Have you been in a situation where you find yourself in the middle of wanting to acquire something so bad but the odds are all against you? Then lo and behold an opportunity suddenly pops out of nowhere and you only have one shot to grab it?
Though some of the old cars we own were byproducts of window shopping from some ad sites, when it comes to searching for a specific brand, we have to admit that it takes time and patience to get what we want. This is the ordeal most of us old car enthusiasts get trapped in to the point of giving up on what we really desire and just settling for what is readily available.
Take the Lancer Boxtype for instance. It was once the car with cult-like followers when it came out in the 80s. And even when the model was discontinued for a more aerodynamic modern looking more fuel efficient Mirage-based Lancer, the tuners of the day held on to this rear wheel drive boxy car. But over time, just like any of the once used cars of its contemporary, when the law of supply and demand kicks in, they become novelties and are getting harder to find. And while it’s difficult enough to find a pristine one these days, it takes it to a different level when the car has not even been marketed in the side of the globe you reside.
This was the case of Regie Rodes of Reno, Nevada. Because the Lancer “Boxtype” was never sold in the U.S., acquiring one is almost next to impossible, unless you have the right timing and maybe some luck. Regie was once browsing Facebook when he came across a Lancer Boxtype that was for sale in Japan. Even in Japan, Boxtypes for sale hardly come by and to see one in an online market comes but once in a blue moon. Regie needs to act and make a quick decision knowing the risk of trusting a seller overseas and all the hustle of the shipping process. But after a few sleepless nights of rationalizing the pros and cons, he contacted the owner, and closed the deal sight unseen.
The Boxtype Lancer use to be one of those cars that most Americans are not aware of its existence, unless of course you are a hardcore tuner who’s been following the World Rally Series in the 80s, or you are a Filipino car guy who grew up to it. Although it is still very scarce, more and more Boxtypes are showing up in Cars and Coffee meets as well as Japanese Tuners and Classic Car Shows. Thanks to the 25 year importation act in the United States, you can legally import a car for a very minimal fee as long as it’s 25 years or older. Since Regie’s Mitsubishi came out in 1984, it could be easily brought to the States. So after completing all the paper works, the Lancer left Japan – Destination: Long Beach, California.
This 1984 Lancer EX GT was a running project and of course Regie wants his personal touch to the car. And with the help of another Filipino car buddy from Los Angeles, Dennis Aquino, the car was meticulously restored and fine tuned with all the period correct modifications. The car was then repainted back to its factory correct gray color. Powerplant comes from a stock 1.8L 4G62 Turbo hooked to a 5 speed manual gearbox. The car being an import from Japan is a right hand drive therefore its quite a bit challenging to drive in the U.S., however, that adds up to its unique factor. The interior had also been partly redone and the car sits on 15 inch Abatis High Performance mesh wheels wrapped in 195/55/15 rubbers.
With the growing audience of the Rad era cars, Regie’s Lancer with its clean look is a sure head turner and can spark a conversation anywhere he drives it. You see, there is no place for introverts when you drive a unique car. Not only does the Lancer serves as a weekend ride for Regie, it also is a great way of introducing the Filipino car culture through the car we all grew up loving to the American car community.
Happy Lumang Oto Motoring