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Friday mailbag: 3000GT restoration edition

I’ve become the patron saint for the 3000GT, and I’m ok with that. This week, it’s how to save one. Happy Friday!

If you’d like to participate, drop me a question at mike@machineswithsouls.com. And don’t worry, you’ll remain anonymous.

Question

I happened to have a 1995 Dodge Stealth RT Twin Turbo, one of only 16 made in the symphonic silver that year, and I would love to see if you can help with any parts or any information that I can use to locate things.

– Matt

dodge-stealth-tt
Matt was nice enough to send a pic of his beautiful Stealth as well.

Answer

Time does fly Matt. I remember when this car was still new…ish. To save them (and the Stealth, which is the same car with a different body kit and badge), You have some things going in your favor.

Base models that aren’t basic

All these cars (3000GT and Stealth) shared cosmetic pieces and trim on the outside, though you needed a Stealth RT to get the Turbo look. Inside, it’s the same deal. Aside from some features unique to the Turbo models, the dashes, seats, switches…all the same.

This means that you don’t “need” a Turbo model for a lot of the parts your looking for. Base and SL models can also be of help, and the closest place I can recommend going is your local junkyard. If nothing else, it’ll be a fun tour. But because base models were a lot less desirable and much more heavily used, chassis can be found.

Guages
The turbo guage and dials are unique on the VR-4 and TT, but many pieces inside are shared.

Any model, any year

The 3000GT had a production run from 1991 through 1999, the longest of any of the Japanese super coupes, save the NSX. And while the car became more rare in later years, there was still a hefty production run when you include all the 3000GTs and Stealths in non-turbo and turbo form.

Aside from the obvious changes such as headlights and such, almost any part from a 91 will fit a 99, and vice versa.

You can convert pop-up headlights to the projector style, swap rear-end tail lights, even change spoilers. The Stealth has a unique rear that you can’t swap with a GT (one look and you’ll understand why), but overall, that’s 8 years of Mitsu to go through. The Supra and 300ZX never had such availability.

If you’re asking me what the “perfect” look is, it’s a 97/98 body style (a third-gen), with the sail panels over the B-pillars of a 99.

1995 3000GT
Here’s a 95 with a 99 rear valance panel.

What about Mitsubishi?

It’s so nice how Nissan and Toyota have continued to produce parts for the Mark IV Supra and 300ZX. Yay for them.

You and I are on an island, and it’s sadly not Japan.

Car makers are required to provide parts for any car up to 10 years after production has stopped. That would be 2009 in the 3000’s case. And you can expect no help from Mitsubishi now, which can barely keep its head above water, much less help you with a 20-year old car.

I know of but one Mitsu dealer in the country that stockpiled parts, and funny enough it’s right here in New Jersey. Cherry Hill Mitsubishi.

Can’t hurt to give them a shot.

6G72 engine
Mechanically, it shares many parts with other Mitsubishis of the era, but the turbo motor is unique.

Gone, and almost forgotten

Who specializes in a car this old and rare? Not many.

Sure, you can take your 3000GT in to a random place, as there isn’t anything particularly exotic about the mechanical components. But there are a lot of quirks, and it takes a trained eye to see them.

The first place I’d go is 3SX, in North Carolina.

They have all sorts of weird parts and things, and they are dedicated solely to the 3000GT. Go here first.

But let’s say you’re not mechanically inclined, like so many owners are. Or perhaps you’d like to purchase one already restored?

Try Ground Zero Performance, in Easton PA.

There guys have parts, and have been building up old broken GT’s for years.

Mitsubishi 3000GT
99 conversions are popular. Any part can go with any model year, give or take a bolt or two.

Now please note that I have not worked with either shop on a personal level, so this isn’t an endorsement of either. Instead, think of it as a point in the only direction you can go.

If anyone has any other suggestions, drop me a line and I’ll add it to this article.

I’ll get there

Do keep something else in mind as we navigate this world post-COVID. You do not need to spend $30-40,000 on a nice example of a 3000GT.

Always check Bring a Trailer and other auction sites to see where various examples are cost-wise, and plan accordingly.

While this car was never as popular as a Supra, it’s also getting expensive. And I think you’ll be disappointed if you spend a lot of money for what is, at its core, a big Eclipse with the guts of a sedan. The driving experience doesn’t match up once we get stratospheric with money.

In Matt’s case, he’s already got a beautiful Stealth that can still be preserved for years to come. For the rest of us (me), the search for the right example will continue. But don’t be afraid to go looking for parts. They are out there.

3000GT

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I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

Email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions. Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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