The Mitsubishi 1600 GSR is a car that has left a lasting legacy in the world of rally racing. With its sleek lines and bold styling, this car was built to dominate the rally circuits of the 1970s. But the 1600 GSR was more than just a pretty face. It had a secret weapon hidden inside its hood that would catapult it to the top of the racing world.
Mitsubishi produced the 1600 GSR as a dedicated rally car to compete in the World Rally Championship (WRC) during the 1970s. The company’s motorsports division, Ralliart, was tasked with designing and building a car that could compete at the highest level of rally racing.
At the time, the WRC was dominated by Western manufacturers like Ford, Lancia, and Alpine. Mitsubishi wanted to prove that they could build a car that could compete with the best in the world. The 1600 GSR was their answer.
Powering the 1600 GSR was their 1.6-liter 4G32 engine that produced 169 horsepower in race spec. This engine was based on the 4G31 engine and was modified to increase power output and make it more durable. The 4G32 engine featured a DOHC (Double Overhead Camshaft) design, which helped to increase power and improve efficiency. It also had a high compression ratio of 9.5:1, which further increased power output.
The engine was paired with a 5-speed manual transmission that provided precise and responsive shifting. The drivetrain also included a limited-slip differential which helped distribute power to the wheels. This made the car more stable on loose surfaces, and it helped improve traction.
With a durable drivetrain and lightweight chassis the 1600 GSR was ready to take on the toughest rally circuits in the world.
And it did not disappoint.
In its first year of competition, it won several races and even claimed the championship in the 1973 season. The car continued to be a major contender in the WRC throughout the 1970s, earning numerous podium finishes and even winning the championship again in 1975.
But the 1600 GSR wasn’t just a one-trick pony, it was also sold as a street version to the general public. And while this version kept its responsive handling and nimble chassis, it, unfortunately, was significantly detuned to 110hp.
Despite its short production run, the 1600 GSR’s legacy lives on and it continues to be celebrated by automotive enthusiasts for its unique features, performance, and success on the rally circuit.
But despite how it might have looked to the general public, Mitsubishi’s decision to produce the 1600 GSR was part of a larger strategy to establish the company as a major player in the motorsports industry and to build its reputation for building high-performance cars.
The 1600 GSR became a staple for Mitsubishi helped establish itself as a major player in the motorsports industry and to build its reputation for building high-performance cars. The 1600 GSR was a true testament to the hard work and dedication of the engineers at Mitsubishi Ralliart, and it will always hold a special place in the hearts of rally fans everywhere.
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