9 April 2018

More than an old car #63: Mitsubishi Space Wagon


Many of you would be familiar with Mitsubishi--you see it everywhere on cars, buses and trucks. It has come to the point where it is difficult for us to imagine what an old Mitsu is like, partly because you don't see them everywhere. I was aware of this 1988 Mitsubishi Space Wagon GLX via a forum, and imagine my surprise when I saw it face-to-face when I was out for a jog! That is why I still use a phone camera--you wouldn't know what gems you could stumble across!

It all started back in 1917 with the foundation of the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, which was in turn a division of the Mitsubishi zaibatsu [founded in 1870 by Iwasaki Yataro]. The name consists of 2 parts: mitsu meaning three and hishi/later bishi meaning water caltrop/rhombus, which is reflected in the company's logo. It produced Japan's first-ever car, the Mitsubishi Model A. After the war, the parent company was ordered to be split up. Various cars were produced at that time, but Mitsubishi Motors Corporation was officially formed in 1970. It allied with Chrysler up till 1993 to boost sales in Europe and the North American market and experienced much success. Further alliances with other companies helped Mitsubishi maintain a strong market share even until today.

Fun fact: Mitsubishi has a 30-year-long association with Jackie Chan, who has used its vehicles almost exclusively throughout his career! Having watched many of his films since young, I never understood why there were so many Mitsubishis running around until today!

The Mitsubishi Chariot [or also known as the Space Wagon/Nimbus/Expo] in export markets, derived its name from the chariots used in ancient Greek and Roman empires. First produced in 1983, it filled up the market left by the previous Galant station wagon and was available in 5 different engine types. This model here was powered by a 1755cc G37B i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 163 km/h with an acceleration of 12.6 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4295 mm long and weighed 1090 kg. 

Production of the 1st-generation Space Wagon ended in 1991 with 291, 851 made. I believe this is the only one left on our roads as others have already been scrapped. It's commendable how the owner is still willing to keep it despite the age and unreliability of older vehicles. I know it isn't much of a sight to look at, but then again I aim to raise awareness about these oldies, whether fancy or not. I hope you can be lucky enough to spot it!

4 April 2018

More than an old car #62: Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV

Alfa Romeo has been steadily gaining in popularity as it continues to wow people over with its Italian beauty. It is also not as ubiquitous as a Toyota or a Nissan, thereby retaining its somewhat upper-class image. However, this was only possible with the cars that paved the way, such as this 1972 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV.

The AR 105/115 series coupes were a range of cars made between 1963 to 1977. It was designed by Giorgetto Giugario for Bertone, a car styling/coachwork company. The 2000 GTV [GT Veloce (fast in Italian)] had visually pleasing features: a perfect mix of metal, curves, creases and glass, and the protruding horizontal blocks on the grille forming the distinctive heart outline of AR.

The 2000 GTV was introduced in 1971, which replaced the earlier 1750 series. It is easily distinguished by the aforementioned horizontal grille bars with protruding blocks. The quad round headlights will also narrow down your guesses. I admit I was easily confused by AR's naming of its cars and the fact that there were so many models under the 105 series--the body shape looks so identical! Hopefully, this has helped you to clear your confusion and be a better car spotter!
It was powered by a 1962cc AR Twin Cam i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 195 km/h, with an acceleration of 8.7 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4100 mm long and weighed 1040 kg.

Production ended in 1976 with 37,459 2000 GTVs made. I believe there are still a few of them in Singapore, though I don't know the exact number. This specimen has not been out on the road since December last year, as its road tax has yet to be renewed. Hopefully it is not scrapped or something--it will be a pity if it doesn't exist here anymore! It just gives off this classy vibe which still fits perfectly today--I hope you will be able to spot one some day!