Suave Sedan: 1975 Mitsubishi Debonair

051716 Barn Finds - 1975 Mitsubishi Debonair - 1

This is a rare car, for you vintage/nostalgic Japanese vehicle fans. It’s a 1975 Mitsubishi Debonair and it’s on eBay for an asking price of $6,600. If it was 100% original I would think that the price would be higher. It’s located in Los Angeles, California; but you probably assumed that anyway.

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These cars were made to compete with the Toyota Crown, Isuzu Bellel, Prince Gloria, and Nissan Cedric. I’m not sure if car-naming has come any further or if it was better back then. Now, everything is a number or some made-up word, at least back then they were actual words or actual names. The Debonair was made between 1964 and 1998 and this car is three years into a redesign. The seller mentions that it’s a “Lincoln Continental look-a-like” in the ad, and I can see a bit of that going on here. I also see a little Studebaker Daytona in the front end and some AMC Rambler on the side view.

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1975 was the last year that you could get a manual transmission in the Debonair and this one has a column-shifted manual, which is nice but would be unusual with it being right hand drive. This car has a bit under 51,000 miles on it.

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While the exterior looks pretty nice, with a bit of detailing work needed and some chrome and maybe a little color-sanding and polishing, the interior needs some real work. I’m not sure what’s going on with the black-and-white checkerboard floor treatment, that would be theee first thing to go under my watch, then the seats would be reworked back to original spec. No, wait, the fuzzy dice first, then the checkered flag vinyl flooring, then the seats. Yeah, there’s a bit of work to do in there, but luckily the dash looks good and everything else can be fixed. The car looks rust-free and the trunk looks great. And, it has AC and power windows, as you’d expect in an “executive sedan”. But, when a lot of 1965 Cadillacs and Lincolns didn’t have AC and power windows, for this car to have them is pretty cool, I think.

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This car sold enough in the Japanese “executive market” that it largely remained unchanged, other than minor updates, for twenty-two years. One thing that did change is the engine, which from 1970 to 1976 used the 6G34, the “Saturn 6”, 1,994cc in-line six-cylinder with a bump in horsepower to 128 from 104, quite a boost, although this is a 3,000 pound car. The engine was held under the 2.0L limit to lessen the road tax bill in Japan. These cars were quite, well, debonair. This one could be again with a little elbow grease. I think this would be a fun car to drive to a car show, nobody would know what the heck it is. Are there any fans of Japanese Executive sedans out there?

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Comments

  1. Frankie

    He seller mentioned a Saturn engine 2.0, wondering if that’s what they came with? Or a new Saturn engine? Very cool look.

    • Scotty G Staff

      Frankie, It’s a Mitsubishi engine but they called it the “Saturn 6” and it has no relation at all to GM’s Saturn. They were very limited production engines and were only used in the Debonair from 1970 to 1976. It was basically a Mitsubishi “4G” Saturn engine (again, no relation to GM) with two extra cylinders grafted onto it.

      Good eye! I didn’t know whether too many folks would be interested in this one or not, thanks!

  2. Rick

    Plus GM wasn’t even making Saturns back in ’75, don’t think they did up until like ’93

    • dj

      GM started making the Saturn cars in 1990 and called them 1991 models. When I worked at the GM dealer, Saturn wanted us to have a complete Saturn parts department that was separate from our other GM vehicles. I think we had to keep $1 million in Saturn parts alone. The owner said no and we didn’t sell them.

  3. Rick

    Looks like a cross between a ’68 Plymouth Valiant and ’63 Olds F-85

  4. Dolphin Member

    It looks like it got “styled” with inspiration from earlier AMC designs. Then it looks like it got “raked” by someone maybe in L.A., with some nice shiny hub caps added up front.

    This would be fun to take to a car show and hear what people think it is. Maybe tell them it was a version of an AMC car that they set up production for in Japan.

    But as for driving it, better have a good friend in Japan who has a line on spare parts for you.

  5. DRV

    Thundernental ..
    Rake the grille and the 4 door top are ’61 Thunderbird , but the rest is Lincoln all the way.

  6. Leon

    Needs suicide doors

  7. grant

    Wow. Never seen or heard of one. When I first opened the page I thought it was a Chrysler of some sort. Cool find.

  8. Howard A Member

    Love it, Scotty. Here folks, thanks to the Japanese, is what the new 1975 Studebaker Lark looks like. Never heard of this. It should be “DebonairE”. Great find, but I wouldn’t be caught driving this, during the day, at least. I’d comment more, but it’s just taking too long for the words to be printed. Guess I’m not the only one having that trouble. ( according to the “How we doin” thread)

  9. Jack Homen

    Beat mr to it, suicide doors indeed . Need to be jet black. Crome need refreshing. The worst tuck and roll I have ever seen. It would be awesome to use a mini limo for cash strapped seniors for prom.

  10. Rogério

    From some angles, it looks like a tiny 1961 Lincoln Continental

  11. jaygryph

    Never heard of this car, but man they can sure look slick! http://speedhunters-wp-production.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/IMG_0173_B3Sz_1.jpg I love this one in particular.

    This one’s had some custom work done all over and I really dig it. https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3085/3655588750_46c5698190_b.jpg

  12. AMCSTEVE

    Keep them weirdos comin

  13. Gary

    Looks to me like a smaller Chrysler Imperial.

    • Steven C

      Yes, looks to me like the love child of that and a 68 Valiant. Maybe the styling was a result of the Chrysler/Mitsubishi connection. I dig it and would love a chance to drive it.

  14. ROTAG999

    Wonder if this is a 4 speed in the tree ?

    • Steven C

      It is

      • ROTAG999

        Nice !

  15. Steven C

    Pretty sure this is the same one they had on BAT in 2014. Was in much better shape then, looks like it has been parked outside and not moved since. It was more than twice the price then.

  16. Steve

    There is a reason why you dont see many around. Not too pretty and forget a out trying to find parts for it.

  17. Tirefriar

    Cool car but it’s really a labor of love in the eye of the beholder. I get the $6k+ asking price. This is what I’d expect to see similar vintage Corona fetch, and they sold plenty of those in the States. I’m not a player for this one mainly because I’m not a die hard JDM fan but a four on the tree in a four door sedan reminds me of the Euro berlinas. No mention of rust or working a/c. From the terminology, the seller sounds like a vintage hot rod fan.

  18. William H

    Reminds me of those semi-generics they use as Russian cars you see in the movies. Almost Lincoln looking but not quite. A lot of similar features to other cars but like an amalgamate of many different cars to come up with one generic vehicle.

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