In 1964, Mitsubishi Motors launched their 4-door luxury vehicle named the Mitsubishi Debonair. It served as the flagship passenger car for the company in Japanese market. During its 35 years of production, the vehicle went into three generation before it was ceased in 1999. The first two generation models were exclusively used by the senior executives of the Mitsubishi Group and other affiliated companies. As the car is manufactured by the motor vehicle division of Mitsubishi, it was also used by the Mitsubishi senior executive company.
First Generation (1964-1986)
The first generation Debonair was introduced by Mitsubishi in 1964 as a competitor to the Nissan Cedric and Toyota Crown. However, throughout the first generation, the car retained its appearance to large extent. The Debonair shared many of its styling features with the Toyota Century, which was regarded as a senior executive sedan at that time. Minor changes had been made to the first generation model over time which was expressed in Roman numerals from I to IV. The Debonair earned a great reputation in the Japanese domestic market and remained in production for almost 22 years. In 1986, Honda launched their Honda Legend that forced the Mitsubishi to update the appearance of their several traditional models.
The first generation Debonair came with a KE64 1991 cc straight-6 engine equipped with twin carburetors and dual exhausts, generating 105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp) at 5000 rpm with a top speed of 155 km/h (96 mph). In 1970s, a Saturn 6 1991 cc straight-6 was added in the lineup that increased the engine power to 132 PS (97 kW; 130hp) with a top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). The models produced after 1970s came with Astron 2.6-L 4-cylinder engine.
1960s, Mitsubishi introduced the Debonair in European market, but it failed to bring the sales because of the introduction of Fiat 2300 by Fiat during the same period.
Second Generation (1986-1992)
The second generation Debonair was launched by Mitsubishi in 1986 with front-wheel drive platform, one of the best ways to add to the interior space without applying much engineering in a non-performance vehicle. The second generation Debonair powered by Mitsubishi’s V6 engines including the 6G71 2.0-L and the 6G72 3.0-L. in 1987, a relatively smaller supercharged engine was introduced based on the world’s first needle roller rocker arm assembly. The second generation Debonair was also marketed under Hyundai Grandeur name.
Third Generation (1992-1998)
The third generation Debonair was launched in 1992. It was longer and wider than previous generation models. The vehicle was powered by 3.5-L DOHC V6 6G74 engine capable of generating 260 PS (191 kW; 256 hp). Mitsubishi introduced much of its technology in their domestic flagship vehicles like four-wheel steering, four-wheel anti-lock braking system, electronically controlled suspension, and INVECS automatic transmission with traction control.
The production of Debonair was ceased by Mitsubishi in 1999 and replaced it with the Proudia. The new Dignity luxury car produced by Mitsubishi by this time was equipped with the company’s latest V8 engine. Later on, it replaced the Debonair as domestic flagship of Mitsubishi.