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Junkyard Gem: 1999 Mitsubishi Galant GTZ

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The Mitsubishi Galant first appeared on American streets as the 1971 Dodge Colt and then a bit later with Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Sapporo badges. Mitsubishi Motors finally began selling Galants from its own U.S. showrooms for the 1985 model year, and Galant sales continued here through four more generations before getting the axe in 2012. We saw some interesting and/or quick Galants along the way, including the Sigma, VR-4, GS-X and Ralliart; today’s Junkyard Gem is a rare example of the sporty eighth-generation Galant GTZ sedan, found in a North Carolina self-service wrecking yard recently.

The final year for the hot-rod all-wheel-drive VR-4 and GS-X Galants in the United States was 1992. By 1998, there were just three levels of new Galant here, all with 141-horse four-cylinder engines driving the front wheels.

Then the 1999 model year arrived, and so did the 6G72 V6 engine under Galant hoods.

This SOHC (yet still 24-valve) engine was rated at 161 horsepower and 205 pound-feet. It was available in the U.S.-market ES-V6, GTZ-V6 and LS-V6 Galants for the ’99.

The GTZ was sporty-looking, but not as loaded with luxury features as the LS.

1999 was the first model year for the eighth-generation Galant in North America, and it had finally become big and powerful enough to be considered a genuine rival for the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord (both of which had been available with V6 power for quite a few years).

The 1999 Galant got a grille that resembled the one on its upscale Diamante big brother, which had five years to live at the time.

The MSRP for this car was $24,300, which comes to about $46,374 in 2024 dollars. The base 1999 Galant DE started at just $16,999, or $32,441 in today’s money.

Those prices were in the ballpark with the Galant’s Camry and Accord rivals; the Camry LE V6 with automatic started at $22,748 ($43,412 now) with automatic transmission, while the Accord LX V6 with automatic was $21,700 ($41,412 today). Both those cars had a lot more power than the Mitsubishi, though: 194 horsepower for the Toyota and 200 for the Honda.

The 1999 Galant sold in the United States was not available with a manual transmission, which made the El Cheapo DE trim level a steal compared to the cost of two-pedal base Accords and Camrys. The Galant DE even came with air conditioning at no extra cost.

The factory wing on the GT-Z is serious.

Collectible today? Hardly, but an interesting bit of automotive history.

The 1999 Galant DE really was a good deal for the price.

As always, the JDM advertising was more fun.