The Mitsubishi FTO (Fresh Touring Origination) was produced between 1994 through 2000 by Mitsubishi Motor Company and took the front-wheel-drive (FWD) market by storm. Previously, Honda, Toyota, and Suzuki had been the ones to look out for when it came to FWD, but with the FTO, Mitsubishi created one of the greatest FWD Coupés of all time.
In 1994 the Mitsubishi FTO won Car of the Year Japan, and as a way of gratitude, Mitsubishi developed a Limited Edition known as the FTO GPX which was exclusively sold on the Japanese markets. Thus, making the FTO GPX a true JDM car.
The Mitsubishi FTO GPX is a 2-door front-engine coupé sports car and weighed in at about 1170 kg (2,579 lb.). While the regular FTO was available with three engine choices:
1.8L (1,834 cc SOHC 16 Valve I4
125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) at 6000 rpm
2.0L (1,998 cc DOHC 24 valve V6
170 PS (125 kW; 168 hp) at 7000 rpm
2.0L (1,998 cc DOHC MIVEC 24 valve V6
200 PS (147 kW; 197 hp) at 7500 rpm
However, the Mitsubishi FTO GPX was only available with the range-topping 2.0L Mivec V6 engine which produced 197 hp and had a much appreciated 8,250 RPM redline. While 2.0 liters for a V6 is relatively small there was good reason for that. There was a regulation that stated that an engine with more than 2.0 liters of displacement will be charged with a steeper tax penalty, and thus, Mitsubishi kept the 2-liter engine.
Either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic came available for both the regular FTO and the FTO GPX. In 1997 the 4-speed was scratched for a newer 5-speed automatic which was developed with similar technology as Porsche’s Tiptronic gearboxes.
The FTO GPX was extremely rare. While over 35,000 regular FTO were produced, only a mere 207 units were produced for the limited edition. Even more surprisingly, the GPX model only had a 10% manual take. That means that out of the 207 cars, only 20 were manufactured with a manual and the rest featured the 4-/5-speed automatics.
There were a few changes that made the GPX stand out from its standard variant. The first thing you would notice is the GPX model’s very bright yellow paint which was exclusive to the GPX. And if you’ve got an eye for details, you might notice the “Car of the Year” emblem which was placed right at the C-pillar.
Along with it came some rear-screen wipers and most noteworthy of all, a limited-slip differential as standard. Along with the GP, GR models, the GPX could apply for the so-called ‘Nakaya-Tune FTO Package’ which was a tuning package with various goodies but only limited to 300 units. The Nakaya-Tune offered:
These modifications were made suitable for a car that was to be used on the track, it increased cornering speed and provided better brakeforce which allowed for slightly faster lap times in comparison to a regular FTO.
But as only 300 of these Nakaya-Tune were made throughout three model ranges, very few GPX would have had it. And if you do find one with this tune, expect it to be quite expensive as that car would be deemed extremely rare.
An entry-level 4-cylinder FTO can be had for as low as a few grand, but if you’re purchasing an FTO you’d most definitely want the V6 version. The entry-level V6 starts from around $5,000 and up with low-mileage examples reaching upwards of $15,000.
The GP, GPX, and GR models start from about $10,000 and can reach up to about $30,000 for a pristine example.
The prices for an FTO GPX are not all that expensive when comparing them to some other JDM cars such as the NSX-R. One reason could be that in today’s day and age, people value a manual transmission (especially in a classic car) more than anything else. Most people already have a daily driver with an automatic, so when they bring out their enthusiast car, they desire the engagement that a manual transmission brings. And since 90% of GPX’s sold featured an automatic transmission it could be the cause of the relatively reasonable prices. And thus, be prepared to pay in the upper range if you managed to find a manual FTO GPX.
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