A throwback to the icon's history : Mitsubishi Eclipse
I didn't know that it was a front wheel drive sportscar.
We all have seen the Mitsubishi Eclipse in the initial stages of Fast and Furious movie series. It was a pretty popular JDM 2-door sportscar which was available in both front wheel drive and all wheel drive options. In the 22 years of life span it went through 4 generations which came to an end in August, 2011. The eclipse was pretty much one of the cutest looking sports-car of its time. I have spent last two days by trying to understand the history of this iconic car and here I’ll try to share what I learned in a very small presentation.
The first generation came in the 1990 where it shared it's platform and some other parts with other vehicles like the Eagle Talon and the Plymouth Laser. Mitsubishi had a partnership with the Chrysler Corporation named Diamond-Star Motors under which they assembled the Eclipse in the US. There were four trims on sale for the First generation of which only one had all wheel drive option, otherwise it was basically a Front wheel drive car. It came with pop up headlights at its initial stage which many people love still now. Unfortunately in the facelift of this generation, pop up headlights were omitted. Customers had options to choose different inline 4 engines like the 1.8 L or 2.0 L NA engines that produced 92 hp and 135 hp respectively and you could also choose between the two different 2.0 L turbocharged engines, able to 180 and 195 hp respectively.
The 2nd generation Eclipse
Now this generation is the most popular model of the Eclipse as it was featured in “The Fast and the Furious” movie which was the first milestone of the movie series. This one was offered with 2.0L and 2.4L NA engines, able to produce 140 and 141 hp and a turbocharged 2.0 L engine that generated 210 hp. The international market Eclipses of this era were not producing much power like the JDM units because of some emission regulations of that time. This model also came as a cabriolet. I think it was the most rounded looking generation of the Eclipse. Maybe it had a bit too much rounded shape, especially the rear looked like a big fat ass which sometimes doesn’t look that great. What do you think?
3rd generation’s story
The 3rd gen was much more aggressive and sportier than its ancestors and had some sharp edge designs combined to its familiar rounded design language. It debuted in the 1999 in the North American International Auto Show. Then it was offered in 3 engine options of which only the 2.4 litre 150 hp engine was an inline four engine and otherwise the other two 3 litre engines were V6s which just wiped out the historical idea of Eclipse being a car with inline 4 engines. These V6s produced 200 and 210 hp respectively. It was also available in convertible models which they called Eclipse Spyder.
The end generation of the Mitsubishi Eclipse came in 2005 and its convertible variant was introduced a year later. The pre-facelift car had a design language that was very much inspired from the 2nd generation Eclipse which I think was a bit over-rounded in shape and that’s why it wasn’t that charming at all (to me). But the facelift of this generation looked amazingly beautiful and appealing to the future. It was by far one of the best looking Eclipses ever made. This generation came with 2 engines one of which was a 2.4 litre inline 4 and the other one was the 3.8 litre V6 and they produced 162 and 265 hp respectively.
The Eclipse name had created a fan-base all over the world but the manufacturer discontinued its production as they have been focusing on the SUV, crossover and the EV segment for the last few years. They stopped the production of most of their performance vehicles later on. There is still an Eclipse on sale but it is a crossover from Mitsubishi, not a sportscar.
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross