In 1990, the Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors introduced their sports car named Mitsubishi GTO. In many countries the car was sold under the name Mitsubishi 3000GT. In the North American market, the car was marketed under the name Dodge Stealth by Chrysler in 1991. It was marketed in the North American market until 1996 with no major changes. The car got its name from the Galant GTO, a 2-door hardtop coupe produced by the company during 1970s. The Galant GTO took its name from the Ferrari GTO where GTO stands for ‘Gran Turismo Omologato’.
Mitsubishi revealed the Mitsubishi HSR and Mitsubishi HSX at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1989 and received a lot of appreciation. With this encouraging response from the audience, the company took a step further and built a new GTO mechanically advanced 2+2-seater sports coupe so as to give tough time to the then Honda NSX, Mazda RX-7, Nissan 300ZX, Skyline GT-R and Toyota Supra. The company revived the GTO name for this flagship car. Within the Japanese market, the name GTO gained some remarkable popularity, but yet the car was sold under the name Mitsubishi 3000GT outside the Japanese market. The car was assembled at the Mitsubishi plant situated in Nagoya, Japan.
In North America, the car was sold as Dodge Stealth and used as a sports car in the 1991 Indianapolis 500 race. However, the United Auto Works (UAW) disliked the idea of using a Japanese-made car for race, so they replaced the Stealth with the prototype Dodge Viper.
First Generation (1990-1993)
The first generation GTO was launched in 1990 with a number of different Mitsubishi’s up-to-date performance technologies like full time four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, active aerodynamics featuring automatically adjusting front and rear spoilers, sport/tour exhaust modes and electronically controlled suspension (ECS). In addition to this, there were pop-up headlights and obvious ‘caps’ on the hood to house the ECS controllers at the top of the strut turrets.
Second Generation (1994-1996)
The second generation GTO was introduced in 1994 and came with an amended front bumper that could house the projector beam headlights and small, round projector fog lights. Integrated blisters took the place of caps on the hood and the side air vents and rear bumper also received minor modifications. In the interior dual airbags were introduced along with a new audio system and air conditioning refrigerant. The second generation GTO offered with a slight improvement in its torque, i.e. 315 lb-ft (427 Nm) over previous 307 lb-ft (416 Nm). The VR-4 model also received a 6-speed Getrag manual transmission.
Third Generation (1997-2001)
The third generation GTO was introduced in 1997. The SOHC engine previously used in the base model Stealth was now available for the entire Mitsubishi lineup once the Dodge was ceased. The preplanned launch of the 1997 facelift was given up because of the poor sales in the American sports car market. The 1999 model received some exterior modification, such as new front bumper, headlamps, turn signals, sail panels, and a large wing for the 1999 VR-4.