At $16,500, Is This 1987 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R A Deal?


Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Starion comes from the golden age of Japanese performance coupes. Let’s decide if this clean machine still has what it takes.

It’s a good thing I was feeling a bit peckish last Friday since the vote on the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C that came under our gaze proved to be a nail-biter. Most of you lost your appetite at the car’s $115,000 asking price, however, as the naysayers took the day in a narrow 52 percent No Dice loss.

Shakira once told us that Hips Don’t Lie, and when it comes to cars, that’s certainly the case. Consider if you will, the emotive difference between Porsche’s lithe 924 and its hairier chested and, more importantly, fat fendered follow up, the 944. It’s no contest which gives off the vibe of being more muscular, right?

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The same effect occurred when Mitsubishi (remember them?) buffed up the once mundane Starion coupe with its own fat fenders, making for a car that could rival the 944 for the title of most successful glow-up. And, while competing Japanese coupes went for six-cylinder or rotary power, the Starion once again followed the Porsche path of offering a big four-cylinder and then turbocharging it.

For anyone unfamiliar with the result, cast your eyes on this 1987 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R to get caught up. This 98,000-mile, clean title car looks like a fine example of the breed. Speaking of looks, the Starion body is unabashedly a child of the eighties, and its angular (but at .32 Cd, surprisingly aerodynamic) body is almost quaint by today’s standards. The pointy nose and three-part glass back are derivative of pretty much every other sport coupe of the time, from Supra to RX7, with a little of the aforementioned 944 thrown in for good measure.

Image for article titled At $16,500, Should This 1987 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R Get A Gold Star?

Underneath that is a fairly mundane chassis derived from the Galant, but it is provided with all the performance options—upgraded brakes, limited slip diff, etc.—to keep up with the hot turbo four installed under the hood. That engine is a 2.6-liter Astron four, making 176 horsepower and 224 lb-ft of torque by way of its TD05-12A MHI turbocharger. This car mates that with a five-speed stick driving the rear wheels.

The seller boasts that the car runs and drives without issue and claims it has long been garage-kept. The bodywork, in Eighties gold and wearing factory alloys, appears in the pictures to be in amazing condition. One neat little feature on these is the bump on the rear spoiler extender that accommodates the radio antenna on the driver’s side. That’s a wonderfully goofy detail.

Image for article titled At $16,500, Should This 1987 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R Get A Gold Star?

The cabin is also a blast from the past, with a severely angular dash and a multitude of silver and orange icon buttons potentially causing an overload of Eighties nostalgia. Despite the time-warp styling, it all looks serviceable, although the driver’s side mousebelt seems to have been removed for some reason. The back seats, which are so small and hard to reach that you might expect to find someone back there rubbing the lotion on its skin, appear to be totally unused.

Image for article titled At $16,500, Should This 1987 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R Get A Gold Star?

Coming across Starions in this nice of condition is becoming an ever rarer occurrence. Considering the dearth of parts available for bodywork, glass, and the like, anyone interested in owning one should naturally seek the best example they can find. This one appears to be one of the best. Could that make it worth its $16,500 asking? That, after all, could buy a Porsche 944 in similar shape, albeit not a turbo edition.

Image for article titled At $16,500, Should This 1987 Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R Get A Gold Star?

What do you think? Does that $16,500 price make you all Starion-eyed? Or is that just too much for this Mitsu?

You decide!

Phoenix, Arizona, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don R. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at remslie@kinja.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.



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