Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - 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?