Can a turbo-charged engine and four wheel drive ever be a bad thing? No! The goal of any performance car is to produce a lot of power and deliver it to the ground in the most efficient way possible. Using turbo power delivered to all four wheels is a formula that has been successfully applied over that last several decades and is still working magic today (refer to the 2012 Nissan GTR).
Mitsubishi and Dodge partnered together to produce a high end performance car that could run with the very best Grand Touring cars of the 90s. On this quest they did not leave any stone unturned. They employed twin turbo 3.0 liter V6, full time four wheel drive, four wheel steering, electronically controlled suspension, 6 speed manual transmission, and active aerodynamics! This is a list of technologies that would make any 2012 super car proud. The result of all this effort were: the 1991-99 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 and the 1991-1996 Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo. The design originated in Japan and was re-skinned in the form of the Dodge Stealth. The Stealth being a budget minded option to the very luxurious 3000GT.
So far these two technological tour de force vehicles sound very interesting. Can they be considered collectibles? Let’s apply the Desirability + Rarity formula to see how they measure up.
Does this car have style? Other than the objectionably big rear spoiler wings on some of the 3000GT models, the overall design of these two is elegant and has aged well over the last 20 years. However, when compared to the best designs of all time, these two get lost.
How many doors does it have? Yes, once again these cars have two doors and there is a rare hardtop convertible variant of the 3000GT VR-4.
Does this car have power? The initial version of this V6 produced 300 hp, then it was upgraded to 320 hp in 1994. Peak torque arrived at 2500 rpm in both versions of this motor, with the later making 315 ft-lbs. This does not sound like outrageous amount of power, but you have to remember that it’s being delivered via 4 wheels.
Does this car have performance? If these cars have an Achilles heel, then it is their weight. Fully optioned models of the VR-4 coupe are pushing close to 3,800 lbs on the scales and this hurts quarter mile times and cornering performance. Nonetheless, these cars are known to be comfortable high speed machines that are not afraid of adverse weather conditions. Their 0-60 times of 4.8-5.2 sec are competitive even by today’s standards.
Is it fun? If you like Grand Touring cars with luxurious appointments that can eat up the miles with supreme confidence – then yes.
Does it have critical acclaim? Yes. The Dodge was being favorably compared to the Mustang, Camaro and Firebird Dodge Stealth review. And the Mitsubishi was holding its own against the Toyota Supra and others.
The desirability is fairly high, but they do not knock it out of the park.
Looking at the Mitsubishi first – there were a total of 15,539 coupes ever produced and a very exclusive 877 convertible versions. If you are looking for a 320 hp version of the coupe, there were just 4,304 of those.
The Stealth Turbo is even more elusive or “stealthy”! There were a total of 9,651 coupes produced and just 981 higher output versions between 1994 and 1996. It’s not clear why so few Stealth Turbos were built? Chrysler even tried to advertize it via a Bandit TV movie remake of the Smokey and the Bandit. A black Dodge Stealth Turbo seems like a suitable vehicle for any successful bandit or a bandit wannabe. No matter the reason, these cars are rare and this improves their collectibility. Check out the Production numbers reference HERE.
Finding a nice example of either one of these cars for sale now will be very difficult, but not impossible. Very low miles and single owner VR-4 are going at asking prices in the low to mid $20K. Average price of a VR-4 now is twice that of an non-turbo counterpart. And many asking prices are far higher than the already generous book values. The situation is similar with the Stealth Turbo, however on a slightly lower budget. Low miles cars are going at asking prices of low to mid $10K. This points to the fact that these cars are desirable and will continue to be so. If you can find that elusive well preserved car with all the paperwork, then it’s for sure worth a buy.
Andre Smirnov is a Software Engineer by trade and a life-long automotive enthusiast. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.