Total Eclipse of My Car

The first car I bought with my own money was a 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS-T, like this one but with less jack stand:

Exactly like this one, but with less jack stand

That car taught me about several things including torque steer, lift throttle oversteer (on I-85 South) and the insurance turbo tax.  When she wasn’t trying to kill me, which wasn’t often, she was a great lady.  The same can be said for many women I have known.

I suspect that most people who owned a GS-T really wanted the GSX.  You see, back in the day when modified Civics roamed the land and neither Mitsubishi or Subaru thought the US market was fit for a proper rally car, Mitsubishi stuffed the engine from the mighty Lancer Evolution into the American made Eclipse and offered it in both FWD (GS-T) and AWD (GSX) guise.  I’m not sure if the AWD system in the Eclipse had anything to do with the AWD system in the Evo, nor did I care.  I just knew that I wanted one.  But did not want to spend $24K.  I would, however, spend $16k for a slightly used GS-T, so that’s what I did.  16 years later I fired up the Autotrader Machine to see what’s going on in the world of GSXes.

DAMN YOU FAST AND FURIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are things that need to be pointed out about the engine in the Eclipse Turbos.  The first of which is it was notoriously hard to kill.  The second is it was notoriously easy to modify.  For a few thousand dollars it was easy to make 400, reliable, horsepower; back when 400 reliable horsepower meant something. The unfortunate side effect of this is that finding an unmolested copy of a turbo Eclipse is like finding something really rare in a place you wouldn’t expect to find it (whore/church, needle/haystack, teeth/hen’s mouth you get the idea).

For ever reasonably tame example like this guy:

Hey, thanks for putting the stock wheels back on.

Hey, thanks for putting the stock wheels back on.

(Who promises that he never ran more than 20 pounds of boost.  Also, never slept with your sister, no, really cross his heart.)

There is the bodykitocalypse (bodykitageddon? holy crap, what is it still the 90s?!?!?!?!?!?) of this guy:

At one point I would have tried to make sweet sweet love to this car.  This fills me with shame

At one point I would have tried to make sweet, sweet love to this car. This fills me with shame

The problem here is two fold. First, when you buy someone else’s modified car you buy someone else’s modified car tastes and work ethic.  I mean, it’s great if they’re a stickler for detail and did everything the right way.  But, what if they’re a 16 year old with rich parents and this is how they’ve spent all of their paper route money?

Secondly, people seem to think that modifying cars actually increases their value.

$24,000?  Crack Pipe

$24,000? Crack Pipe

Yes, I get that you spent a lot of money to make a 10 second DSM, but nobody cares.  You can’t expect people to spend the new price on a15 year old, not particularly desirable car because you let the NOPI catalog hump its leg. This is three to four times what every GSX currently on sale is going for.


I probably will not be buying a second GSX.  Clean examples are too rare and even when I owned my second gen Eclipse the cabin was a tight fit.  Still, if you’re looking for a decent track car for not a whole lot of money you could definitely do worse.