Home » You Gotta Be Crazy To Want A Car Like These: 1993 Mitsubishi 3000GT vs 2006 Maserati Quattroporte

You Gotta Be Crazy To Want A Car Like These: 1993 Mitsubishi 3000GT vs 2006 Maserati Quattroporte

Sbsd 12 6 2023
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Welcome back to Shitbox Showdown! I feel like I’ve been too easy on you all recently, choosing cars that, you know, run and drive and all. It’s been a bit since I subjected you to some truly stupid ideas. That changes today.

But first, let’s see how yesterday’s little Japanese fastbacks did. I had high hopes for the Storm, because I do love them so, but that trashed interior scared off too many of you, and the Prelude sailed to an easy win. Oh, and by the way, I know some of you said that color is actually blue, and Honda may call it blue, but on my monitor, that sucker’s purple.

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Whatever color you call it, it’s probably the better deal. But the Geo Storm has been a car-crush of mine for a long time, and scruffy interior or not, I think I’d have to choose it, if faced with the choice between these two. Upholstery can be re-done, a dash top could become a quest, and Martini livery would liven up the white exterior nicely.

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I don’t know what possessed me to choose today’s cars, but I suspect it might have something to do with music. Yesterday, I was walking through the shop at my day job, and someone had the stereo on, playing a Spotify playlist of 1980s pop hits, and I heard a song I haven’t heard in ages: “Crazy,” by the criminally-underrated Australian band Icehouse. “You gotta be crazy, baby,” go the lyrics, “to want a guy like me.” The line came back to me when I saw the ad for one of these cars, and then I remembered seeing something equally insane while poking around yesterday. So to quote another ’80s pop star: let’s go crazy.

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1993 Mitsubishi 3000GT – $3,500

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Engine/drivetrain: 5.3-liter overhead valve V8, six-speed manual (not installed), RWD

Location: Dallas, TX

Odometer reading: unknown

Runs/drives? Um, no

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We seem to be dealing in tired automotive clichés this week, so let’s add another one: LS swaps. Yes, that’s right: this formerly V6-powered, front-wheel-drive Japanese coupe now sports a Chevy LS3 small-block V8 and a four-linked solid rear axle. The six-speed manual gearbox and custom-made driveshaft that are supposed to go between them are, at the moment, several yards away on the garage floor, along with everything else you might need to actually complete this Frankenstein’s monster.

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This is major surgery: the original Mitsubishi V6 sat transversely in the engine bay, driving the front wheels–or possibly all four, though I can’t imagine anyone hacking up a rare twin-turbo 3000GT VR4 to do this. The seller didn’t do the work, either, it sounds like; they bought someone else’s project, and now they’re trying to foist it off on someone else. How well was the work done? What is the history of the donor engine? There’s no way to know unless you dive in.

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To say that this project is not for the faint of heart is the understatement of the year. You will have to be an absolute wrenching god, and probably more than a little crazy, to pull it off. And I’m not quite sure I understand the point. 3000GTs are nice cars as-is–just ask our buddy Stephen Walter Gossin,who knows its sister model, the Dodge Stealth, inside and out. Why rip it all apart just to stuff a V8 where it doesn’t belong?

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And yet, now that that ship has well and truly sailed, I’d like to see someone actually finish this car, just to see what it’s like. The LS is a hell of an engine, which is why it’s such a popular swap. But is this the right vessel for it? Would you just end up with a half-assed Japanese Camaro wannabe after all that hard work? Only one way to find out, I guess.

2006 Maserati Quattroporte – $1,700

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Engine/drivetrain: 4.2 liter dual overhead cam V8, six-speed automated manual, RWD

Location: Winnetka, CA

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Odometer reading: 75,000 miles

Runs/drives? Let’s just say it doesn’t do one eighty-five

Poor Maserati. The Italian automaker has built some absolutely magnificent cars over the decades, but here in America, they’re mostly remembered for a fragile twin-turbo nightmare and a gussied-up Chrysler LeBaron. After the TC debacle, Maserati left the US market for more than a decade. Since returning in 2002, the memory of the carburetor-fed Biturbo and the porthole-topped K-car have been pushed aside by a snarling 4.2 liter Ferrari-built V8 – but the dismal reliability and its resulting depreciation are the same as always.

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In this flagship Quattroporte sedan, that Ferrari engine is backed by a six-speed “DuoSelect” automated manual transmission. I’ve been curious about clutchless manuals like this ever since they appeared, but I’ve never gotten to drive one. Apparently, there is an automatic mode, but what you’re really supposed to do is shift with the paddles on the steering wheel.

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You won’t be able to do that with this Quattroporte, at least not without some work. It has no key, which is almost certainly an electronic fob that costs as much as the car is being sold for, and worse, no title, instead being supplied with lien paperwork. My guess is that the seller runs a towing company, towed the car away, and no one claimed it. How and why it ended up being towed is, of course, the real mystery, but I think it’s safe to say that this car has Seen Some Things.

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And as if the non-running status and the lack of a key and a title weren’t enough, it has also suffered the indignity of a partial matte-black vinyl wrap. That, of course, will have to go. But it’s seventeen hundred bucks for a car with a Ferrari engine. Is that engine any good? Who knows? All I know is that its interior is really pretty and that V8 absolutely sings when it is running.

