Mitsubishi Scorpion GJ/GK/GL

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Mitsubishi Scropion GJ/GK/GL

1981 - 1985
4 cyl.
2550 cc
78 kW @ 5000 rpm
5 spd. man.
Top Speed:
175 km/h
Number Built:
1 star
Mitsubishi Sigma
The Mitsubishi Sigma Scorpion was originally released in 1977, and underwent several model updates and engine changes to keep it at the forefront of the then “under $10,000” coupe market.

The Scorpion was powered by Mitsubishi’s proven 2.6-liter 'Silent Shaft' four cylinder engine, never an motor to set the world on fire but a reliable and tractable unit that offered plenty of torque across the rev range.

But it was on the outside that the Scorpion differed from the run-of-the-mill 4 cylinder also-ran’s of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Best of the lot came with the 1981 GJ model, which featured a wedge-shaped nose and quad rectangular headlights. The front end treatment set it apart from its Sigma cousins, and the sheet metal from the windscreen/doors rearward was only for the Scorpion.

The new model had a revised grille featuring the tri-diamond Mitsubishi logo, while black finished exterior mirrors, new bumper stripes and a distinctive windshield moulding helped the car further distance itself from the Sigma.

But the most important changes occurred inside the Scorpion. The original iteration offered less cabin, head, leg, knee, and shoulder room than the supposedly “lesser” Sigma cousins, and so the engineers set about a complete redesign of the interior, resulting in not only more space, but a much more efficient use of the available room.

This was achieved through the use of smaller front-wheel housings to provide greater front room, while the wheelbase was lengthened to allow the re-designed seats to be moved backward, thus allowing more leg room. A fractionally higher roof line and rear window helped add to the available head room (particularly for rear occupants), while modified door linings helped improve lateral shoulder space.

Even the position of the gear lever and handbrake were modified in an effort to increase driver comfort and control. Air-flow inside the cabin was improved and side window defrost outlets added to the control and end outlets on the dash. The fully carpeted boot was deeper and longer, and the boot lid leveled off, making for an increase of 17 per cent to 350 liters.

Further demonstrating just how far the engineers went with the redesign, even the spare tire was indented into the fuel tank, and to make the available space more useable the wrap-around rear lamp housings were re-designed to minimise their intrusion into the boot space.

Both the front and rear suspension were redesigned to improve handling and road-holding, the changes including a reduced king-pin offset at the front and a redesigned four trailing-link and coil rear suspension. The 2.6-liter engine with its unique counter-revolving balance shafts was the largest four-cylinder motor currently available on the Australian market. It offered good, but not breathtaking, performance, affording a top speed of around 175 km/h and acceleration to 100 km/h taking 13.7 seconds. If driven (very) carefully it could return consumption figures around 10 liters/100 km.

Most important to the 1981 revision was the all-new variable rate power steering that employed a principle pioneered by the European car manufacturers. At parking speeds full assistance was given, but as speed increased the assistance decreased thus retaining precise steering with good road feel. The sophisticated twin-circuit brake system employed a pressure-sensitive load-proportioning valve to ensure that the four-wheel discs worked to maximum effectiveness.

In all, the Scorpion was a good car, but not great car. Interest soon declined in the model, and has never been rekindled by enthusiasts to the extent that the car could be considered either classic or collectable, which is a shame, the Scorpion deserved better.

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