Good morning! Today is the start of a special anniversary celebration here on Shitbox Showdown, which I’ll explain shortly. It all kicks off in my old hometown of Chicago, Illinois. But before we do that, we need to see which Vega substitute you chose for David:
Well, that’s not even close, is it? I am in complete agreement that the Solstice is the better car here, but a couple of commenters thought the old BMW was more David’s speed, which is likely also true.
So as you are no doubt aware, the Autopian is fast approaching its first anniversary, March 32nd. Hot on the heels of that is April 5th, which is my first anniversary of writing Shitbox Showdown. Much has changed since those heady days of yore, and I feel like we’ve settled into a good rhythm here. I’m still having fun, and I hope you all are, too. I wanted to mark these occasions by doing something a little special, so starting today, we’re going to “motor West,” and search for cars in all the towns mentioned in the fabled song “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66.”
Written by Bobby Troup way back in 1946, this song has been covered by everyone from Chuck Berry to the Rolling Stones to Depeche Mode. It has changed quite a bit over the years, but then, so has Route 66 itself: it’s now Interstates 55, 44, 40, 15, and 10. And of course, not every stop has its own Craigslist site, so we’ll have to fudge it a bit. (I’m afraid we’ll have to “forget Winona,” because it barely exists.)
It all starts off in Chicago, where the original terminus of Route 66 was an intersection with Lake Shore Drive, which conveniently has its own song as well. Ready for a road trip? Here we go.
2000 Saturn LW1 wagon – $2,800
Engine/drivetrain: 2.2 liter dual overhead cam inline 4, four-speed automatic, FWD
Location: Hammond, IN
Odometer reading: not listed
For its first ten years, Saturn only sold cars in one size. That changed in 2000, with the introduction of this car: the L-series. It’s more or less the same idea as the original Saturn S-series, only bigger. It’s an idea that worked for six model years, despite the awkward model naming scheme: This base model wagon is an LW1. Who wants to tell their friends they just bought an “Ell-double-you-one?”
Weird name or not, these are supposed to be halfway decent cars, just a little coarse and unrefined–again, like the S-series, only bigger. This one is powered by a 2.2 liter version of GM’s Ecotec four, backed by a four-speed automatic. Drag races won’t be its forte, but it should serve well as a cheap economical runabout.
This Saturn is a bit scruffy; there is a little rust around the edges–not on the doors or front fenders, because they’re plastic, but the rear wheel arches and the leading edge of the hood are a little bubbly. Inside, it’s dirty, but the standard-issue GM gray plastic is mostly intact.
The seller says it runs well, and has new brakes all around. They tell us it has “low miles,” but annoyingly the ad doesn’t actually list the mileage. The OBD-II code reader still plugged into the port in one photo doesn’t inspire confidence; those things can erase codes as well as read them, which begs the question: What code was it throwing?
2001 Mitsubishi Galant LS – $3,295
Engine/drivetrain: 3.o liter overhead cam V6, four-speed automatic, FWD
Location: Wheeling, IL
Odometer reading: 62,000 miles
Runs/drives? Sure does
Is a Camry too common for you? Accords all have too many miles on them? Well then, have we got the car for you! Feast your eyes on a car you likely forgot even exists: the Mitsubishi Galant. This four-door sedan from Japan’s AMC is a competent, but unexciting, form of transportation, and the eighth-generation Galant is a fairly sharp-looking car, as well.
This Galant is powered by Mitsubishi’s ubiquitous three-liter V6, also found under the hood of a million minivans and Monteros. The cool all-wheel-drive VR4 model still existed in 2001, but we in the US were no longer deemed worthy of it. Instead, this is standard-issue front-wheel-drive fare, with an equally standard-issue automatic.
This Galant is in good shape, with only 62,000 miles on the clock. It’s the fancy LS model, with power windows and locks and a sunroof, and the seller says the air conditioning works. It does have a little bit of rust starting to show, but it’s an Illinois car, and road salt is a way of life in the winter there.
It’s comparable to a Camry in one other way too: look at that classic “Camry Dent” in the bumper! There is some evidence out there that such dents can be repaired with boiling water, or you could just leave it; sometimes an already-damaged bumper is advantageous in squeezing into a hole in traffic.
