The last Mitsubishi Galant had a good innings: 2003 to 2012. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of this one until about an hour ago.

2004 Mitsubishi Galant: source
2004 Mitsubishi Galant: source

Like Mendeleev, I had an idea that if there was an eighth generation Mitsubishi Galant there might be a ninth. Call it inductive reasoning. Sure enough, I found one. It’s credited to Olivier Boulay. It has a lot of Ford Mondeo in the glasshouse and the surfacing but the lamps are simply generic. It’s quite a change from the previous models which usually managed neat homogeneity. 

2004 Mitsubishi Galant
2004 Mitsubishi Galant – wikipedia (give them some money, please).

The lamps suggest nobody cared at all. Inoffensive styling is not the same as characterless. There is some research to be done about the point at which styling is sufficient but not noticed. This is below that threshold.

The A-pillar is rather notable: it split by the door shutline which then dives vertically aft of the mirror. That’s a real engineer’s solution but 2 cm short of what is aesthetically acceptable

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

11 thoughts on “Reminders”

  1. There was a time during the 1990s when Mitsubishi seemed to be on the verge of breaking the British market. Rally success, engineering led products and a fulsome lineup made them somewhat akin to a Japanese BMW. Indeed, the Galant of the time was a handsome car with some pokey engines. That seems like such a long time ago now. Mitsubishi crawled out of Japan’s lost decade barely alive and whilst they fared better in the US, Europe was lost to them.

  2. Is this what we might call the DTW effect? I was thinking about the Australian version of this car, the 380, literally five minutes ago.

    Why, yes, I am procrastinating on writing a paper, how did you deduce that?

    Funny you should mention the question of motivation. I was actually at the 380’s press reveal and well recall that the whole thing just had the stench of death around it. You felt sorry for the people charged with working on it – I’m not sure there’s anything they could have done with the budget and engineering limitations imposed from on high that would have changed the outcome (Mitsubishi ultimately shutting up shop in Australia). It must be hard to maintain motivation in such a scenario. It had become the last roll of the dice for Mitsubishi as a local manufacturer because the final-generation Magna, which debuted in 1996 and was generally regarded as a pretty competitive proposition at launch, had been steadily left behind by rivals, leaving Mitsu to discount them heavily to get them off the lots. This was allied to a succession of increasingly ill-advised facelifts that progressively destroyed any integrity the original design might have had. I was never a huge fan of the 1996 Magna when it was new, but it looks like a Giugiaro masterclass compared to what followed (and something of a curio now – hard to believe it’s been 20 years).

    1. I’ve owned a 2004 Magna TL AWD since 2007. Gearbox, transfer case, diff’s and brakes all EVO 6-7 parts… Built tough(er) in Australia, I expect many more years to enjoy the lack of unwanted ‘driving aids’ and revel in it’s incredible grip, comfort (crossed Oz several times) and anonymity! It has now done 210 000Km’s and I’ve only had to replace one seatbelt buckle -clumsy friend cracked the plastic.

      BTW Oz’s 380 was better looking and tougher than the American Galant pictured above (especially the 380GT) But they’d dropped the AWD option so I passed.

  3. This looks like an engineering test mule. It’s just unbelievably crude – and therefore hard to imagine that someone like Olivier Boulay (onto whom the Maybach can be blamed), who has the credentials of a professional stylist, could truly have been ‘in charge’ of the design process.

    This isn’t even a case of stylistic brand suicide à la Peugeot under Gérard Welter, but blunt refusal to work on the styling department’s part.

    1. After reading Peter’s post I had a look at the Australian version. It’s not much better. And if Peter is not entirely deluded (which I doubt) the Mitsubishi managed to have important attributes hidden under a gruesomely coarse exterior. There must be politics behind this design.

    2. Now you mention it, the Maybach’s headlight treatment is remarkably similar. Which means… oh Lord, he meant them to look like that?

  4. The Series 9 does look as though it was drawn by 2 people, working to different briefs. “I want it wedgy and aggressive”/”I want it rounded and organic”.

    “Oh yes, those headlights we tooled up for the next generation Pajero, then rejected – use them!”

  5. Thanks for the mention Richard!
    I do agree that 9th gen styling was not great (Oz had better lights front and rear until the final facelift for US fixed a lot -too late).
    The 8th gen in Oz was the Magna/Verada and was exported to US as the Diamante. This was a far more interesting car (enlarged version of 8th gen Galant in hardtop form -frameless glass) and still has a strong following here (I’m in Queensland)
    I have the last of the Magna’s that was re-imagined by Olivier Boulay (as all Mitsu’s were at the time -polarising). There are many articles that have praised the AWD version of later Magna’s this is what keeps the car interesting for Me. A smooth 3.5 V6 tuned for instant torque, responsive and adaptive 5 speed automatic distributed by an excellent fulltime AWD system (multi viscous diffs) Means 100% grip always and many surprised people at the lights etc.
    Also very refined and smooth ride for My majority mtwy cruising.
    I would struggle to find the above combination of size, power, refinement and grip today in Our market for anything like the AU$14000 I paid when near new. And it wouldn’t be made in/for Australian conditions either. Magna’s are credited for inventing the wide-body midsize class in 1985 and have always been a heavily Australianised version of the Galant.
    There is a very extensive Wikipedia page;

    I would post pic’s but can’t see the option -any suggestions?

    1. Hi Peter,

      The photos will appear automatically as long as it’s a ‘clean’ link (i.e. a direct link to the image – should end with .jpg or similar).

  6. Thanks Stradale, I’ve (hopefully) listed some pic’s or links below;

    Oz 380

    Even a very limited (factory) supercharged 380 good for 240KW;

    The 380 did not sell well (large cars were making way for SUV’s!!)

    But 20 years of Magna’s before these were popular (local car of the year in 1985 and 1996) And first big automotive export from Australia (US, Japan, Middle East)

    TL/TW Magna;

    AWD in Oz Rally;

    TJ RalliArt Magna;

  7. Mitsubishi Motors have been involved in at least three scandals in Japan. The first in 2000 relating to covering up various defects for over 20 years, another in 2004 related to its commercial vehicles, another in 2011 over falsified fuel economy claims and yet another last year about the same topic. These people seem desperate.

    I had a perfectly nice Eclipse AWD turbo in 1990, same guts underneath as the Galant VR-4 of the day. Whumped the original quattro at half the price – I know I tried an ’86 proper Quattro and it wasn’t in the same league, and me an Audi man at the time too puttering around in a Coupe. But by the late nineties the Eclipse was a shadow of its former self. Then this turd of a Galant turned up in the early oughties and that’s about all she wrote. We’ve had the same Lancer for 12 years!

    Fines and loss of face killed the company in my opinion, and their current vehicles are far behind the times. They had to close their US plant, nobody wanted their cars. Good luck to Carlos Ghosn sorting that lot of folks used to speaking out of both sides of their mouths at the same time. Each time they were caught they pledged to do better but decided not to, apparently on purpose.

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