Chrysler did reasonably well selling first-generation Mitsubishi Chariots in North America with Dodge/Plymouth Colt Vista badging during the 1980s, and so Mitsubishi Motors decided to take a shot at selling the second-generation Chariots with its own company’s badges when those vehicles went into production in 1991. Those vehicles were known as Mitsubishi Expos here, with sales beginning in the 1992 model year and continuing through 1995. Here’s one of those ultra-rare first-year Expos, found in a Colorado self-service car graveyard recently.
The Chariot line had split into two in its home market by that time, with the regular four-door wagons still called Chariots and a shortened three-door version given the RVR name, which stood for Recreational Vehicle Runner (actually ЯVR, with the Cyrillic first character). In the United States, the Chariot was sold as the Expo Wagon while the ЯVR was dubbed the Expo LRV.
The LRV’s door setup is a bit odd. On the driver’s side, there’s just one door.
On the passenger side, there’s a sliding rear door (with interlock to prevent it from tearing off the fuel-filler door if it’s open). In right-hand-drive markets, Mitsubishi put the slider on the left side while keeping the fuel filler on the right.
Chrysler sold its own versions of the ЯVR, of course. The Eagle version was known as the Summit Wagon.
Dodge and Plymouth dealers sold the ЯVR as the Colt Vista.
Since this is the base-model Expo LRV for 1992, it has the 1.8-liter SOHC 4G93 engine, sending 113 horsepower and 116 pound-feet in the general direction of the front wheels. The all-wheel-drive and Sport versions got a 2.4-liter 4G64 rated at 136 horsepower and 145 pound-feet.
The emissions sticker tells us that this car was sold new in California. It was built in Aichi Prefecture, Japan.
This one has the optional four-speed automatic, which cost $670 extra (about $1,460 in 2023 dollars).
Not even 100,000 miles passed beneath this Expo’s wheels during its 31-year career. Why is it in this place, then?
Here’s the reason: a crash that mangled the left front suspension.
The ignition key dangles from the kind of lanyard used by car auctions, so we can assume this car got totaled instantly by the insurance company and had no chance of being sold to any customer other than a junkyard.
The MSRP for this car was $11,537, or about $25,132 today. The Eagle Summit Wagon and Colt Vista were priced similarly.
In its homeland, this car got ads featuring Bugs Bunny and a crypto-reggae soundtrack.
In the United States, Mitsubishi pitched the Expo and Expo LRV as “sport wagons,” and included some of the worst rapping in human history.
Yes, this commercial came out at about the same time as Cypress Hill’s first album hitting the airwaves. That’s… a contrast in rapping styles.