The Mitsubishi Lancer

1973

Mitsubishi Lancer History

The Mitsubishi Lancer, a sedan launched in February 1973, is the car that really cemented Mitsubishi Motors' fantastic reputation in motor sports. Scoring a series of firsts, it was the first Mitsubishi car to be sold in Europe (1975), the winner of its debut rally (1973), and certified as having a low-pollution engine (1973). The Lancer is a compact passenger car that really goes the extra mile.

Mitsubishi Lancer Design

The name 'Lancer' comes from the long, pointed lances used by soldiers in medieval Europe. The Lancer car's styling was intended to keep the car as sharp and aerodynamic as possible. A long 'aero' nose gave the car superior drag resistance. It had a ‘tumblehome’ (a narrowing of the body in the upper parts for greater stability) and a ‘turn under’ (a curvature towards the underside). It used a ‘monocoque’ body structure for strength.

The Lancer was powered by engines using Mitsubishi Clean Air technology. And it became the first car in 1973 to be certified by the US Environment Protection Agency as having a low-pollution engine.

The Lancer was designed to make even long drives comfortable. It had a tilt-adjust steering column, a 45L fuel tank, all-season ventilation, disc brakes and a vacuum servo (also known as a power booster or power brake) to assist the braking force applied by the driver.

Mitsubishi Lancer Rally Wins

Due to its strong and lightweight body, the Mitsubishi Lancer quickly became a rally sensation, notching up victory after victory against its more powerful rivals. In August 1973, the Lancer 1600GSR powered by a twin carburettor engine joined the line-up, winning its debut rally in the 1973 Australian Southern Cross. Then in 1974 it was again driven to victory by "The Flying Sikh" Joginder Singh in its debut Safari Rally. The Lancer firmly stamped the Mitsubishi name onto the world rally scene from the start and continued this legacy winning race after race. This great motorsport heritage has continued, with models such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, which has also won many rallies.

Mitsubishi Lancer Legacy

The 1973 Lancer was just the start of a long story. Many models and innovations have followed. The Lancer Celeste was a coupé launched in 1975, followed by the Lancer EX in 1979. The name ‘EX’ came from ‘exceed’ as this car was developed to an "optimised size, optimised quality" concept.

It didn't end there. The Lancer family was just the start of a long list of cars displaying Mitsubishi’s trademark innovation. From the world-first Silent Shaft technology, to today’s pioneering new Outlander: the first car in series production from a major manufacturer whose architecture has been designed from the outset to accommodate either Internal Combustion Engines or Plug-in Hybrid Electric drivetrains. Lancer was a start of the journey, but we’ve never stopped moving forward.