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Mitsubishi FTO

Published: 28th Jun 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Fast Facts

  • Engine: 1999cc/V6
  • Power (bhp/rpm): 200/7500
  • Torque (lb ft@rpm): 148/6000
  • Top speed: 149mph
  • 0-60mph: 6.3sec
  • Fuel consumption: 23mpg
  • Transmission: 5-sp man/4-sp Tiptronic
  • Length: 14ft 2in (4.32m)
  • Width (inc mirrors): 5ft 8in (1.74m)
  • Weight: 2640lb (1200kg
  • Books: A-Z of Japanese performance cars by Chris Rees. ISBN 0-9541063-7-7 (OOP); Beasts from the East by Paul Guiness. ISBN 1-84425-222-1 (OOP)
  • Clubs: http://www.mitsubishi-fto.org; www.myfto.co.uk
  • Websites: FTO Owners’ Club: http://www.ftooc.org Specialists Eurospec, Guildford. http://www.euro-spec2000.co.uk Japco, Northants. http://www.japco.co.uk CMS Autos, Birmingham. 0121 447 9881
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There were some great coupés around in the 1990s, one of the best being Mitsubishi’s FTO. Launched in 1994 for the Japanese market, Mitsubishi initially said it wouldn’t bring the car to the UK; eventually the company relented, but it wasn’t until 2000 that we started to see offi cial imports. One of the reasons Mitsubishi saw the light was the fact that hundreds of FTOs were brought over as grey imports – it made a lot more sense for the factory to support the car offi cially. Voted Japan’s Car of the Year when launched in 1994, the FTO now has thesupport of an enthusiastic owners’ club. Thereare also plenty of specialists to keep any FTO ticking over, so whether you want to maintain or modify, you’ll have plenty of help available. And here’s one for the next pub quiz; FTO stands for Fresh Touring Origination. Whatever that means.

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What to look for?

You might hope that a car as modern as the FTO wouldn’t suffer from rust, but some grey import examples may be corroded because the Japanese don’t worry much about rust protection. That’s why you must ensure that any FTO you look at has been properly rustproofed. Also check for accident damage; these cars aren’t worth a huge amount so bodges are common; look for misaligned panels plus tired brakes and suspension. It doesn’t help that the brakes aren’t especially strong, so uprated stoppers are advisable for regular use, never mind spirited driving. If you’re thinking of buying an automatic, make sure it shifts ratios cleanly; the software can play up leading to a reluctance to change gear,or very jerky changes. If you’re looking at a V6 with MIVEC technology, watch out for noisy tappets; unlike all the other FTO engines, the MIVEC unit doesn’t have hydraulic tappets. Also make sure that the central locking works – it often gets temperamental.

Values

There’s no shortage of FTOs available from £1000, although this sum generally secures only a fairly early grey import. However, you can easily spend double this on a car with the same spec and mileage, just in better condition. That’s the key; you need to buy on condition rather than spec – especially as most available cars feature the MIVEC engine and the semi-automatic transmission. It’s possible to spend £5000 on a car that’s had money lavished on it, but there’s generally no need to spend more than half this to secure something tidy and very usable.

Driving one

All FTOs featured front-wheel drive, with a choice of 1.8-litre four-cylinder or 2.0-litre V6 petrol engines, each mounted at the front. The latter unit was also offered with variable valve timing to give 200bhp; it’s the pick of the bunch, but don’t think you need lots of power to have fun aseven the entry-level 125bhp four-pot gives the car decent pace. The key thing is that with such a great chassis set up, you don’t need to drive at high speeds to have plenty of fun. There was a choice of transmissions; a fi ve-speed manual unit was offered throughout, along with a semi-automatic known an INVECS-II. At fi rst this featured four ratios, but cars built after 1997 were fi tted with an extra gear for better fl exibility. Both are great to use, but the auto is more common and much more popular than the manual.

Evolution

Oct 1994

The Mitsubishi FTO is launched for the Japanese market only. The entry-level model is a 125bhp 1.8-litre edition badged GS. In the middle is a 170bhp 2.0-litre V6 option (the GR or GX) while at the top of the range is the 200bhp 2.0-litre V6 (the GPX or GPR), with variable valve timing (known as MIVEC).

Feb 1995

A limited edition FTO is launched to celebrate success in the 1994 Japanese Car of the Year. Around 500 are made, each with yellow paintwork, rear wiper and a limited-slip differential.

Aug 1997

The FTO is facelifted, the only external change being a restyled front bumper, with a larger air intake plus a deeper front splitter.

May 2000

Offi cial UK imports of the FTO begin, just before production ends.



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