There are several ways to look at the Mitsubishi Starion''s place in history. On the one hand, it''s Mitsubishi''s answer to cars like the Camaro Z/28, Mustang, Nissan Z and Toyota Supra, but on the other hand it''s got performance like a Porsche 944 Turbo at a fraction of the price. Either way, this 1988 Starion ESi-R is a neat footnote and a very cool car from the heyday of Japanese sport coupes. For many Mitsubishi technophiles, the ESi-R is the one to own. With an upgraded intercooler and fuel system it''s packing serious firepower, and with the standard wide-body kit that includes those flared fenders and a deep chin spoiler, it definitely has a look that stands out. These are rare cars in any regard, but finding one as well-preserved as this without the usual modifications that most early Japanese turbo engines endured. That''s factory black paint on the angular body, and given the superior Japanese build quality of the period, it should be no surprise that it still looks great today. The styling is a success, a perfect example of the futuristic ''80s, with folding headlights and neat angles everywhere you look. A set of red pinstripes highlight the interesting parts like the details on an amusement park ride, and given the condition of the rubber parts, it''s obvious that someone really cared for this car. Heck, even the urethane bumpers show minimal cracking due to age. The future arrived early in the cockpit of the Starion, which offers aggressively bolstered cloth bucket seats that were comfortable as well as grippy. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather, and given the high-tech vibe that most Japanese cars of the era were giving off, there''s no surprise that there are buttons everywhere. There''s a full array of instruments with big orange numerals with most of the secondary controls clustered around the edges of the instrument pod, within reach of your fingers without letting go of the wheel. As the top-of-the-line model, just about everything was standard equipment, including power windows, cruise control, and an AM/FM/cassette stereo with graphic equalizer, truly state-of-the-art technology for 1988. The upholstery sure doesn''t look 25 years old, with the back seat looking virtually untouched and the hatch area neatly upholstered with clean black carpets. The only thing that''s going to make you amazed are the motorized seat belts that were a fact of life in the late ''80s before airbags were commonly available, but they''re easy to work with. The engine is a 2.6 liter inline-four, which in the ESi-R model, was fitted with a big intercooler and more boost. 188 horsepower was nothing to sneeze at in 1988, and with the bottomless well of torque behind it, the Starion was more than a handful on the street for many more serious performance cars. These were also virtually bulletproof, with upgraded transmissions (the 4-speed automatic was available for the first time, as in this car) and traditional rear-wheel drive, and you''ll be impressed by how modern it feels for a car that qualifies for AACA membership. The transmission shifts well and with an overdrive gear, it gets decent fuel economy on the highway. An all-independent suspension gives it agile road manners and the brakes are confidence-inspiring given the car''s relative light weight. 16-inch alloy wheels are standard equipment and wear aggressive 225/50/16 performance radials. Parts and knowledge are still plentiful for the Starion, so if you''re a fan of the era and seek something a little unusual, perhaps this cool ESi-R will fit the bill. Call today! This vehicle is located in our Charlotte showroom. For more information, please call (704) 598-2130 or toll free (866) 542-8392.