Mitsubishi Scropion GJ/GK/GL
1981 - 1985
|78 kW @ 5000 rpm
|5 spd. man.
The Mitsubishi Sigma Scorpion was
originally released in 1977, and underwent several
model updates and engine changes to keep it at the
forefront of the then “under
$10,000” coupe market.
The Scorpion was powered
by Mitsubishi’s proven 2.6-liter 'Silent Shaft'
four cylinder engine, never an motor to set the world
on fire but a reliable and tractable unit that offered
plenty of torque across the rev range.
But it was on
the outside that the Scorpion differed from the run-of-the-mill
4 cylinder also-ran’s of the late 1970’s
and early 1980’s.
Best of the lot came with the
1981 GJ model, which featured a wedge-shaped nose and
quad rectangular headlights. The front end treatment
set it apart from its Sigma cousins, and the sheet
metal from the windscreen/doors rearward was only for
The new model had a revised grille featuring
the tri-diamond Mitsubishi logo, while black finished
exterior mirrors, new bumper stripes and a distinctive
windshield moulding helped the car further distance
itself from the Sigma.
But the most important changes
occurred inside the Scorpion. The original iteration
offered less cabin, head, leg, knee, and shoulder room
than the supposedly “lesser” Sigma
cousins, and so the engineers set about a complete
redesign of the interior, resulting in not only more
space, but a much more efficient use of the available
This was achieved through the use of smaller
front-wheel housings to provide greater front room,
while the wheelbase was lengthened to allow the re-designed
seats to be moved backward, thus allowing more leg
room. A fractionally higher roof line and rear
window helped add to the available head room (particularly
for rear occupants), while modified door linings helped
improve lateral shoulder space.
Even the position of
the gear lever and handbrake were modified in an effort
to increase driver comfort and control. Air-flow inside
the cabin was improved and side window defrost outlets
added to the control and end outlets on the dash. The
fully carpeted boot was deeper and longer, and the
boot lid leveled off, making for an increase of 17
per cent to 350 liters.
Further demonstrating just
how far the engineers went with the redesign, even
the spare tire was indented into the fuel tank, and
to make the available space more useable the wrap-around
rear lamp housings were re-designed to minimise their
intrusion into the boot space.
Both the front and rear
suspension were redesigned to improve handling and
road-holding, the changes including a reduced king-pin
offset at the front and a redesigned four trailing-link
and coil rear suspension. The 2.6-liter engine with
its unique counter-revolving balance shafts was the
largest four-cylinder motor currently available on
the Australian market. It offered good, but not breathtaking,
performance, affording a top speed of around 175 km/h
and acceleration to 100 km/h taking 13.7 seconds. If
driven (very) carefully it could return consumption
figures around 10 liters/100 km.
Most important to the
1981 revision was the all-new variable rate power steering
that employed a principle pioneered by the European
car manufacturers. At parking speeds full assistance
was given, but as speed increased the assistance decreased
thus retaining precise steering with good road feel.
The sophisticated twin-circuit brake system employed
a pressure-sensitive load-proportioning valve to ensure
that the four-wheel discs worked to maximum effectiveness.
all, the Scorpion was a good car, but not great car.
Interest soon declined in the model, and has never
been rekindled by enthusiasts to the extent that the
car could be considered either classic or collectable,
which is a shame, the Scorpion deserved better.