If you’re searching for a cheap performance car under $1000 dollars its hard to over look the DSM Mitsubishi Eclipse. For those not in the know DSM stands for Diamond Star Motors. Although this profile is for the Eclipse (1990-1994) the Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser were part of the Diamond Star trio and are basically the exact same car with a few different aesthetic touches. These cars are starting to consistently fall into the sub-$1000 dollar price range and have for many years been offering enthusiasts a lot of bang for their buck. These DSM’s are available in several models, but for this profile we will only be focusing on the Turbo cars. (because turbos are fun!)
All-Star Profile Mitsubishi Eclipse (1990-1994):
In 1990 the DSM trio stormed our shores with a car that offered a ton of performance for the money. The Mitsubishi Eclipse was a sports coupe with aggressive styling (love it or hate it) that offered not only the option of a turbocharged four cylinder engine known as the 4G63 but also the ability to combine this with pavement gripping all-wheel drive. The GS-T being the front-wheel drive only turbo version and the GSX offered the all-wheel drive. In the early 90’s before America was used to getting the latest in all-wheel drive rally inspired vehicles like the EVO and WRX the Eclipse really stood on its own in what it could offer.
The 4G63 engine which is still used today in a much more updated Mitsubishi EVO offered 180-195hp and quickly became a tuner favorite. The 4G63 is just one of those engines with an uncanny ability to absorb quite a bit of abuse and fork over a lot of extra horsepower with relatively little upgrades. Simply turning up the boost on these engines (with supporting fuel and ignition upgrades of course) is such an easy way to make giant killing power. For those who want it all the after market offers basically every upgrade under the sun for these cars and usually your budget is the only limiting factor.
Now when it comes to finding your DSM especially one for under $1000 dollars, the choice must be made carefully with several factors in mind. First off these cars are still desirable, but their age is making them become much cheaper. Unfortunately its no real secret that these cars are fun and offer lots of power, which in turn means that you’re going to have some tough luck finding a clean one that hasn’t been beaten on. In fact like most popular tuner cars the modifications done by the previous owner can be a plus or a huge minus.
The 4G63 engine is capable of taking quite a bit of boost and abuse but in general when you combine big turbo power and all-wheel drive in a 15+ year old car it shouldn’t shock you too much if a few things break. Not to say these cars can’t be reliable in fact there are still lots modified and stock examples still running trouble free everywhere, but do not expect one of these to run like a new Camry. Do your research and take the time to find a good example, although most that are under $1000 dollars may still be pretty rough these cars can be great starting points for a tuner project and can still offer a lot of performance and stack up quite well even against the newer cars on the road.