This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Aug 3, 2006
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By JOHN GRAFMAN
On top of a black riser is Dan Sims, General Manager at Mitsubishi R&D of America, bullhorn in hand praising not the brand, but those enthusiastic owners in attendance for the second annual Mitsubishi Owners Day. Dan is a bit bowled over from this outpouring by the core group, which is the epicenter of the brand.
Who can blame anyone for being overwhelmed; at MOD 06 virtually every available spot at the corporate HQ is absorbed by some MOD attendee or other. Approximately 700 Mitsubishi cars covering everything from the Evo to the Starion are spread out in a relatively organized fashion by model. While the actual number of attendees is unclear, a figure of 2,500 to 3,000 would be a good guess. People drove in from considerable distance around the country. While Nevada, a good couple of hundred miles away is a healthy drive, try Texas or Chicago. These are serious Mitsubishi fanatics.
Obviously, the MOD events are getting people excited. But we are not talking average run of the mill car nuts, these are the people that created the sport compact trend that is still influential in style and performance circles. Looking around the crowd it has a feel similar to Hot Import Nights or other related events. As Mitsubishi Motors ages gracefully into its twenty-fifth year I realize that the company is now finally older than many of the typical sport compact buyers here today.
Wrapping around the corporate offices and R&D building in Cerritos are numerous vendors from Yokohama tires, Rockford Fosgate audio, to springs, and Brembo brakes showcasing their latest goodies to improve upon the stock vehicles. Even Mitsubishi got into the act by providing some free parts to some needy people.
Evos, Eclipses, Galants, 3000GTs and Spyders and assorted other models including some of the Chrysler variations of these are on display. Represented are completely unmolested and tweaked to the hilt vehicles, with Lambo doors and chromed engines. I am sure the judges just love this. How do you pick the best Evo among several hundred? Just trying to pick the best one with white paint would be an afternoon long job.
Those who did make the journey got a chance to do what few others get to do, experience fantastic concept models in the light of day and up close. On hand were the Raider concept and the Rally Art version of the new Eclipse. Perhaps one of the most telling vehicles on display is the Mitsubishi i. This little car looks like a not too distant cousin of the Mercedes Benz A Class or the Smart car. The diminutive car makes up with an abundance of style what it lacks in spatial dimensions, from the fun jellybean shaped exterior to the clever materials used in the interior that give a personal electronic device feel to it.
The crÃƒÂ¨me de la crÃƒÂ¨me of the afternoon festivities was the roll out of the Mitsubishi Evo X concept car. This isn't the first time this machine has been shown but it is most likely the first time that those in attendance have been able to see it with their own eyes and definitely the first time anyone has seen it in natural daylight. Cherry red in color, the Evo X gleams in the hazy Saturday sun. The interior and exterior trim pieces in metal, while not too practical for production do create a devastatingly powerful and radical look. The less angular style looks more expensive and, I hate to say it, mature than previous models. Come on, are we talking about the graying of Mitsubishi owners? I don't think so. But, perhaps this is a look into the future for a new wave of design from the company that helped to create an entire genre of enthusiasts.
This might be just the second MOD here at the corporate facility, but I don't think it will be the last.
Find out more at www.mod06.com