Hey, alright! It looks like the gang is all here—now the high-value 1990s Japanese icon party can kick off in earnest. Supra brought drinks, the NSX’s got the chips ‘n dip, and the RX-7 and 300ZX will be right back with some wings. It sure took a while, but Mitsubishi might have just rung the doorbell with the shocking $100,499 final sale of a 1999 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 on Bonham’s new “The Market” online auction platform. With that, this might be signs of a significant cash spike for Mitsubishi’s enigmatic halo sports car. Maybe.
Or, this might be just another case of an unbelievably original example with absurdly low miles skewing the true view of the growing market. This particular black-over-black 3000GT was mothballed right from the get-go; according to the listing, it was purchased wholesale from a dealer in Indiana by the consignor, where it promptly sat static in a collection for the past two decades. Only 168 miles sit on the wrapper-fresh odometer, making this quite the museum piece. As such, this is an extraordinarily well-preserved specimen, with only superficial dullness to the paint due to age, and dried-out plastic and rubber components that are easily replaced.
The 3000GT has a lot of same things going for it as Japanese contemporaries, including a powerful turbo engine, a sophisticated chassis, and ahead-of-its-time technology. Mitsubishi, neck deep in rally competition by this point, fitted the 3000GT with all-wheel drive—hardly common tech for 1990s sports cars. Nevertheless, it received a lukewarm reception in era, with reviewers finding it bulky and unrefined compared to the 300ZX in particular. Nowadays, it suffers from a relative lack of recognition; Z-cars, Supras, and Mazda RX-7s enjoyed multi-decade runs that, in the case of the former two, continue to the present day. It surely doesn’t help that Mitsubishi’s presence in the United States has greatly diminished.
So, a signifier for big things to come for Mitsu’s long-undervalued super-GT? Maybe, maybe not. Hagerty’s Price Guide lists a 1999 3000GT VR4 in Condition #1—or concours-ready—as $60,900, with Condition #2 (excellent) dropping to $35,100. Healthy, but not even in the same stratosphere as The Market’s six-figure blowout. Consider that at $100,000, this is one of the most expensive Mitsubishi’s ever sold at auction, beaten only by the Eclipse used in The Fast and The Furious and a super-rare Tommi Makinen Edition Lancer Evo VI that sold last spring.
The latter was part of Mitsubishi Motors U.K.’s liquidation sale, where 14 museum-grade Mitsus went under the virtual hammer. Sure, the market wasn’t quite as volatile as it is now, but The Market’s 3000GT outstripped both a handful of rare Evos—historically more desirable than 3000GTs—and an honest-to-goodness Group N British Rally Championship winning Evo IX.
Even with the Bring a Trailer boost in full effect, excellent condition 3000GT VR4s with low-ish miles trade for between $25,000 and $45,000 on the ultra-popular auction site. Values of the 3000GT are undeniably on the rise—what Japanese classic isn’t—but don’t bother adding another zero to the “For Sale” sign on that Mitsu in your driveway—we reckon this is an outlier sale.
We’ll leave you with a little tip for you would-be 3000GT owners hoping to hop-in before values continue to climb the price graph. If you’re not absolutely obsessed with having the tri-diamond badge on your sports car’s schnozz, consider sourcing a well-kept Dodge Stealth. With only minor exceptions, Dodge’s mechanically identical captive import twin of the Mitsu 3000GT follows complete model parity at a moderate discount; Hagerty price guide pegs a concours-condition 1996 Stealth R/T Turbo at $28,500 against the $58,400 claimed for a #1 condition 3000GT Twin Turbo from the same year. As fewer Stealths come up for sale, your mileage—and price—may vary, but you’ll likely end up saving at least a few thousand.
I feel the ’90’s were the pinnacle of Japanese sports cars (IMHO). Good to see Mitsubishi getting the respect they so woefully missed when current. I was fortunate enough to have picked up a “93 Mitsubishi Diamante wagon about 15 years ago and was a great daily driver.
I remember these cars being pretty interesting at the time. Cool looking, turbo, lots of tech. I actually prefer the earlier pop-up headlight versions (91-95?). The Stealth was also cool, albeit with a little less tech. The problem with these cars, other than the less than stellar reviews at the time, was the poor build quality and reliability. I’ve always thought of Mitsubishi as “the Chrysler of Japan” in that regard. That being said, I’ve seen some pretty sweet deals on relatively low mileage Stealth twin turbos-like in the high teens to low 20s. If well cared for and not raced out, it might be a nice car to have. Just hope that you don’t need any replacement parts.