Ukraine Find: 1978 Mitsubishi Lambda

1978 Mitsubishi Lambada

Barn Finds has truly become an international community and we love seeing so many finds from all over the globe! Recently Alex (Aleksei in Russian) from Kiev, Ukraine shared his  find with us. It isn’t the most beautiful car in the world, but his little gem is quite rare. The tale of how he came across it is nearly as interesting as the car itself. Continue reading as Alex tells the story in his own words.

Mitsubishi Galant Lambada

So, I want to tell you the story of my rather unique car and how I found her. One sunny day, I broke the rear brake on my motorcycle. I picked up the broken pieces and starting walking around the neighborhood I was in. I tried to find someone who could weld the pieces back together and help me out of this disaster. I was finally able to find a shop that could fix it, but was told I needed to leave the bike for a while. I had no choice other than to wait till he finished the job, so I began to walk around the area on foot and that’s when I met her… A 1978 Mitsubishi Galant Lambda (Dodge Challenger and Plymouth Sapporo for those outside of Europe). And when I did some research, I tried to find another such car for sale, I only found two in the world (One is a US-version Plymouth and the other is a right hand drive Chrysler Sapporo in the Philippines).

Mitsubishi Lambada

She was dirty, beautiful, and bad. I honestly hadn’t ever thought about buying a car, but when I saw her I realized that I had to have it. That initial meeting was one of fate. I immediately tried to find the owner, but it was not easy. The security guard who was in the area agreed to help me. We began to go through very old archival records to figure out who brought her here and how long she had been there. An hour later, we managed to find contact information.

Mitsubishi Lambada Nevada Plate

As it turned out, this machine had been parked there for a long time, about ten years to be exact. The contact information we found was for the owner’s sister. I thanked the guard and went to pick up my bike. As I was walking I was able to think and gather my thoughts, I finally decided to call the owner’s sister. She told me that her brother had moved to another country many years earlier and had to leave the car behind. He had not been home for about ten years, but as my good fortune would have it, he was coming home the next week! For the first time in ten years! “Excellent”, I thought. She also provided me with a contact number for her brother. I immediately called and talked to him about his car. He told his car was not for sale, but I didn’t give up that easily. A week later, I called him again and ask if I could at least meet him to look at it. Thankfully he agreed to show it to me!

Mitsubishi Lambada interior

When I met him he was an impressive man for someone his age and could even be compared with Chuck Norris! As it turned out he was formerly a circus acrobat and in 1979 he bought the car while on a tour in Japan. It was one of the first foreign cars imported into this territory of the Soviet Union. I had brought a battery and a little gasoline to start the car. After we installed the battery and added gasoline, we got to working on starting it. I had planned on it taking several hours to get it running, but to the surprise of me and the owner, she started up within five seconds. I was shocked! As we talked about the car, the owner decided to let me buy it!

Alex's Galant Lambada

I have had her for almost two years now and I drive her almost every day. There was some minor damage and problems, but they were very small things for her age. Not too long ago she even won at a local car show!

I just want to congratulate Alex on his find and thank him for sharing it with us! It has always amazed me how cars can bridge gaps and help us find common ground, no matter where we are in the world! I wish Alex the best of luck with his Galant!

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Comments

  1. Don Sicura

    Persistence pays!

  2. Wiley Robinson

    Let me guess, the previous owner’s name was “Jason”

  3. Mark E

    Nice find! The Sapporo/Challengers here in the USA have pretty much disappeared. The last one I’ve ever seen in the flesh was back in the late 1980s. Sure they were just badge engineered Mitsubishis but they helped Chrysler out during a very hard time and some of them were even very good cars. Disclaimer: I own a 1987 Chryser Conquest aka Mitsubishi Starion.

    • Greg

      Conquest/Starion: Truly one of the most beautiful cars, ever. Ahead of its time, style-wise, and still looks great to this day.

  4. Marc Lawrence

    I think the most impressive thing – besides his car – is his command of “our” language. And such a well written piece.

    Like 1
  5. Will

    The car is interesting but I want to know the story behind how a Nevada “Nascar” plate ends up in the Ukraine.

  6. That Guy

    That would be “Lambda.” This is a Lambada:

    http://www.tvprogram.rs/text_images/201202/lambada.jpg

    :-)

    Whether or not it dances sexy, this is a cool and rare car, and its history is wonderful.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Haha, good one Josh! It has been fixed.

  7. Rich

    Very cool article. Great find and Very well written!

  8. Greg

    I grew up in the Philippines in 60’s and 70’s. Our family car was a ’77 Galant 4-door, and I recall my dad lusting after the Lambda as his dream car. Sadly he never got one, but they were quite popular at the time (Unlike the car for sale in the Philippines in Alex’s story, they were sold under the Mitsubishi brand, not Chrysler). Awesome to see Alex revive one!

  9. jim s

    great story. glad to see it is back on the road. they were good cars but i think rust got most of the ones in the states. what kind of motorcycle is it. thanks for sharing

  10. Cesar V.

    Greetings from Paraguay. Over here, it was marketed as the Sapporo, last week i saw an offer of one without drivetrain, very cheap. But VERY rusty. Indeed, Barnfinds is international.

  11. James in Australia

    I saw one of these last week. In Australia they were sold as Chrysler Scorpions until Chrysler closed here, then they were sold as Mitsubishi Scorpions.

  12. Chris

    Looks like a RHD Japanese home market one. The hideous mirrors are a giveaway.
    I haven’t seen for years now. There was a company doing convertible convesions here
    in Australia.

    I’ve always found them attractive cars. The 3800 V6 & five speed would be a nice engine upgrade.

  13. Alex

    Hi there, thank’s to all who helped to improve the text.
    2Wiley Robinson,
    No, previous is Michael, Mihail on russian.

  14. Alex

    About Nevada plate.
    She won’t came to me with this car (as well as a mask and a machete. entourage).
    It was donated by a friend to me, who is engaged in cargo transportation worldwide.
    Sorry for my bad english.)

  15. Francis

    they were called Scorpion here in Australia they are getting harder to find here but a few were modified to run V8 here. great find hope you enjoy your car.

  16. Bun Thomas

    It’s an interesting perspective by the owner in the Ukraine, not many real cars around to pick and choose. Definitely scarce as hen’s teeth– or — a Fiat / Bertone X 1/9 in the USA. I think I read somewere that these Mitsubishi’s could be retro fitted with rocket launchers………….

  17. rjc Member

    Thanks for sharing your story with us Alex.

  18. Mark in Medford

    They look so much better with the JDM bumpers and not the big ugly bumpers we got in the US.

  19. Brian

    My only memories of these cars are from a friend-of-a-friend in high school, late 1980s, who drove a clapped-out, black spray-bomb primered, dented, rusty, and completely nasty example. If memory serves, a family member gave it to him instead of just junking it. I definitely have nothing against these little cars and meaning no disrespect to the owner of the above example, but any time I see one, I remember back to that car and that owner, and just sort of laugh. He was extreamly lucky that our state had no inspections back then, or he’d have been on the big yellow ride of love Monday through Friday vying to be one of the cool kids in the back seat until 1989! Thanks for posting this one, it brought back alot of memories!

  20. Lee F.

    That is a cool find! Glad to hear that it has found a loving home and congrats on your win in the car show. :) These are fun cars to drive.

  21. brett macleod

    had one myself , nice car but they are called a mitsubishi scorpion in australia and you can still pick one up for around 500 dollars here in australia

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