Published on April 26th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Mitsubishi Galant GTO Celebrates Its 50th Birthday
Do you know anyone who owns a running condition unit?
We still remember sometime in the mid 1980s going with like minded friends to watch illegal street racing in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. At the time, the under developed section of Cheras had a nice two laned road that had 3 slight curves and a fast straight before a hard right hand turn which followed with a possible wide ‘u’ turn to come back and do it all over again.
This was where we saw Saturday after Saturday the same Mitsubishi 2-door coupe winning against a slew of Datsun 160J SSS’s and a a few Ford Escorts. This Mitsubishi coupe had lines like the Celica GT 2000 and the nose of the SSS and it was quick, and sleek.
Later we found out that this was a rather rare car for Malaysia, The Galant GTO. Only a handful of cars came into Malaysia and most were bought in by Ipoh mining tycoons as a weekend car and Penang traders who loved its racy looks.
This was also one of the many Mitsubishi’s that was promoted by actor Jackie Chan in his early movies. A favorite gangster car in Hong Kong movies, the GTO was sought after then and also now.
So, why was this Mitsubishi Coupe fast? Well, it came with a rear wheel drive 1995cc 4G32 engine with double overhead camshafts that delivered 123bhp at 6,200rpm and 171Nm of torque at 4,200rpm. It weighed in at only 1016kg and this gave it a 0-100km/h acceleration time of about 10.5 seconds which was plenty in 1970. The top speed was a respectable 200km/h.
Now, some 50 years later, it is very hard to spot one on the road and we are sure there are a few units around the country rotting away in some small town workshop. Its value in the classic car market can go as high as RM50,000 for an original looking unit and as low as RM5,000 for a rust bucket sitting in a village compound.
PRESS RELEASE: Mitsubishi showed the Galant Coupe GTX-1 at the Tokyo Motor Show in the fall of 1969 where it went down an absolute storm. It had a long nose, a short cabin and elegant styling – all developed to make a big splash in the sector for cutting-edge sporty cars.
It launched in November 1970 and was called the Mitsubishi Galant GTO. The long, low bonnet and ducktail rear reduced drag and the GTO-MR performance version was powered by Mitsubishi’s first DOHC (Double Overhead Cam) engine which generated 125 PS. With seven gauges and dials, the instrument panel gave the driver the feeling of sitting in the pilot’s seat of an aircraft. It was one of the most highly regarded cars ever to grace the Japanese Market.
The name GTO stands for Grande Tourismo Omologato (often shortened to GT) which translates as ‘approved grand tourer’. It signifies a performance car, capable of high speed long distance driving.