Used cars

The Mitsubishi Galant AMG Is An AMG Tuned Mitsubishi

The tuning house that is now synonymous with fast Mercs didn’t always use to work on the three pointed star only. 

Mention the name AMG, and the thought immediately turns to mega-fast Mercs with mega-large V8s and mega-high horsepower. However way back in the early 90s, the three words that is now synonymous with the three pointed star could be found on the boot lid of a car with a three diamond emblem instead. 

Set before a time when AMG became Mercedes’ in-house tuning company in 1999, the German tuning house basically did work for anyone who wanted some German fettling and was willing to pay for it. It just so happened then that Mitsubishi was one of them. Thus back in 80s, a collaboration with the German tuning house and the Japanese auto manufacturer has lead to the development of not one, but two AMG-tuned Mitsubishis. 

The first of the two Mitsubishis have AMG tacked to its name was the Mitsubishi Debonair V 3000 DOHC Royal AMG. Ludicrously long name aside, as far as history is concerned, this Mitsubishi-AMG is not considered to be a true AMG, as the AMG badge on the Debonair was about the extent of the input of the German tuners. 

The anaemic 148 hp front wheel drive 3.0 litre V6 was all Mitsubishi, and so was the super-soft suspension setup. AMG was apparently only responsible for the square-look body kit, alloy wheels, the steering wheel and the all-important AMG badges. 

AMG’s second collaboration with Mitsubishi though yielded far better results, and those results came in the form of the Mitsubishi Galant AMG. 

The Galant AMG was much more than an appearance package like what was offered on the Debonair. Under the hood of this AMG-fied mid-sized Japanese saloon was a tuned 4G63 engine with new pistons, more aggressive camshafts, a high flow exhaust system and a host of other performance tweaks done at the hands of the German tuners. Resulting in a naturally aspirated 2.0 litre inline four that is capable of revving to 8,000 rpm and producing an impressive-for-the-time 168 hp. 

Mated to a five-speed manual and driving solely the front wheels, the Galant AMG was not far off in terms of power compared to 195 hp found in Mitsubishi’s own souped-up attempt at the Galant, the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4. The turbocharged four-wheel drive predecessor to the rally legend of the Lancer Evolution name. 

Speaking of the VR-4, from the outside at least the Galant AMG looks to be similar to the VR-4 thanks to its sporty bodykit with that cheeky rear spoiler. However, with AMG badges littered all over the front grille, front wings and the boot lid, it is not difficult to tell the two apart. 

Apparently was only offered in either dark grey or black, the Galant AMG is very much like most of the AMG Mercs you see on the road today. The body-coloured 15 inch AMG-style rims that came as part of the AMG exterior modifications may seem tiny in today’s standard but was par for the course in the 90s. 

Stepping inside the German-tuned Mitsubishi, one might be hard pressed to distinguish it between a normal Galant. Discounting the AMG steering wheel, the interior of the AMG Galant is pretty much like any other mid-tier Japanese car from the era. That being said, the wood trim was supposedly part of the AMG package to add a dash of luxury to the velour covered interior. 

Sold only for two years beginning in 1989, the Galant AMG was offered in two variants, the Type 1 and Type 2. Aside from a few cosmetic changes from one variant to the next, they were functionally identical, with the Type 1 coming with additional AMG decals on the front and rear bumpers. 

Only 500 of these AMG-tuned Galants were ever produced and all of them were sold exclusively in Japan, which is partly to blame for the obscurity of this JDM unicorn. The more obvious reason why this souped up Galant was relegated to the cult-stardom was probably because of the aforementioned Galant VR-4, which was more powerful, had forced induction and drove all four wheels. 

Thanks to this exclusivity though, used prices of these hover around the $20,000 (RM84,000) mark, if they actually make it to market that is. So, to those who want an AMG but don’t feel like putting up with German car ownership, this piece of German-JDM history might be your kind of thing. Good luck finding one. 


Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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