62k-Mile Survivor 1982 Dodge Challenger

In the beginning, there were Challengers like the white one in Vanishing Point. Today, there are modern-muscle Challengers based on that original design. In between the two, there were the ones like this amazing survivor 1982 Challenger, which just happens to be for sale here on craigslist in Oakland County, Michigan.

Known also as the Plymouth Sapporo, Mitsubishi Sapporo/Scorpion, or Mitsubishi Galant in the day, these captive-import cars were a far cry from their American predecessors, but they were significant nonetheless. Introduced in 1978, these cars helped Chrysler through the most turbulent time in its history up to that point. The Dodges presented a sporty, economical car with better-than-usual quality and reliability as compared to the other models in the Pentastar lineup. The Plymouth version focused more on luxury, but economy and better quality nonetheless.

This particular one has the optional 4G54 2.6-liter 4-cylinder powerplant, mated to a 5-speed gearbox, and its 105 horsepower goes through the rear wheels. The seller tells us that he is one of only two owners, the first being an elderly lady and that it has only traveled 62,500 original miles. Apparently, everything works, including the air conditioning and cruise control, and it comes with a period-correct CB radio. We can see that the exterior presents rather well and that the interior looks absolutely amazing for being 37 years old.

They weren’t the fastest, nor the prettiest, but we have to admit that this particular one is in very, very good condition for what it is and where it is. It would be the only one at Cars ‘n Coffee, and with the growing popularity of Radwood and ’80s/’90s automobiles among the younger crowd, this one might not be an “investment” right now, but it is definitely worth a second look. I spoke to the owner personally, and he seems like an honest guy. Do you have one or a story about one? Let us know!

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Comments

  1. Rx7turboII

    In love with this car💓
    Always loved this body style! If we weren’t currently looking for a new house to buy, I would seriously be calling about this and offer him $5,000 cash. Sad thing is it’s not that far from me. Nice find!

    5
    • Fred W

      Rx7turboll- you really need to get your priorities in order. On another note- why are all the photos on the initial BF page pixellated?

      1
      • bry

        This would totally challenge a 1980 Pontiac 2.5liter Iron Duke Sunbird. That must be why the called it the “Challenger”….

        4
  2. karl

    ‘better-than-usual quality and reliability” ; two things never said about Mitsubishis – These were nice looking cars for the time and this one is in amazing condition ,but they were tinny rust buckets here on the east coast and that 2.6 was not known for longevity .I don’t think any of these survived the 1980s on this end of the country

    1
    • John D.

      We knew the 2.6 had oiling problems to the valvetrain. The easy solution was frequent and regular oil changes. I sold one to my best friend that sat at the Baltimore port for about a year, I did recommend rustproofing. He lived in the ‘rust belt’ city of Buffalo, NY. His roommate worked at the same place, so they drove roughly identical routes. His new Honda Prelude was a shabby looking rust heap in two years.

      I sold many of the Sapparo version to friends as the build quality was way better than my other sporty choice, the Plymouth TC3.

      3
  3. Jason

    You have to wonder if it wanted to survive.

    I’m surprised we haven’t seen any new cars with angular styling nostalgically inspired by cars like this.

    4
    • theGasHole

      I agree Jason I have been surprised there have not been any “retro” boxy styled cars. The last sort of boxy styled cars I recall being made were Lexus in the mid to late 90’s. Personally I like the boxy styled cars.

  4. slickb

    This was not dodges best work…. AT ALL :)

    3
    • Miguel Member

      This was not Dodge’s work at all, other than the badges.

      13
  5. Howard A

    Oh Challenger, look what they reduced you to. Can you see Kowalski driving in this,,,

    8
    • Sandy Claws

      If he had driven this, maybe he would still be alive. Just saying.

      4
      • Steve R

        No, him along with the movie would have been killed off during pre-production meetings. Just saying.

        Steve R

        2
    • Radio Rick

      Back in the day new a guy that traded an AAR cuda for one. Got a Feeling he loved the gas mileage.

