There are advantages to being ahead of the curve – you can be a trendsetter, you can grab sales and customer loyalty from the competition, or you can be so far ahead of the curve that you fall flat on your face and everyone laughs at your clumsiness. Guess in which category the 1984 Mitsubishi Spacewagon falls… and no, it’s not trendsetting. The concept of the ‘tall’ family car didn’t catch on until the Renault Mégane Scenic about 12 years later, and in 1984, it was way too early. I remember that my neighbors had one, and we all laughed at it… We called it ‘bottine’, which is French slang for an old boot (kind of, it doesn’t translate very well, but you get the idea).
It didn’t help that the unimaginatively-name Spacewagon wasn’t very fast. I know that speed wasn’t what Mitsubishi had in mind when they designed it, but still. It was powered by an inline four-cylinder engine, 1.8-liter displacement with 16 valves, that produced 88 horsepower. Hardly anything to write home about, especially with 16 valves. Top speed was 97 miles per hour, and 0-60 happened in about 12 seconds.
Despite it’s convenient features, such as the folding rear sears to expose more cargo area and other amenities, the 1984 Mitsubishi Spacewagon didn’t really catch on, and when the market finally wrapped its head around the concept, it was too late for the Spacewagon.