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Hooniverse Fastback Friday – Total Eclipse of the Paint

Diamond Star, dimmed shine.

While it’s certainly no DragonVette, this 1992 1G Mitsubishi Eclipse GS has been subjected to a dreadful backyard PUI – Painting Under Influence. Having been run to the ground and resprayed black very badly while clearly intoxicated, it has been rescued by the local Mitsu garage and it’s being rebuilt with the idea of getting it back on the streets, looking more civilized, by summer.

As I’ve never visited a LeMons pitlane, this Eclipse stands as the worst paintjob I’ve ever seen close by. Click for more pics.

The previous owner also ran the engine dry, so there’s now a Galant GTI replacement engine sitting in the engine bay. The garage guy rolled his eyes talking about the car, as it had originally been rather nice and reasonably kept, and when maintained at their premises it had been a pretty sight. Then, it got into completely wrong hands.

After being painted, it needed some work done but somehow the then-owner never got round to doing anything to it and the car languished on a backyard for some years. There’s green moss growing on the car now. A guy (the GDPO’s cousin) I talked to said the car’s black paint would stain hands if you leaned on it on a hot day.

Some sections look like bedliner. The prep work has also been horrendous, where applied; some bits just have the paint sprayed over rust. Some bits are just cracking.

Somehow it does look like a retired OCP-Detroit patrol car, having served amongst Tauri.

Eclipses are actually a sort of rarity here, as they were never part of the import program. They’ve trickled down from Germany in later years, mostly. It also seems Mitsu Europe got a large-ish stock of DSM in the early ’90s and slowly registered them over the years, as there are pop-up-headlighted 1Ga:s registered new in Germany as late as 1996, despite being long since replaced by the 1Gb and then 2G.

I’ve once driven a 1993 DSM, a 2.0-litre FWD like this one. It too had its share of paint issues, as the left rear section had been resprayed badly and there were micro bubbles forming all around the sheetmetal. Dealbreaker for me, right there.

The passenger side rocker panel has been removed and a new one will be welded in its place. Here and there, red paint rears its head as plastic pieces and inner fenders haven’t been removed before the respray.

Parts availability for the Eclipse, outside of the 4G63 engine, is dreadful here. As it was never imported here officially, there hasn’t been need for parts support, so most everything has to be ordered from Europe or scoured used from junkyards, as some examples are now ending there. I really hope they get this thing together, as it deserves a better fate than its current state.

Here’s a 1990 Eclipse ad to end with. I love the voiceover in this.
“The styling.. is sexy. Driving.. is really exciting. This is the Eclipse Feel”


  • oldcarjunkie

    That is impressively bad paint. I once painted an old LeBaron outside, in the winter with rattle cans after only washing it by rubbing a bit of snow on it … and the paint turned out better than that. Ouch.

    prepped – http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveseven/4352891106

    after – http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveseven/4354612754

  • Is that tar?

    Slightly unrelated. In the EU, does the owner have to specifically ask for square license plates? Is the default the long rectangular ones?

    • julkinen

      Default is long and ABC-123 style. Then, depending of the space available for the plate on the car they either hook you up with ABC-12 as long or square.

      BTW, ABC-123 is on a Porsche 944 cabrio.

      • pj134

        Is there a place to search plates? I'd be more interested in knowing what has AAA 111.

        • julkinen

          We have a SMS service for plate searches here.

          One other thing is the Kilvet.com service, http://kilvet.com/galleria.cgi?kilpi=A for example; people submit interesting plates there. AAA-111 isn't listed, but a lot more are. Coincidentally, I saw FFF-111 today – a black Mercedes E wagon.

          • Can you have AAA-111 in Finland and France and Italy? Or can there only be one in the entire EU?

            • julkinen

              Every country is separate in that respect, and they have the little country tags too. And I think that it's possible AAA-111 has been a random plate, and by the sound of it it's been a late-'70s – early-'80s Southwest Finland plate.

            • Manic_King

              Every country has different looking plates, 3 letters + 3 numbers style is in use in many countries but there's others too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_registration

              Also, there is American plate form factor plates for US cars probably in all countries with different combination, like in Finland 3 letters + 2 numbers square plate. Where I live we have exact American size plates for US cars with 2 numbers + 3 letters e.g. 01 ZED or 69 SEX 🙂

  • Devin

    I'm going to say that the first-gen Eclipse (along with the facelift) was one of those great designs that everyone forgot about. Not just because it's a rounded wedge shaped by the wind to run like the wind either. It's just everything good about late '80s/early '90s design put together, and touches like the asymmetrical power bulge and glassy, blacked out greenhouse just look cool.

    • That's exactly why the later generations of the Eclipse are so blasphemous. Give me an Eagle Talon TSi any day!