Obviously, either of these is a really, really stupid idea. So let’s be stupid for a minute. Imagine you have a well-stocked garage and just a little bit of madness. Which one of these hopeless causes intrigues you more?

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(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Stephen Walter Gossin
Stephen Walter Gossin
2 months ago

You know which one I’m picking!

Thanks for the shout-out and for one of the best-of-the-series match-ups here, Mark!

Nate G
Nate G
2 months ago

Holy crap you made an Icehouse reference??!! Yes, Icehouse IS criminally underrated. One of my favorite bands. I love that song and I knew where this was going when I saw the article title. Nobody remembers them, at least in the US.
You sir are awarded 10,000 internet points for making said reference.
‘Electric Blue’ is another great one, they have many. If you like them, check out Level 42.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nate G
Ward William
Ward William
2 months ago

How about a big NOPE to both.

Anoos
Anoos
2 months ago

That Mitsubishi has to be a real basket case for me to decide on the Maserati without pause.

Myk El
Myk El
2 months ago

You could get a couple of pairs of some really nice shoes for that kind of money and have some left over to light on fire. I mean if you’re basically lighting money on fire with either car, get some decent footwear first.

Anthony Henderson
Anthony Henderson
2 months ago

Buy the Maser, then put the drivetrain in my ’89 TC so it can be fully Italian

Stephen Walter Gossin
Stephen Walter Gossin
2 months ago

Full-throated endorsement of this idea.

David Escargot
David Escargot
2 months ago

Put a cage in the 3000gt and turbo that 5.3l and you’d have a nasty little back side no prep car

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago

This is an oh hell no to either car. Of the two the half finished Mitsubishi is probably less hellish and you could always part it out

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago

Maybe put the maser engine in the mits. Wait wait, no no no. I haven’t even been drinking yet…

I come to this site for the learning, but I guess I stay for the laughs.

10001010
10001010
2 months ago

How bad you gotta fuckup an LS swap to make a dead Maser a more appealing option?

Farty McSprinkles
Farty McSprinkles
2 months ago

The Quattroporte. Part it out. If that engine has compression, it is worth the asking price. Check out what those wheels sell for on eBay. If someone wants to take the time, that car is a cash cow.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
2 months ago

I love 3000GT’s! I was all ready to vote for it, until I read about the engine/drivetrain swap. What have they done to my beautiful boy!

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
2 months ago

Quattroporte. A spare engine costs 8k used here so if I can’t fix it I can make money off it.

Bendanzig
Bendanzig
2 months ago

I am liking the Maserati as coffee table, deco idea already thrown out here. I would gamble a little on the key to see if it runs as is, and then start on pulling parts to decorate the garage or basement. I would probably fiddle with the dash clock to get that to run on batteries and put that on my desk.

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
2 months ago

This is like getting hit in the face twice with a shovel, and then asking which blow was stronger. Quattroporte.

The Grouch
The Grouch
2 months ago

I think I understand what they are trying to do with the Mitsubishi. Right a perceived wrong, the 3000 should have been a rear wheel drive car and all that. But… the 3000 was good as a FWD car. And the effort to do the swap looks so half-assed to be terrifying. Someone will offer half of the ask, buy it, let it sit for a few more years on their yard… and the cycle will repeat.

Getting a new title for the Masseratti shouldn’t be that hard (up here it would be fairly simple, go to DMV get a bond. Get a title) re-keying it will be expensive. And then you get to find out what else you need to fix. On the other hand, you can probably part it out and come clean. Or Hotwire it and make it an off-road toy and drive the crap out of it on dirt roads until it dies.

Cam.man67
Cam.man67
2 months ago

So, two parts cars. Mitsubishi seems like it’s got a better selection of parts assuming the LS is healthy. I don’t really think either one of these is ever going to run again.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago

Quattroporte for me. That Mitsubishi is a hacked up worthless heap of shit. At least the Maserati is intact and is cheaper.

Hell… just buy that Quattroporte, sell off some parts, bring the rest to a metal recycler and you’ll probably break even or even make some money.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
2 months ago

For the first time, neither. I’ll take the white Ranger behind the Mitsu knowing absolutely nothing about it (rust at the cab corners? no big deal) before I’d take on the monumental project that is the 3000GT or the nightmare that is the Maser.

Scott Ashley
Scott Ashley
2 months ago

Neither with a 10 foot pole

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
2 months ago
Reply to  Scott Ashley

Neither with the Space Needle.

Mike B
Mike B
2 months ago

I love the idea of the Mitsu, but that’s beyond my skillset. I am definitely a believer of “LS swap ALL the things!”.

The Maser might be worth it just to sit behind the wheel making vroom vroom noises, and to be able to casually mention owning a Maserati in conversation.

Worst case it’s a parts car.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago

Even if you spend the $$ to finish the 3000GT, in the end you have something that no sane person would buy. It would forever be ‘somebody else’s project’.
The Maserati can go one of 2 ways: If it runs, work out the licensing. If it doesn’t run, I am sure there are other owners experiencing the sunk cost fallacy first hand who will gladly pay money for parts.

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