A LATE ENTRY - MITSUBISHI STARION GROUP B PROTOTYPE
A CAR THAT HAD A PROMISING START, BUT WAS TO BECOME HOPELESSLY OBSOLETE.
The Starion 4WD Group B Prototype was based on Mitsubishi's then-flagship, the Starion coupe. The project was handed over to Andrew Cowan of Ralliart UK. Alan Wilkinson who had previously helped develop the Audi Quattro which just so happened to be Mitsubishi's biggest rival, also joined forces.
The chosen one. Harry.. I meant the Mitsubishi Starion.
Key flaws in the Quattro were identified thanks to Alan's insider knowledge of the German rival. One of the biggest problems with the Audi was its engine placement. The configuration caused the admittedly brilliant, but heavy 5 cylinder power plant to be placed far forward of the front axle causing a rather large amount of under-steer. This is something Audi's are well known for.
So the in an effort to avoid Audi levels of under-steer, a strengthened Pajero transfer case was employed during the 4WD conversion allowing the engine to be placed further back. The pop-up headlights were also binned replaced by reliable fixed headlights. This allowed the nose of the Starion to be chopped, giving room to a larger radiator whilst losing a bit of weight.
An image of the Audi Quattro, taken moments before understeering into the crowd. Some might even call it a Mustang.
The Starion received the “Sirius Dash” version of the legendary 4G63 engine. It featured 3 valves per cylinder head with 2 valves for intake, one constantly in operation and the other electronically controlled coming online after 2500 rpm. The was to provide higher top-end power whilst maintaining low-down torque. The engine ultimately ended up producing around 350 hp and with the weight coming in at around 1050kg, the Starion was force to be reckoned with.
One of the early prototypes won the 1984 Rallye Milles Pistes but it was far from completing development. Suffering from delay after delay, work progressed slowly (it's as if James May was part of Mitsubishi's management). Meanwhile and rather annoyingly, the Peugeot 205 T16 replaced the Quattro as Group B's main rival.
The Starion was expected to pass homologation in 1986, but the Starion received its final and crushing blow, this time in the form of cancellation of Group B. The termination of the Starion 4WD Rally project was inevitable.