No-reserve Lancer Evo VI Tommi Makinen is among the highlights.
Ahead of its departure from the UK new car market, Mitsubishi’s British division has decided to auction off its collection of historic models. With a host of rare models and some cherished number plates in the mix, it’s a must-see selection for fans of the brand and cult classics in general.
Mitsubishi announced it would be departing the UK arena last year, and although some harboured hopes a deal with Renault to sell cars in some European markets would keep the brand alive, the company quickly poured cold water on the idea. The company will continue to sell existing models until the tail end of 2021, before turning the business over to servicing and maintaining the vehicles already on the road.
As part of that transition, the company is selling off its ‘heritage fleet’ – a number of historic vehicles that have been owned and maintained by the business. From its base in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, the cars have been used for events, marketing and press relations purposes, with some vehicles making their way onto the pages of national and international publications.
A total of 14 vehicles will be auctioned off between April 1 and April 30, advertised with detailed descriptions and even introductory films by TV presenter and ex-Mitsubishi racer Tiff Needell. Specialist online auction company Auto Auction will host the sale, which also includes number plates relating to the Mitsubishi Motor Company (MMC) and the UK importer, Colt Car Company (CCC).
Lots include a selection of low-mileage Lancer Evolutions and two of the first Mitsubishis ever registered in the UK: a Colt Lancer and a Colt Galant. Three classic 4x4s are also in the mix, with a Mitsubishi Jeep and Mk1 and Mk2 Shoguns in the offing, while there’s even an L200 project car built by journalist and presenter Tom Ford for a feature in Top Gear magazine.
And there’s plenty for rally enthusiasts, with a Mitsubishi Galant GTi rally-replica that began life as a promotional vehicle in the late ‘80s, commemorating Pentti Airikkala’s Lombard RAC Rally victory in a Galant VR4. The auction also includes the championship-winning Mitsubishi Evo IX driven to consecutive British Rally Championships by Guy Wilkes in 2007 and 2008.
But the highlight is the Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Makinen Edition, built to celebrate the famous driver’s fourth rally title. The car comes with a bonnet signed by the man himself, and it has covered just over 10,000 miles (a handful of which were in the hands of this writer). We can confirm it’s an absolutely awesome machine in great nick – or at least it was when we gave it back to Mitsubishi.
All 14 vehicles will be offered without reserve, meaning there’s a chance to pick up a manufacturer-maintained, low-mileage example of Mitsubishi’s finest models. And if you have links to the brand, or just share initials, the number plates are stars in themselves, having featured in a host of magazine and newspaper coverage.