How the Mitsubishi Starion Got Its Name: One of Automotive History's Greatest Mysteries

There are two competing theories, one of which is peculiar enough to seem plausible.

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How the Mitsubishi Starion Got Its Name: One of Automotive History's Greatest Mysteries

Although the Mitsubishi Starion was produced in Japan, it was not marketed in the United States. However, after a quarter of a century since its debut, several imports have surfaced with an average price range of $15,000 to $40,000.

If you are determined to acquire the Starion emblem, you must be aware that there is a more cost-effective option to obtain the same automobile under a different brand name. The car was retailed in the United States as the Chrysler Conquest, Dodge Conquest, and Plymouth Conquest. As Mitsubishi only began to focus on the American market in the 1990s, there was no such thing as a Mitsubishi Conquest. For those who desire a Conquest car, the only alternatives are American brands.

The name of the car has become more famous than the vehicle itself. Therefore, before we delve into the Starion name, let us first examine the car that is the Starion.

The Mitsubishi Starion was initially launched in 1982 as a two-door coupe to rival the Honda Prelude, Mazda RX-7, Mk3 Toyota Supra, and Nissan's Z cars. Unfortunately, it couldn't compete, and the only successful Mitsubishi model in the USA is the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid. It also targeted the Ford Mustang.

The US market only received the larger 2.6-liter engine, which was turbocharged, unlike the Japanese models that had naturally aspirated 2.0-liter and turbocharged 2.0-liter engines. The Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R Widebody had a 197 horsepower, turbocharged and intercooled 2.6-liter engine. In the USA, it was badged TSI, for instance, Chrysler Conquest TSI.

Apart from its engine, the Mitsubishi Starion had many impressive features. Its interior and specifications were noteworthy. Despite being a two-door coupe, it had tiny rear seats suitable for only luggage. It's also worth mentioning that the 1982 Mitsubishi Starion was the first model, and it's vital to examine it before exploring the name.

The Mitsubishi Starion's name has a mysterious origin that has sparked two theories. One theory, considered slightly racist, is more of an anecdote, and it remains unverified whether it is fact or fiction. Mitsubishi claims that "Starion" is a combination of the words "star" and "Arion," a legendary Greek horse, which fits with the brand's naming strategy for other models like Colt and Eclipse.

The Starion was first introduced in May 1982, and the original brochure did not mention anything about horses. Instead, it featured a photograph of the car against a starry night background. However, a more intriguing but unverified theory suggests that the name "Starion" was born from a language barrier. Legend has it that the Japanese team struggled to pronounce "Stallion," which would have been a logical name for a car that was intended to compete with the Mustang, and ended up with "Starion" instead.

Regardless of its name's origin, the Mitsubishi Starion was a noteworthy car that competed with other popular two-door coupes such as the Honda Prelude, Mazda RX-7, Toyota Supra, and Nissan Z cars. The Starion was equipped with an impressive engine, available in two capacities, and had a stylish interior with tiny rear seats that were only suitable for luggage. Although it was only sold in Japan, the Mitsubishi Starion ESI-R Widebody had a turbocharged and intercooled 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 197 horsepower. In the USA, it was sold as the Chrysler Conquest TSI.

In conclusion, the Mitsubishi Starion's name has a fascinating history with two possible origins. However, what matters most is that the Starion was a well-designed and powerful car that competed with some of the most popular coupes of its time. Despite not being sold in the USA under its original name, the Starion has a loyal following, and enthusiasts can find similar models under different badges like the Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth Conquest.

The Origin of Mitsubishi Starion's Name

The Mitsubishi Starion is a popular sports car that was introduced in 1982. There are two theories surrounding the origin of its name, one being a bit controversial. According to Mitsubishi, Starion is a combination of "star" and "Arion," the name of a horse in Greek mythology. However, some people claim that the car was originally supposed to be called the Stallion, but due to a mispronunciation by the Japanese team in charge of naming the car, it became known as the Starion. Mitsubishi wanted the Stallion to compete with the Ford Mustang, but the heavy Japanese accent turned "Stallion" into "Starion."

Arguments for and Against the Mispronunciation Theory

The debate over the origin of the name Starion continues to this day. Some argue that a large company like Mitsubishi could not make such a big mistake without noticing it during the development phase. Others point out that faxes were available at the time and someone could have caught the error. Regardless of the truth, it's clear that mistakes in car names happen all the time. For example, Hyundai's Kona is Portuguese slang for an offensive term, and the French pronunciation of MR2 sounds like the word for poop.

Another argument for the mispronunciation theory is the fact that Mitsubishi had previously used horse-related names for its cars and space-related names for its engines. The company had engines codenamed Aston, Sirius, and Saturn, all named after celestial bodies. Additionally, a Japanese TV ad for the Starion featured a horse and a starry sky, which seems to support the Stallion theory.


In conclusion, the origins of the name Starion remain a mystery, with arguments for and against the mispronunciation theory. What is clear is that car companies often make naming mistakes, as seen with the Kona and MR2. The name Starion, whether it came from Stallion or not, has become iconic among car enthusiasts and remains a beloved classic sports car.

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