Holy sh*t. Here I sit, writing a feature on my very own car for my favorite automotive magazine. A car that I dreamt of owning back when I was in high school. And if you asked me back then what my dream job was, I would have told you an automotive journalist for a tuner car mag. Sadly, the whole automotive journalist thing never really panned out for me, but being given this opportunity certainly fulfills a lifelong dream of mine. Put me in Coach Wooley! I’m ready! This is my 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder SL!
Before we get too far down the rabbit hole…
Let me just state one final detail about myself to help set the stage: I like weird cars. Weird, rare, obscure, funky, overlooked, under-appreciated, forgotten-about cars. That’s kinda my thing. I’ve owned a few rare breeds throughout the years, but this 3000GT Spyder takes the cake.
A little backstory on the Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder:
Mitsubishi built the 3000GT Spyder for two years between 1995 to 1996, and it was offered in both the FWD/non-turbo SL configuration… as well as the AWD/twin-turbo VR4 configuration. They only made 1,034 of them in total (604 VR4 Spyders & 430 SL Spyders) and the power retractable hardtop conversions were performed by ASC… the same company that did the convertible conversions for the S13 240SX, Z32 300ZX, Camaro, Porsche 944, etc.
So that’s the crash-course history lesson on the Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder. Now let me tell you about mine specifically.
I was first introduced to the Spyder variant of the 3000GT via the March 2003 issue of the now-extinct Sport Compact Car Magazine.
SCC used to host an annual shootout dubbed the “Ultimate Street Car Challenge”. And for 2003, a white 3000GT Spyder was among the cars competing. I had been a longtime fan of the 3S platform thanks to video games like Gran Turismo & Tokyo Xtreme Racer, but I had never seen the convertible version of the car up until this point. I instantly fell in love with the car.
But back in 2003 I was still in high school…
And a car of this stature was sadly way outside my budget. These cars started at a whopping $62,000 back in 1995, which (adjusted for inflation) translates to just under $120k today. Insane! Fast forward 16 years and a handful of ‘completed’ project cars later, and I found myself deciding it was finally time to scratch my nostalgia itch & search for my high school dream car. As luck would have it, it didn’t take long to find exactly what I was looking for. I found this Sable Black 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder SL for sale locally, bone stock with only 32k original miles on it. The perfect blank canvas. A deal was struck. I was handed the keys, and I drove it home on a rainy February afternoon.
The car has evolved quite a bit over the last few years.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I dealt with my fair share of obstacles and headaches along the way, inherent with a 25+ year old Mitsubishi that sat for the majority of its life. But I kept telling myself ‘trust the process’ and well, here we are. My philosophy with this car was to build a part VIP-inspired, part OEM+ mashup slab cruiser. You may be wondering why I went with an automatic, non-turbo Spyder SL instead of the twin-turbo Spyder VR4. Simply put, I had no intention or desire to ever make this car fast. Plus – this particular car had really low mileage & was well kept. It didn’t make sense for me to spend additional money & a bunch of additional time looking for (what would probably be) a beat-down VR4… when all I wanted was a clean weekend cruiser.
When it comes to the overall styling of the 3000GT Spyder…
I took a lot of inspiration from the Lexus SC430 (Z40 Toyota Soarer in Japan). Both cars are big-hipped, cushy Japanese power-hardtop convertibles. So I kind of looked at the 3000GT Spyder as being somewhat of a spiritual predecessor to the SC430… despite being manufactured by two different companies. The color choice, wheels, and the overall flow of the car are all a products of this thought process. I chose to have the car wrapped in Hexis Ashen Beige Metallic rather than doing a full respray in a comparable color. Given the rarity of the car, I wanted to preserve the clean OEM Sable Black underneath.
As for the rest of the modifications on this 3000GT convertible…
I elected to keep things simple, low-key and clean. You’ll find some simple shaved bodywork here & there, paired with a set of quintessential Bomex aero mirrors. The exhaust is a custom 2.5” cat-back featuring Wald-style tips to help tie-in the VIP-inspired look. The OEM charcoal & ivory interior has been outfitted with a set of Cipher Auto seats and a Grip Royal GT steering wheel in a matching cream color… along with a custom vaporwave-style horn button design courtesy of RevLimiter.
In case you’re wondering why I installed a color-matched cargo box on the roof of a hardtop convertible?
Well – the hardtop tonneau lid hydraulics are currently out of commission. So the car is cosplaying as a coupe until I get around to tearing the convertible top apart to fix… expensive… rare… Mitsubishi… hardtop… convertible parts. Yay. So given that these cars lack a traditional trunk/storage space, you could say that I’m making lemonade out of lemons. But I, for one, think the cargo box setup looks pretty rad.
I want to give a huge thank you…
To the guys at Nova Speed Shop. Kiet at Status Garage, my bodywork guy Mitch, and of course my friends, family, and lovely fiancée Erica for always pushing me to follow through on my plans for this car.
I’ll leave you all with this piece of advice:
Don’t worry about what is popular/trending on social media. Get out there and build something DIFFERENT. Sure, it’s not gonna be easy. Far from it. And it’ll probably take you twice as long to complete lol. But I can assure you that it’ll be worth it in the end. Stay weird my friends.
Text & Car by Josh Guillot Photos by Salvatore Sabella
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Hexis Ashen Beige Metallic wrap
Shaved power antenna, front bumper, OEM side-mirror mounting holes & rear dummy keyhole
Bomex aero mirrors
Malone VersaRail roof rack
Inno Ridge 240 rooftop cargo box
Cipher Auto seats
Grip Royal GT steering wheel
NRG slim hub & 2.0 quick release
Custom RevLimiter horn button
3SX e-brake button
Garage Alpha floor mats
Carmate Indeed push meter dress-up
Saitoworks tsurikawa & omamori
Junction Produce tsuna knot
BOSS Audio 820BRGB media player
Vintage Mitsubishi AH-270 mobile car phone
HPS intake & coolant hoses
3SX billet crank pulley & dress-up accessories
R’Venge Performance billet battery tie-down
Suspension / Brakes
BC Racing Type-BR (Extreme Low) coilovers
3SX adjustable rear camber & toe arms
PowerStop slotted/drilled rotors & ceramic pads
Wheels / Tires
JDM Z40 Toyota Soarer wheels
215/45/18 Lexani LXUHP-207 tires
Custom Adaptec Speedware adapters