Rally Cred: 70k-mile 1991 Mitsubishi Galant VR4 Turbo AWD/4WS

This is one sweet car. The stats are almost too good to be true: 4-doors, 2.4-litre inline DOHC 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, powering all four wheels and with four-wheel steering.

That's right. All four wheel pivot with a turn of the steering wheel. Combined with the engine powering all four wheels, this thing must have incredible control and stability on the road, straightaways, curves, any type of weather, dry or wet.

There are no better known systems than AWD and AWS. And very, very few cars have coupled them together. Japanese manufacturers were experimenting with 4WS in the late 1980s, most notably Honda on their Prelude, which featured an entirely mechanical system. Mazda also offered 4WS on their 626. Sadly, this relatively simple technology that provides vastly better handling than a car without it was abandoned by the industry for no clear reason. File under 'suppressed technology'.

Origins of the Mitsubishi logo
The Galant was Mitsubishi's otherwise staid and tame compact mid-size economy car. In order to qualify for the 1988 World Rally Championships, Mitsubishi needed to make sell at least 5,000 variants of their potential rally entry. The result was the VR-4.

Only 2,000 were imported in 1991, and just another 1,000 in 1992.

Given the low production volume and the car's rally readiness, these were typically thrashed and trashed, so finding any example, let alone one in good shape and with relatively low miles, is rare.

The seller provides little backstory but assert the 70,019 miles on the odometer are original. They also say the car is "bone stock", another added bonus seeing how so many cheap Japanese cars from the 80s and 90s are distastefully and pointlessly modified.

Even the interior looks good, with no visible rips, tears or stains on the leather, possibly supporting the low mileage claim.

There can't be many left, although they do come up for sale somewhat frequently. But these are still rare, collector cars and definite future classics. The cheap, simple parts and construction also make it good for (very fun) daily driving.

I want it.

Find it here on ebay in Columbia, South Carolina, with 5 bids at $3,550 but reserve not met.


  1. 4WS generated a lot of buzz, but added complexity and weight and cost. The type of real world driving most owners did really didn't generate enough benefit to support the 4WS revolution. BMW's active steering really hasn't taken off either, for many of the same reasons. For most owners, it's a pretty expensive novelty.

    Technilogically, the VR4 was a really impressive car when it was launched. Unfortunately, it was based on the Mitsubishi Galant. With those horrible motorized mouse guillotine seatbelts.

    1. Larry look into the Prelude 4WS system. It didn't add much weight and was entirely mechanical, so it wasn't electronically controlled or monitored and therefore not "complex" as we know cars to be today.

      I will read up on active steering, I forgot about that, sounds interesting.

    2. As you noted, the mechanical system in the Prelude might not seem complex by 2012 standards, but it did add mechanical complexity (at least versus what was there before), some weight, and most importantly, cost to both manufacture and maintain.

      4WS also felt different. I'm sure some drivers thought it was a great feature, but I a number of people told me it felt "weird." If something feels weird or different, and it doesn't provide a substantial benefit in typical use, and it costs more, buyers aren't going to want it.