Box of Lancer
A 22-year-old's obsession with a forgotten classic.
If you clicked on this article to read about a history lesson on the 2nd generation Lancer EX, you'll probably be disappointed. The truth is, I have never driven, been in, or even gotten closer than 10 feet with this metal, box on wheels. As a 22-year-old, I wasn't even born when this Lancer was roaming the streets still fresh and rust-free. As far as facts are concerned, all I know about the car are the following:
- it was produced in 1979-1987
- A170 (?) platform
- and that it was and is cool.
Over the past 2 years, I've developed an unusual love for this, I believe, Japanese classic. Living in the US, I've never actually seen one of these in the flesh. However, while studying in the Philippines, they are more common. While commuting from my University to random places, I would always pass by a brown 'Boxtype' parked on the side of the road. I could tell it had been there for a while as it had built up debris around the base of the tires and windows that had custom sandy rain-print window tint (bars). The car would stay parked in the same spot as I continued to lust over it for 2 years until it was moved because of an on-going road expansion.
My first love would be lost forever.
Photo from autoblog.nl
As a result of seeing that brown classic time and time again, I would occasionally do my research on the car and hop on Facebook marketplace just to see how much they were going for. Depending on how much rust you wanted, prices ranged from 30,000 PHP ($600 USD) to 100,000 PHP (roughly $2,000) for minimal rust. As it turned out, restoration projects for these were pretty common for those who had money to restore them, as they usually required a lot of metal work. For a college student like me, I definitely did not have time to put up with parts-searching and restoring it to its former glory. Therefore, opting for a 150 cc scooter from Honda was the more convenient move.
But what was it that drew me to this car?
Designers nowadays seem to be in a race with who can make the largest and most ridiculous grills, who has the sharpest and most angles, and who has the most glass. And to be honest, I love a lot of the new designs. Some of my most loved and wanted cars are from the years 2017-2019 models, with the exception of the R32 GT-R. I don't necessarily believe cars now are ugly. Recently, the new 'Z' from Nissan has drawn attention for it's controversial grill. As for me, I like it! I think it's weird, hilarious, and definitely does not fit the overall design language of the car. But so what? BMW's new 'kidney' grill is, at the very least, controversial and people will still lease the hell out of them. Lexus has stubbornly stuck with it's 'spindle' grill for years now and people, including me, don't mind.
Photo by: www.carscoops.com
The Boxtype's design is a perfect example of its time period (probably...most likely). Nothing excessive or offensive to the eye, just a clean looking suit. From the classic, squared tail lights and headlights, to the little tiny flare arches, it's a symphony of simplicity and design. Aside from the occasional rally headlamps lamps and the "turbo" badging visible in some parts of the car, you would not get the impression that this was capable of eating up corners in a rally circuit. It doesn't boast about what it can do, but is rather comfortable in hiding it.
credit to the owner
Cars like these deserve more attention. They bring a lot of people back to when they were still young and allows younger audiences, like myself, to appreciate how different car culture was. The modification scene is getting out of control. Many aren't appreciative enough of cars with simple, honest designs. It truly is a lost art that little by little should be and is making it's way back. With the recent releases of "retro" designed vehicles, it is refreshing to see how the community, in large, have accepted them.
Maybe a car like the Boxtype is just what Mitsubishi needs to revamp the brand. Taking a modern spin on a classic silhouette as a last swing at bringing back customers.
Or maybe it's a little too late.