The Dodge Stealth was a Mitsubishi 3000GT in Dodge clothing; both were evolutions from the Mitsubishi Starion (Chrysler Conquest). The Mitsubishi car was given new exterior styling and, from most accounts, little more; Chrysler's official communication was that “Stealth’s design is the result of the collaborative effort between Chrysler and its Japanese partner, Mitsubishi Motors Corp.”
The Stealth was sold in four levels, base, ES, R/T, and R/T Turbo. The R/T turbo version included a twin-turbocharged version of the pedestrian 3-liter engine sold in Chrysler minivans; all wheel drive to make the horsepower matter; four-wheel steering; and antilock brakes. The AWD setup was unusual at the time, and likely cut the 0-60 time quite a bit.
The Stealth’s body was very aerodynamic, with a 0.33 drag coefficient; the sides had sculpted air dams, and the rear spoiler was standard. The hood had “blister covers” for the strut towers. The R/T Turbo had radiator and intercooler intakes in the front air dam. The all wheel drive was advanced for the time; fewer cars had all wheel drive at the time than now.
The four-wheel independent suspension was unique, with four-wheel toe control, electronic control (optional except on base models, and providing tour and sport settings), extra-wide tracks, main and secondary front cross-members, a dual isolation system, and a sway bar on the secondary cross-member (with ball joint links connecting it to the lower arms). The steering gear was mounted to the main cross-member. Negative offset geometry automatically counter-steered tires towards the low-grip side. The rear suspension had a self-aligning toe mechanism and dual wishbone/trailing arm design, for a passive four-wheel steering system. The electronic controller monitored steering, speed, brake, throttle, and G-force sensor data to control the shock absorbers. P245/45 ZR17 low-profile tires were optional except on R/T Turbo, where they were standard.
The standard, power-assisted four wheel steering allowed the two rear wheels to pivot in the same direction by as much as 1.5 degrees. At low speeds, it acted like a conventional system; at higher speed (over 30 mph) and lateral acceleration, the system varied the way in which the rear wheels followed the fronts.
The 3-liter V6 engine was set up in three states of tune, producing from 164 to 300 horsepower. It used an iron block with a 60-degree V design, and had a 3.58” bore and 2.99” stroke. The heads were aluminum alloy, with pent-roof chambers and center spark plugs; the valve train used roller rocker arms, automatic valve lash adjusters, and a timing belt tensioner. Fuel injection was multiple point with a vortex sensor to monitor air volume; the ignition was distributorless, with dual coils.
The standard transmission was a five-speed manual (a six-speed on 1995-96 turbos), with a four-speed automatic optional.
Inside, the Stealth had a “cockpit” design, with a wraparound dashboard, leather driver's seat with lateral support and adjustments for height, tilt, lumbar support, and side support. Gauges were backlit in amber for high visibility at night. With the R/T, air conditioning was automatic, and the stereo boasted a 100-watt amplifier with six speakers — tweeters in the dashboard, 6-inch round speakers in the doors, and 6x9 speakers in back. A driver's airbag was standard, along with three-point belts for all occupants.
All Dodge Stealth cars had four-wheel disc brakes with large ventilated rotors; all but Turbo used two-piston front brake calipers, 15-inch front brake discs, and 14-inch rear brake discs. The turbo model went up to 16-inch front discs, 15-inch rear discs, and four-piston front calipers. Antilock brakes were standard on R/T models, and optional on lower models; they included a G-sensor to measure deceleration when AWD was ordered. All wheel drive had a 45/55 front/rear torque split; the rear differential was a viscous coupling limited-slip model.
Stealth was a potent vehicle, especially with the turbocharger, but also in plain ES or R/T mode; it was fast and handled well, but its price limited volume. Indeed, the Stealth R/T Turbo could do 0-60 in under five seconds, a stunning time especially for the period. The all wheel drive must have helped, greatly reducing or eliminating wheelspin on launch.
The 1991 Dodge Stealth was supposed to be the pace car for the Indy 500, and remained the official pace car, but outcries over a vehicle made in Japan pacing "America's Race" prevented that from happening, and a Dodge Viper was hastily assembled to pace in its place, driven by Carroll Shelby.
It continued into 1992 unchanged other than an optional sunroof. In 1993, a stronger forged steel crankshaft was used on all versions of the engine for durability, and on the turbocharged engine, the block was redesigned, with sturdier four-bolt caps added to the main bearings (instead of two-bolt main caps with stay brackets to help support the center bearings.) A four-speaker stereo CD or cassette player was optional on lower models; new features included remote keyless entry, leather seats, tailgate wiper/washer, rear spoiler on Stealth and ES, and composite-face wheel covers; a trunk mounted CD changer was available; and the ES sill molding became standard on the base model.
For 1994, the Stealth gained aero-style projector-type fixed headlights with efficient poly-ellipsoid reflectors; the fog lights also moved to projector-type construction. An Infinity speaker system was an optional upgrade to the Ultimate Sound radio with cassette player; it had a 150-watt four-channel power amplifier and eight speakers, with 6-inch woofers in the front doors, 3-inch high frequency speakers in the instrument panel and 6 x 9-inch co-axial speakers in the rear quarter panels. Tires also changed for 1994, with redesigned Eagle GT all-season radials having a new shape for better ride and handling; the Eagle GS-D and GS-C tires replacing the Gatorback series were quieter, had better wet performance, and similar or better dry handling. (GS-D was standard on R/T, GS-C on Turbo). A passenger air bag and instrument panel knee bolster were added.
The Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo gained larger brake pistons in front and dual-piston fixed calipers replacing the single-piston sliding calipers in back for 1994.
In 1995, the ES model was dropped, and R134a refrigerant replaced the old R12; turbo power went up to 320 horsepower, 315 lb-ft of torque, and the five-speed manual transmission was changed to a six-speed.
For 1996, the last year of the Stealth, the base single-cam engine got black valve covers; all powertrains gained OBD II on-board diagnostics; there was a new rear spoiler; leather was made optional on base and grained leather was available on R/T. A Pirelli P-Zero 245/40ZR18 tire option was added with chrome wheels.
All Dodge Stealth and Mitsubishi 3000GT cars were made in Nagoya, Japan.
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