      • julkinen

        So.. you could say "They haven't done anything to this Eclipse that's worse than Mitsubishi did with the Eclipse".

  • Van_Sarockin

    That first generation Eclipse was a hell of car. Entertaining, modest performance limits in an economical, simple and stylish body. Too bad they subsequently lost their way.

    If the rest of the car is as bad as the paint, then it has been well and truly thrashed. The paint looks like the car was rolled over in a freshly mown field while still wet.. And I'm pretty sure I could spit a better paint job than that while blind drunk. I know I've laid down a better Krylon finish, when I didn't really care about doing a good job. This paint is also an excellent object lesson in why it's usually a good idea to repaint the car in the original color – so much more harmonious when the drapes and carpet match.

    • Joe Btfsplk

      Umm.. I don't think that's paint. It looks like driveway sealer to me!

  • Devin

    The paint looks exactly like my first attempt to spray paint something. In my case, it was a plastic model of a '64 Impala, and I used way too much paint so there were runs and it had that same texture. And then a bug crawled on the hood and I got angry and tried to kill it with the paint.

    In my defense, I was about 8.

  • dukeisduke

    Krylon – no runs, no drips, no errors.

    [youtube XJbr-rtPN2I http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJbr-rtPN2I youtube]

  • dukeisduke

    A friend of mine once helped a friend paint a Chevy using brushes – he said that the friend bought the car from another guy, and that it came with cans of automotive paint in the trunk – the previous owner had bought the paint (lacquer) with the intention of respraying it, but gave up on the project. They laid it on with brushes (no thinning), allowed it to dry for a week or so, and then polished it with liquid compound and a power buffer. He said it turned out surprisingly well.

  • Thrashed, neglected and worthless, this resto has "labour of love" written all over it. For that I exend a toast in the direction of Finland.

    • Lotte

      Yeah, it's good, almost touching, to see this old girl being loved again. It looks like it'll be a real bitch to fix, but I know the car will appreciate it. And while I would be inclined to call him a fool, deep down I understand and admire his strong determination that everything will be all right. Cheers!

      Wait, is this post a belated Valentines Day special?…

    • TurboBrick

      That must be Queen's English for what we over here call "Project Car Hell".

  • We painted the Uberbird with latex house paint and a roller.

    It had a texture that looked like the rougher "bedliner"-y sections shown…but it was uniform, so it had a decent look about it.

  • Can I just say I'm seriously missing Bajabusta's Motorweek uploads on Youtube? I was going to post a clip of an old Eclipse/Talon/Laser being tested.

  • Dillon

    The previous owner wanted a black car in the worst way, and got it.

  • OA5599

    My sister's first new car was a Plymouth Laser FWD 2.0 turbo. The dealership had a red one and a black one at the same price. She wanted a black car, but the one at the dealership had been on an extended test drive already, so she took the red one with fewer miles.

    A couple years later, she got rear-ended. The body damage wasn't too severe, but repair required repainting the car from the doors back. The roof was already black, so she figured that by also painting the hood and fenders, she could get the black car she originally wanted.

    The body shop talked her out of the color change, reminding her of the door jambs and other details that would either look bad or cost a lot to take care of.

    I don't see how it could have looked worse than this.

  • craigsu

    Looks like someone needs to organize a Finnish LeMons race. I'm sure the judges would be up for it, although they might not understand any of the themes. Of course, if bribes of Finnish vodka were included they probably wouldn't care.

    • TurboBrick

      Oh, they already have something similar, minus the costumes and bribes. It's called "Rokkiralli" (Rock'n'Roll Rally). They even have different competing classes for under-18, ladies, FWD/RWD cars and "Super Rock" class where there are no weight limits, claimer rules (500€ in other classes) and forced induction is allowed.

      <img src="http://www.vauhdinmaailma.fi/s/mediagallery/afaeb892-3a7a-4e08-817d-c5495b9611d4.JPG"&gt;

      • craigsu

        You know, I should have realized the Finns would have something similar, especially given the lesson James May received from Mika Hakkinen.

        [youtube 2bmqdnx5R1U http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bmqdnx5R1U youtube]

  • Joe Dunlap

    I coulda done better with a Hershey bar and a trowel.

  • dculberson

    That is what we call a junkyard car here in the states. But I understand that your source of clean bodied cars is a lot less than here.

    • julkinen

      Well, if you take a look at the other Finnish cars posted here, you see this (and the goddamn Rover) is sort of an exception here, in regards of body cleanliness. We get rusty cars/cars in dodgy shape, but since inspections are stringent they aren't allowed to develop terminal rust without being 1) repaired 2) junked.

      Edit: hahhah, I just came up with a better reply. You see, the state of junkyards here is so high that this Eclipse simply wasn't let in.