So that’s where we’re starting our journey westward. Tomorrow we’re visting St. Louis, where another pair of cheap road-warriors will be waiting. But first we gotta get out of Chicago. Which car are you taking?
(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)
Galants like this definitely have some Big Altima Energy, and that dent in the rear fascia is fitting.
I had the Galant- nice car, good ride, good top speed for a 4 banger and had all of the gizmos for the time. Only problem was that Mitsubishi was the main area for parts and what they charged was through the roof.
Pretty sure every rental company in 2001 had “Mitsubishi Galant or similar” as their mid-size description.
With that said, this looks like a Grandma only drove to church on Sunday special versus the POS Saturn with the scanner still plugged in.
I had a Japanese market Galant, a 99 I think, in this colour. It had a touchscreen and TV, but both were in Japanese. Sold it for $1800NZD in about 2013.
I always thought the Galant looked like a knockoff Beemer. I picked it, because I have PTSD from my daughter’s Saturn.
Fun facts: That Mitsu rides on the same platform as the 1st Gen Sebring & Avenger Coupes and has the same engine block as my LeBaron.
I’m going with the one I’m familiar with. Great comparison as always, Mark!
What are all those little dings along the top crease of the Galant’s front fender? It looks like someone’s been chewing on it in frustration.
The Galant was one of the best looking Japanese sedans of its time. The chamfers on the front corners reduced the mass of its long overhang, and even before this Mitsubishi was one of the first companies to put a bone line high up through the side section with a concave surface below to raise the visual centre of gravity and make the car look light on its feet.
Mitsubishi interiors, on the other hand…
I saw the saturn and thought I was going to vote for it, then I read the ad! Hard pass. Borderline C/P! Ugh!
The Mitsubishi looks OK, nothing to fall in love with, but nothing to hate either.
A pigsty interior and a code reader in plain view? Mitsubishi Zero minus zero is Saturn.
The seller of the Saturn, seriously, jokes aside, what the F**k with the trash and taking photos of your car. That says so much about the person and car.
Saturn. Though the L-series wasn’t developed by Saturn, it was a captive import from Opel which they redesigned the exterior of to more closely match the S-series. Its European roots were more obvious after the mid-cycle refresh. Also, the name caught me off; after the first model year, it moved away from the LS1/LW1/LS2/etc. naming – which had matched the S-series – instead going for L100, LW200, etc. which IMO also felt like what Europeans were doing at the time, for better or worse. (My mom had an L300 for a while, in addition to the SL2 and SW2s my family had before that.)
Yuk. THIS is what you pick for your return home? What are you DOING to me Mark!?! You know what, on second thought, thanks for picking two things that I have ZERO interest in going to look at in person. I picked the Mitsubishi on condition, but I’d seriously rather have a Cavalier, and that’s saying something!
Here’s my theory on The Dent:
It’s the most obvious kind of damage the average person can live with that they might not bother to get repaired. Therefore we notice it more and there’s more of them around.
(also I picked the Galant because it seems pretty clean, and $3300 for only 62k seems like a great value)
Those interiors are just plain ugly. P.U.
Ah, the Mitsubishi Galant. It seems I knew 900 people in Chicago who ALL had Galants (in that color) around 2010. It was apparently THE go-to used car for the previously transit-bound who got a professional job that required a commuter car that was both dirt cheap and looked grown up enough for the gig.
I have an irrational love for Saturn wagons.
Saturn. My GM Stockholm Syndrome kicked in. Again.
I really want to vote for the Galant. It’s a handsome car. I just know that the Mitsubishi Galant is one of those cars that ages overnight. You don’t know when it’s gonna happen, but some time… at around 80k miles… it’ll suddenly go from looking all shiny and new to looking like a 50 year old car that’s seen some shit.
If you buy that car, you will wake up one morning and see Sharon Stone circa 2023 instead of the Sharon Stone circa 1989 you saw yesterday.
Something tells me that’s not the first time that Mitsu has been parked with the front end scraping a curb, but something also tells me that you should probably clean the trash out of your f’ing car before posting a listing. Mitsu 10/10 times
I voted for the better written ad.
If we’re heading on a road trip, I’m getting the wagon so I can sleep in the back.
Normally I’d pick the wagon. But in this case, the Mitsu sedan is the much better choice.