Mitsubishi Debonair V 3000 Royal AMG
What happens when you take Mitsubishi’s largest and heaviest front wheel drive sedan and add a little AMG influence to spice things up?
The Mitsubishi Debonair V 3000 Royal AMG debuted in 1986 amongst huge Japanese bubble economy hype and equally huge expectations as far as the “FF NEW CLASSIC” advertising slogan was concerned. The Debonair originally appeared way back in 1964 designed by none other than American H.S. Bretzner who produced an excellent design and it was such a success that Mitsubishi’s flagship model was produced basically unchanged for 22 years! The 1964 model Debonair was RWD, but in 1986 the Debonair went front wheel drive to gain more space in the cabin particularly for the rear seat passengers.
To add to the Debonair’s prowess, AMG (well before Mercedes Benz bought a majority share) was called in to give the flagship Mitsubishi a touch of sportiness and gave the Debonair V 3000 base car the once over. The collaboration only saw AMG supply a rudimentary body kit, badges, an ugly steering wheel and alloy wheels, but hey at least Mr Tanaka can show off the AMG badge to low ranking V3000 owners! The 3.0 DOHC V6 went untouched and it was probably for the better because at 1620kg a FWD sedan with 200+ hp might not have been a good idea.
A specially prepared Debonair Royal AMG that appeared in the Japanese Police drama ”Gorilla”.
Some of the comments made by AMG on the design as seen in the Debonair catalog: “The horizontal line of the body was emphasized, and we achieved a form that looked simple and dynamic.” Well that was unexpected. What AMG were doing was more or less letting Mitsubishi capitalize on brand mystique by agreeing to remodel some of their cars (the Galant was also given the AMG treatment) as AMG were mainly affiliated with Mercedes Benz. How much money changed hands in this little endeavor? Who knows, but it gives us a little more insight into the workings of the bubble economy mindset that gripped Japan during the 1980s.
Despite joining with AMG the Debonair AMG was a flop. In fact after 1989 the Mitsubishi/AMG partnership faded and successive Debonair models never wore the AMG badge again. The curious large front wheel drive V6 combination was moderately well received with class leading rear leg and headroom, and in the lesser models at least, the ever so soft ride and fluffy pillow like handling made sure that the only hard driving the Debonair saw was on crazy 1980s Police dramas. The 4,516,000 yen asking price wasn’t so tempting either.
The 6G72 3.0L DOHC engine put out 200hp and 27.0kg/m at 6000rpm which had a bit of trouble propelling the 1620kg body around, but nevertheless the engine was good enough to make it into the next generation Debonair in 1992 albeit with less power! Being the flagship model for Mitsubishi, the interior boasted all manner of gadgets with “electric everything” being the order of the day. The luxurious seats also deserve mention (not exclusive to the AMG version) as they were possibly the most thickly padded seats that have ever made it into a car…
The Debonair AMG is yet another Japanese automotive rarity and the likelihood of seeing one in the metal is very slim indeed. First generation Debonair owners will tell you that the Debonair died with the S12AG (1986 onwards) as the styling was definitely an acquired taste and the FF drivetrain was something that was associated with small hatchbacks, not top-of-the-line flagship models.
If that wasn’t enough, in 1990 Mitsubishi felt the need to compete with Nissan’s Cedric Gloria Brougham and produced the Debonair V 150 AMG. The “150″ refers to the 150mm longer wheelbase which was added as a direct answer to the Brougham which was also extended by the same amount only a year earlier. The Debonair V 150 AMG is extremely rare and was pulled from sale not long after its introduction. The 150 AMG sold for 4,888,000 yen.
The Debonair V 150 AMG can be identified by the triangular quarter windows added to the slightly longer rear doors.
Name: Mitsubishi Debonair V 3000 Royal AMG
Drive: Front wheels
Brakes: Ventilated disks
Suspension: MacPherson struts (front), 3 link torsion axel (rear)
Words: Justin Karow
Images: Mitsubishi, Musashino, Kuruma Wakaru