A Bishi before its time


Imagine cruising down the highway in your Mitsubishi 3000GT at 150 mph, the exhaust roaring, the turbos spooling, and the guy you were racing miles behind you in your rearview mirror, but then your active aero and suspension kick the dust and your left with a 100,000 sports car that can’t function properly. The 3000GT was way too advanced for its time and it really shows, many mechanics couldn’t work on them because of how complicated they were made, many today are left wroting or are in poor condition because its modern features were too advanced for the 1990’s. The Mitsubishi 3000GT came way before its time and inevitably led to its downfall, I can attest to this because of my personal experience staying out late countless nights standing over the engine bay with my 3 best friends trying to resurrect a 1993 cream white 3000GT.

The Mitsubishi 3000GT was a car way before its time. It was also a child of the gentlemen’s agreement. During the 1990s all of the major Japanese car manufacturers, such as Subaru, Nissan, and Toyota, came together and made a pact saying that the cars they produce can’t make over 276 horsepower. They did this because of the fierce competition that came selling these sports cars that would ultimately drive down the prices. Though the agreement was to only make cars that can produce 276 hp this was mostly all on paper, many of the manufacturers continued to make higher and higher horsepower engines but marketed them as 276 max to satisfy the pact. Peter Lyon of Car and Driver explains, “Japanese automakers have all endorsed—at least on paper—a kind of gentlemen’s agreement that limited their advertised horsepower to 276 on domestically produced vehicles. Their primary goal was to avoid a horsepower war in a country where the maximum speed limit is 62 mph.” Because the 3000gt couldn’t go over the limit set by the agreement, it needed something special to stand out against its competitors. Mitsubishi engineers opted to fit the sports car with many futuristic capabilities not seen on my other cars; this includes active aero spoilers on the front and rear of the car, active damping suspension, and all wheel drive. These features, while very intriguing and impactful on the car’s performance, created the second fastest jdm car of the 1990’s. However, it wasn’t very user friendly.

Many mechanics had never worked on technology like this before. With a lack of experience with these new technologies and the impossibility to find the special parts needed for the car, many owners ended up just dumping the car somewhere instead of paying the high maintenance fees they would have needed to pay if they brought it back to the dealer. After 2 more generations of the car, the sales were all but dead. Mitsubishi realized the high expense of adding on these high tech features and removed them during the last generation of the car. With a price higher than the GTs the generation before and the removal of what made the car unique, buyers did not see the value in it anymore. They could just buy a MK4 Supra or a Nissan R34 that ran for the same price and made much more wheel horsepower. In the last year of the 3000GT, the VR4 model was released in an attempt to save the dying car. This included the active aero and a V6 with 2 turbo chargers, but this was too little too late. In 2000, the 3000GT saw its last production year before Mitsubishi cut it from its lineup. It was the second fastest JDM car of the 1990s and a legend in both the foreign and domestic markets. Today it’s a rare occurrence to see a 3000GT on the road, but last summer my close friend Will bought one for $3,000. One week after the purchase and the transmission blew, we decided to make it a project car, but because of how difficult it is to work on and the hard to find parts, we determined it’s just not worth it. Even today the Bishi is before its time.

The 3000GT is an amazing car and a legend in the JDM community, but its downfalls outweighed its greatness. Today these cars are rotted out, have bad paint jobs, don’t run, or are just abandoned. Still, if you are given the opportunity to see one of these amazing pieces of machinery on the road, take a second to observe and have thanks, because you’ll probably never see one again.