A 2-door hardtop coupe, Mitsubishi Galant ? (Lambda) remained in production between 1976 and 1984. The vehicle went into exports with several different names in 1978, i.e. in Europe and South America it was marketed as Mitsubishi Sapporo (named after the Japanese city of Sapporo), in North America and Puerto Rico as the Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Sapporo and in Australia as Chrysler Scorpion and Mitsubishi Scorpion in later years. However, in the United Kingdom it was marketed under the Colt brand as Sapporo.
Mitsubishi revived the Sapporo name for their Mitsubishi Galant Sapporo in 1987, though it was separate front-wheel, 4-door sedan.
Mitsubishi described their Lambda released in December 1976 more as a ‘personal luxury vehicle’ than a coupe because of the fact that Mitsubishi already had a Lancer-based Celeste coupe in their listings.
The Lambda was sold in the North American market as the Dodge and Plymouth captive imports under the Chrysler division. Both the versions had some minor differences like taillights, interior trim and exterior colors. However, both the versions were mechanically identical, yet Dodge was there to target the performance market, while the Plymouth was intended to target the luxury market.
Despite of receiving some fair amount of positive reviews, the car failed to do well in the US market. When Sapporo was discontinued in 1983, there came the possibility for Mitsubishi in the form of Mitsubishi-Chrysler newly developed venture, Diamond Star Motors to explore the American market under its own brand name.
Australia imported the Lambda from Japan as a flagship model to popular Sigma range, Chrysler Australia’s successful range of vehicles.
Smaller luxury cars were very popular during the mid-1970s. This was obvious with the popularity of Cadillac Seville. Following this trend, Mitsubishi offered their Lambda. Sapporo with frameless door glass, canopy vinyl roofs, velour interiors. Luxury wheel covers with whitewall tires and other power accessories.
Mitsubishi restyled the car in 1980 as the changes made earlier didn’t work as expected. The company reverted to the most traditional styling like quieter colors, metal roofs, styled steel wheels on blackwalls and less trim. Interior continued to receive some luxurious features.
The other changes brought to the car in the same year were redesigning of the body. Focus was given on ergonomics, aerodynamics and safety. Interior was also made spacious as well as the trunk area to accommodate more luggage.
The Mitsubishi Galant Lambda came with a wide range of engines, i.e. diesel engines, normally aspirated gasoline engines etc. The top GSR models received turbocharged 2.0-L 4G63T engine. Some of the features offered in US market include: air conditioning, cassette player, automatic transmission, cruise control, power door locks, power mirrors, power windows and a moonroof.
The 2.6-L Astron engine offered in many American and Australian models came with Mitsubishi’s new Silent Shaft balance shaft technology. There was also a ‘Jet Valve’ used in the American models which help improving the emissions.
Electronic fuel-injection and a new 2.3-L Astron turbodiesel engine were introduced in the Japanese lineup in early 1980.