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  • - It's possibly the most underrated tuner car

  • of all time!

  • A dark horse that was overshadowed by its much cooler,

  • much more popular, jock brother.

  • Sound familiar Lars?

  • It was born from an unlikely marriage,

  • and fought to put fear in the hearts of muscle cars

  • at drag strips all over the United States.

  • And despite its proven pedigree,

  • and the fact that it helped revolutionize import culture,

  • twice, it's still looked down upon today.

  • This is everything you need to know, to get up to speed,

  • on the Mitsubishi Eclipse.

  • (80's chiptune music)

  • In the 70's and early 80's

  • Chrysler was importing fuel efficient Mitsubishis

  • and rebranding them as Chryslers.

  • In return, Mitsubishi got to grow as a company.

  • But Mitsubishi wanted to sell directly to Americans

  • through their own dealer network.

  • The only problem, was that Japanese brands

  • had a voluntary restriction on how many cars

  • they could bring to the United States.

  • If you want to learn more about this,

  • watch our Integra episode.

  • I'll leave a link in the description.

  • Anyway, Mitsubishi and Chrysler decided that it would be

  • more profitable if Mitsubishi built more models in the US,

  • with help from Chrysler.

  • This partnership was called Diamond Star Motors,

  • or DSM,

  • taking its name from the pointy logos shared by both brands.

  • DSM would build a new factory in Normal, Illinois,

  • and the first car they would build would be a two door,

  • four cylinder coupe.

  • The Eclipse, Eagle Talon and Plymouth Lazer are all

  • pretty much the same car,

  • and I'm just gonna refer to them as the Eclipse.

  • OK, right, they're a little different, but not by much.

  • The Eclipse debuted in 1989 and came in four trim levels.

  • The GST and GSX being the absolute ones to have.

  • Why?

  • Um...I don't know, maybe because they were powered by one

  • of the finest and most durable four cylinder engines ever?

  • The 4G63T.

  • Sound familiar?

  • It's the same turbocharged four cylinder engine that powered

  • the frickin' EVO!

  • (engine backfire sounds)

  • One of my top five favorite cars ever.

  • Do you guys even frickin' know me?

  • The 4G63 is the foundation on which tuners

  • would build the Eclipse into one of the most capable

  • tuner cars of all time.

  • The engine wasn't the only thing the Eclipse and EVO shared.

  • While the GST was front wheel drive,

  • the Eclipse GSX came with all wheel drive.

  • (engine roaring)

  • The same all wheel drive found in the EVO Three.

  • This means that the Eclipse is basically

  • a two door EVO.

  • - (in tandem) Whoa...

  • - So what did most people do with the hyper tunerable,

  • turbocharged two door coupe with tons of grip

  • from all wheel drive, made in the US of A?

  • They took her to the drag strip!

  • (engine roars)

  • Before the two lane blacktop was reserved

  • for American muscle cars with big block engines,

  • and rear tires wider than Jessica's unibrow.

  • But when the Eclipse came onto the scene,

  • racers saw that there could be an alternative.

  • The Eclipse was completely refreshed

  • for the 1995 model year.

  • It had a sleeker body,

  • and the 4G63T now made 210 horsepower.

  • This car was in every racing game you can think of.

  • Ridge Racer, Gran Turismo, the Forza games,

  • and of course, Need for Speed Underground.

  • To the windows, to the wall

  • The American tuner scene can be split

  • into two distinct time periods.

  • And the Eclipse is notable in the fact that

  • it helped set them both off.

  • In the first era, tuning culture was Eclipses, Hondas,

  • and like, four guys with VW's.

  • I knew all of them.

  • There was me,

  • Ross,

  • Cam,

  • and Nick.

  • Ross, I'm sorry we couldn't see each other

  • when I was in New York.

  • But it was the release of one film

  • that opened the floodgates for all Japanese cars,

  • and marked the beginning of a new tuning age.

  • 2011's Fast Track: No Limits.

  • JK, it was The Fast and The Furious.

  • The Fast and The Furious was released on June 22nd, 2001,

  • and almost immediately after,

  • tuning, and the Eclipse, went mainstream.

  • In Paul Walker's very first scene in the series,

  • he's driving a 1995 Eclipse

  • in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

  • This Eclipse in particular was not powered by the 4G63,

  • but a 420A from the Dodge Neon.

  • But none of that mattered,

  • because after The Fast and Furious came out,

  • tuning was the (bleep)!

  • For about 10 years everyone and their mom,

  • my mom in particular,

  • was putting aero-boonie body kits,

  • giant wings and underglow on their cars,

  • and that is 100 percent because of The Fast and Furious.

  • The franchise's effect on the car world has been

  • talked about to death, but something that gets lost

  • in the conversation is the Eclipse's contribution.

  • It helped set off the second wave of the tuning scene.

  • The Eclipse came back in 2004's 2 Fast 2 Furious.

  • ♪ I'm too fast for y'all

  • It wasn't Brian's this time but it was still a hero car

  • with a ton of screen time.

  • The purple one wasn't as cool, I know, but

  • think about it.

  • The Eclipse was there for the genesis

  • and the renaissance of tuning culture,

  • but none of the credit.

  • Why?

  • Because it went out with a whimper, not a bang.

  • (groans)

  • By the time people saw Brian O'Connor's

  • lime green Eclipse in theaters,

  • Mitsubishi had already updated the Eclipse

  • for the 2000 model year.

  • Their partnership with Chrysler had ended so,

  • this Eclipse was no longer a DSM,

  • and the car was beginning to lose its charm.

  • All whee drive, yeah, that's no longer an option.

  • Well, what about the 4G63?

  • Nope.

  • At its most powerful, the third gen Eclipse

  • came with a 210 horsepower V6 engine,

  • which was about the same as the 4G63T,

  • but it wasn't nearly as tunable.

  • The suspension was also set up to be

  • softer and more comfortable.

  • It wasn't as sporty as the first and second gen because

  • it wasn't supposed to be.

  • - That is a bummer.

  • - If you wanted a performance oriented,

  • turbocharged, all wheel drive Mitsubishi,

  • you had to get the EVO

  • which finally came to America in 2003.

  • The Eclipse was updated again in 2006

  • with styling that was inspired by the second generation car,

  • and a new 263 horsepower engine.

  • It had a dedicated following, but that wasn't enough

  • to keep sales from declining ever since its debut year.

  • In its final year of production,

  • Mitsubishi only sold 1,173 Eclipses.

  • But that wasn't the end for the Eclipse.

  • Back in like, 2016 there were rumors

  • that the car would be back.

  • Would Mitsubishi bring back the two door performance coupe

  • to take on the new wave of budget performance cars?

  • The wave that it frickin' started.

  • It started it.

  • And I'll be honest, I was optimistic.

  • I know, I should learn by now, never get your hopes up.

  • - You know I'd take you with me if I could.

  • - My naive thinking was shot down the next year

  • when Mitsubishi confirmed that the new Eclipse would be

  • (screaming and grunting)

  • a crossover SUV.

  • Really?

  • Really Mitsubishi?

  • An SUV?