Mitsubishi Super Shift

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History Bits 2:

What if I told you there was a Mitsubishi Mirage that cost $9000 in Japan, with a turbocharged four cylinder and a whopping 8 speed manual transmission in the late 1970's?

This Mirage that appeared in 1978 went through a few quirky development stages, one of which was the engineer's insistence to use the existing Orion and Saturn RWD engines in a transverse FWD direction. Since they did not have a in-house transmission that fit the engine in lateral orientation, they developed a modifier which flipped the RWD transmission through a transfer case sitting under the engine. While it was an odd way to make the car drive the front wheels, the needed countershaft made it easy to mount a second set of gears in the final drive. Hence the Mitsubishi "SUPER SHIFT" was born, where the two final drives were able to be shifted on the fly with a second stick, making the 4 speed into a 8 speed.
(well the intent was still a 4 speed but with two stages of final, but it didn't take long for sporting rallyists and racers to use this as 8 speeds)

In 1982, it also gained a turbocharger, that sat right on the intake manifold to boost it to some unheard of power in those days. 110hp! from a 1600cc.

Anyway the Orion engine nor this weird dual stage manual made it on the market long, but it certainly makes the list of the weirdest gadgets to make it onto a mundane 2 door hatchback.

The car was also sold in the USA as Plymouth Champ, as well as the Dodge Colt Turbo.

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