Eighties Hot Hatch – 1986 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo

So if you’re bought into the idea of a 1980s hatch, but you’re not a hipster looking to make a statement with a diesel Escort, nor do you want a boring mainstream GTI or Civic Si, and you’re not crazy enough to try importing an Alfasud ti. Well, how about a Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo? It’s less complex than a Mazda 323 GTX, and less tinny than a Chevy Sprint Turbo, but you still get that wacky 1980s turbo kick-in-the-pants, perfect for serious wheelspin on those wet Pacific Northwest days. Check out this 1986 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo for sale for $3500 in Hazel Dell, WA.

1986 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo right rear

Black-on-black without any crazy graphics packages keeps it looking pretty subtle and not totally dated, but the angular shape still tells you what period it’s from. The wheels seem period correct, and emulate the Ronal 5-spoke wheels frequently found on Mercedes. Notice the side exhaust, buttoned-down stance, and roll cage – this has been an autocross car in the past, though the seller has most recently used it as a daily commuter. There is some body damage from cones and shopping carts, as the seller says, but it all looks like paintless-dent-removal material.

1986 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo right front

What’s up with the hood? With the rest of the car looking fairly polished in the pictures, this is conspicuous. The air dam looks serious enough, and hopefully feeds air to the brakes or an intercooler. The car has all sorts of competition modifications, and is running a Megasquirt ECU. Maximum boost is 20psi, and there’s water-methanol injection to keep things in check. All the trim looks to be present and in good shape, barring the driver side turn indicator, which the owner says he has.

1986 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo interior

The driver’s seat is said to be torn up, though it looks okay in this shot, there is no carpet or rear bench, and the windshield is cracked. The only concerns the seller mentions are the need for a cross-bar on the roll cage for SCCA certification, and noisy heim joint end links on the sway bars. If it’s run reliably as a daily driver, and has most of the set up for competition use, this could be a great entry point – not too much engine, but plenty of chassis upgrades, leaving lots of room for learning.

1986 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo engine

There’s not much to see of the engine, unfortunately, but what is visible is fairly clean, suggesting an engine that’s had regular attention. Providing parts are still accessible, this could be a fun entry-level way into racing, and you could even drive it to the track and back.


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