      1
  6. Dwilson

    Had the 83 technica version of this. Mine was a automatic, was a tough little car. I drove the wheels off of it. Had 200,000 plus on it when I sold it.

    6
  7. Bakyrdhero Member

    What an awesome 80’s interior. I’ve never driven one of these, but it looks fantastic.

    1
  8. Miguel Member

    I would love to have this car and drive it proudly.

    I would probably get tired of the questions and the non-belief when I tell them it is a Challenger.

    4
    • SteVen

      And even more disbelief when you tell them it has a hemi, which it actually does, albeit a Mitsu 4-cyl. with a hemi head.

      4
  9. W9BAG Member

    I sold these new in 1981. Couldn’t keep them on the lot; they sold like dime donuts. Very well built cars, with fit & finish far superior to the other Mopars parked next to them. One classy feature, although superfluous, was the chime for the key, seat belt, and lights on. It was actually dual brass bells under the dash. A pleasant “ding dong”, as opposed to the annoying buzzer we had back in the day. And yes, that little 2.6 4 banger was a HEMI !

    6
  10. ricky

    I owned a 1979 Plymouth Champ, 1981 Dodge Colt and a 1981 Sapporo, all new. They all had the twin stick shifter. Loads of fun, Did very well in autocross with the Champ and Colt. The Sapporo was the wife’s car. Blew the engine in the Champ, ran the wheels off the Colt, traded the Sapporo for a new Z28. Good memories.

    1
  11. dweezilaz

    My little brother had a Sapporo. Nicely trimmed, quiet. Very pretty dark blue metallic with silver accents.

    These were hardtops but this example doesn’t seem to have switches or cranks in the back seat photos.

  12. Brian Scott

    A guy could make a decent living with bar wagers with millenial car guy poseurs with a reference to this vehicle.

    1
  13. Mike_B_SVT

    Yeah, buy this and join the local Challenger club. Take it to every cruise and car show and enjoy the crazy looks you get.

    “Yeah, I took it to the track. I think with a little work I might get it down in the 18’s (seconds).”

    3
  14. SteVen

    I wonder if one of those 224-hp 2.2 Turbo IIIs or 2.2 with the Maserati head optional in the TC would work in one of these. Would be a hoot. I had a ’89 Caravan with a 2.5 Turbo and it was surprisingly quick.

  15. cmarv

    I dated a girl that drove a brand new 79 Plymouth Sapporo (same car) . We rode in my 77 Scirocco .

  16. mrodgde

    Interestingly, these (& the 4 door Mitsi Sigma Turbo’s) were a simple small block Ford transplant option as these & the turbo’s had bigger discs & updated suspension.

  17. Mitch Ross

    These came out a year before the Fox Mustang and out performed the 4 and inline 6 versions of that car. Nice cars all around

    1
  18. Chevy Guy

    This is a disgrace to the dodge and the challenger name

  19. Rx7turboII

    No, actually, Dodge is a disgrace to the Dodge name already…they don’t need any help with that…they got that part covered…. LOL! smartest thing they ever did was partner with Mitsubishi!

    1
  20. Bakyrdhero Member

    @RX7 I could further add that maybe Mitsubishi would have competed better with Toyota and Honda if they weren’t saddled with the Dodge partnership..

  21. John D.

    And DiamondStar Motors was a win for Mitsubishi as well as it gave them legitimized entry into the world’s most profitable market. Both companies benefited from the partnership, one got access without the expense and the other got access to well developed and tested 4 cylinder cars very quickly.

    We were selling the rear wheel drive platforms profitably in our regular numbers when the gas embargoes hit. The market turned on its heels and everybody instantly wanted 4 cylinder economy cars faster than Detroit could build them. In the early 1970’s it was a joke among dealers that the fastest way to put a Big 3 dealer out of business was to add a Japanese franchise. This was particularly true of Mazda.

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