had a lot of flaws, it was unreliable and a pain to work on. Service on it was pricy and it was more expensive then a Camaro,Firebird,Mustang type of car.
So not many folks bought the cars in ether Mitsu or Dodge guise and those cars that did get bought suffered neglect from ether the first owner or from a owner that bought it used thinking he/she could have a Asian sports car on the cheap and not do any work to it like a it was a Camry.
There was also a pale yellow/light neon green color that was offered for this car.
I always thought they were aiming for the Camaro & Firebird owners. What almost became the FWD 4th gens. And the Mustang of the same time, which was almost killed off. A premium “sporty” coupe, keeping the Daytona & Starion /Conquest, etc. buyers happy, probably looked better on paper than in the showroom. The styling was similar to the 1988 Lambo Portofino , Had a (semi severe) cab forward look. And had that boomerang on the trunk lid.
These cars were way more expensive than the F-bodies, though. I don’t think they were intended to be in the same class.
Always liked the Stealth and 3000! Nice write-up, Jana.