2001 was an eventful year for sport compacts, with “The Fast and the Furious” hitting the big screen and the “spider eye” Acura Integra entering its final model year. Mitsubishi Motors North America had released a new version of the Eclipse the year before, bigger and more luxurious than its predecessors; today’s Junkyard Gem is one of those third-generation Eclipses, the fastest and most furious version available in 2001: a GT coupe with V6 engine and five-speed manual transmission, found in a Colorado Springs boneyard recently.
Named for a 17th-century racehorse, the Eclipse (not to be confused with the present-day Eclipse Cross) began life in the 1990 model year as a Galant-based liftback coupe built in partnership with Chrysler at the new Diamond-Star Motors plant in Normal, Illinois (where Rivians are born today). Chrysler sold its own versions of the Eclipse for a while, with the Plymouth Laser produced through 1994 and the Eagle Talon surviving until the Eagle brand’s demise in 1998.
By the time this car was built, its closest relatives were the Galant, the Chrysler Sebring coupe and the Dodge Stratus coupe.
The MSRP for the GT Coupe was $20,947, or about $35,789 in 2023 dollars. You could get a brand-new Integra GS-R for $22,300 ($38,101 today) in 2001, while the Dodge Neon ACR listed at just $13,845 ($23,655 now).
This car was quite a bit more powerful than the 170-horsepower Integra GS-R, with this 3.0-liter 6G72 V6 and its 210 horses under the hood. The workhorse 6G72 went into far too many Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Hyundai vehicles to list here; highlights include the Chrysler TC by Maserati, the Chrysler LeBaron, the Mitsubishi Montero/Dodge Raider, the Mitsubishi Diamante and the Mitsubishi 3000GT/Dodge Stealth.
This car has the five-speed manual transmission, as is proper. Buyers who insisted on the four-speed automatic had to shell out an extra grand, or $1,709 after inflation.
This car appears to have been in decent cosmetic condition when it arrived at its final parking spot.
These stickers were mandatory equipment on Eclipses during the 2000s.
Likewise with multiple-bolt-pattern aftermarket wheels.
This generation of Eclipse stayed in production through 2004, with its successor continuing to be sold through 2012.
The ’01 Eclipse GT came with a CD player as standard equipment, which enabled owners to live this putatively enviable lifestyle. This TV commercial was parodied by Dave Chapelle (inexplicably driving a 350Z) in NSFW fashion.
The original Japanese-market (where the Eclipse was an American-built import) ads were more enjoyable.